My carbon crystal ball for 2010 predicts:
April: Federal climate change bill signed by President Obama on Earth Day (what politician can resist the green press?) that strengthens existing carbo- cutting measures by states and establishes a national carbon trading system.
Midyear: Every other ad on TV or in print claims its product somehow has a lower carbon footprint than that of its competitor (Miller Lite and Jenny Craig both take on new meaning).
Third quarter: Walmart unveils details of a “sustainability label”, including carbon footprint, that will be required on all products it sells. If you are part of the Walmart supply chain—and who isn't?—start measuring, whether or not you are required to do so by the USEPA, Chinese authorities, or anyone else.
November: 37 Governors elected—100 percent of the winners will have made renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green jobs a central part of their campaigns.
December: COP 16 in Mexico City—world leaders adopt the climate change fixit deal that will replace the Kyoto Protocol, this time including China, India, and the US.
Low-carbon winners: Cisco Systems (as more execs “Telepresence” into meetings instead of flying); Johnson Controls (sharpest of the energy-efficiency players); Lighting Science Group (first energy-stingy LED lights at cost par with incumbents).
High-carbon losers: Northwest , Delta , and American Airlines (because they have the oldest, most gas-guzzling fleets in the sky); USA Today/Gannett (print newspapers dumped at your hotel door—a massive/wasted carbon footprint in a digital age); General Motors (the market catches on how the Volt is a greenwashed fig-leaf that can’t cover their gas-guzzling lineup of dinosaurs).
Happy New Year—and New Low-Carbon Decade!
Terry Tamminen, former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, is a partner at Pegasus Sustainable Century Merchant Bank and the Cullman Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. (Cracking The Carbon Code is a registered trademark of Terry Tamminen).