Proposal For American Companies Going Green
American Companies “Going Green”
Greenhouse-gas emissions have risen rapidly in the past two centuries, and levels today are higher than at any time in at least the past six hundred to fifty thousand years. In 1995, each of the six billion people on earth was responsible, on average, for one ton of carbon emissions. Oceans and forests can absorb about half that amount. Although specific estimates vary, scientists and policy officials increasingly agree that allowing emissions to continue at the current rate would induce dramatic changes in the global climate system. To avoid the most catastrophic effects of those changes, we will have to hold emissions steady in the next decade, and then reduce them by at least sixty to eighty per cent by the middle of the century. Yet, even if all carbon emissions stopped today, the earth would continue to warm for at least another century. Facts like these have transformed carbon dioxide into a strange but powerful new currency, difficult to evaluate yet impossible to ignore (Specter 1).
Seventy-one percent of US companies report that they proactively market the “environmental friendliness” of their products to their customers, which is comparatively higher than the global average of 59 percent. Yet, US companies lag behind their global counterparts in developing “green” supply chains, the process by which products and services get from design to delivery and the operational area of many enterprises that is widely believed to leave the most significant environmental footprint (McGee 1).
American companies have been the leader in productions of certain goods for a long time but they also are starting to lead in other categories that aren’t something to brag about. Now companies are trying to change what they have been doing for so long, hurting the environment. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard statements from leaders representing eight big energy companies, including General Electric, Shell, and the two largest owners of utilities in the U.S., Exelon and Duke Energy. Six of the eight said they would either welcome or accept mandatory caps on their greenhouse-gas emissions. Wal-Mart too spoke in favor of carbon caps. The two outliers from the energy sector, Southern Company and American Electric Power, delivered pro forma bids for a voluntary rather than mandatory program, but they, too, broke with tradition by implicitly acknowledging that regulations may be coming, and offering detailed advice on how they should be designed (Little 1).
American companies that either produce green products or use green products on a daily basis should receive tax cuts for their effort because it helps the environment and saves energy. There should be somewhere on the tax forms to check off or write down how much money you spent on buying green products or how much green products you produced in a certain year. It should be the government’s choice on how to regulate and distribute the tax cuts due to green usage. The government should tax heavily, like cigarettes, or regulated, which is the way many countries have established mileage-per-gallon standards for automobiles.
There are so many different ways that companies can begin make a difference in helping win back our environment. It can begin with adding recycling bins to the work area in the break and lunch rooms, shredding paper for recycling, purchasing recycled products, and creating materials from organic and earth friendly material. When an individual begins going green at home, then they can carry on the tasks to their work related companies too (Cherry 1).
In 1977, Jimmy Carter told the American people that they would have to balance the nation’s demand for energy with its “rapidly shrinking resources” or the result “may be a national catastrophe.” It was a problem, the President said, “that we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century. We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren.” Carter referred to the difficult effort as the “moral equivalent of war,” a phrase that was widely ridiculed (Specter 6).
When we threaten or encourage American companies to turn green, the results could only turn out for the best. The government will benefit from this greatly because it is an easy way to regulate carbon and other harmful emissions. American companies will benefit mostly from saving energy therefore saving money such as Alcoa did. To accomplish this objective, Alcoa began working with Department of Energy in 1999 to identify opportunities for reducing energy consumption at its aluminum processing facilities. By performing plant-wide energy assessments, conducting employee training, and using DOE software tools and technical resources, Alcoa has successfully identified more than $60 million in savings opportunities company-wide, and has reduced its operating costs by more than $15 million.
Even though this proposal offers tax cuts to American companies, it does not mean every will go green or how green they will go. Companies might see going green as losing “green” because of the products they will have to buy or make therefore they will not profit even if there is tax cuts. Even with the government putting limits on emissions such as carbon, companies still have found ways around the cap.
When companies produce their green products who is to say that people will give up the extra money to buy it. Consequently, companies will not continue to produce environmental friendly products, hence, not worrying about the tax cuts and helping the environment. It is known now some of the going green products can be harmful to your health such as the popular new energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, known as CFLs, contain mercury.
American companies should not be the only ones to blame for hurting the environment, when every day people are hurting the environment in their household. When it comes down to it companies can produce all the green products they can but it’s up to the customer to not buy the product but to use it also.
Overall, the tax cut will lure more new companies and continuing companies to keep going green to help save energy and reduce harmful wastes. The government is already giving tax cuts for American people for several reasons. The federal government is now giving credit off people’s income tax when they purchase a fuel-efficient hybrid. The specific amount a person can earn will actually depend on the hybrid they bought. They are not only giving tax cuts on automobiles but if the person is going green in their home also. If a person upgraded your home’s insulation, windows, doors, metal roof, water heater, or heating or cooling system in 2007, they may get a credit of up to $500 off their taxes. If someone decided to go solar and install solar panels and/or solar water heaters in their home, they are looking at a bigger tax break that could earn them a credit of up to $2,000 off their taxes from the federal government. If American people are enjoying these tax cuts, then it is hard to believe multi-billion dollar companies would not jump at this offer.