Last month, 3Degrees and Origin Climate united to expand our comprehensive range of renewable energy and climate solutions for clients worldwide. As the leader of our environmental markets business, I am especially excited about this news for two reasons: 1) my personal passion to protect the next generation from the worst impacts of climate change and 2) the opportunity to develop and expand robust markets to protect the environment and create economic prosperity.
Our Commitment to Protecting the Next Generation
In January, my family welcomed a new addition. There is perhaps nothing more humbling than looking at a newborn and realizing how this tiny, vulnerable being is dependent on you and your partner for survival. Whether it is engaging in the slowest, most careful driving in my life as we transported our precious cargo home or taking a more measured path through traffic as I bike to work, parenthood is a poignant reminder of our own mortality and the legacy we bequeath to our children.
When my parental leave ends, my daily work will continue to remind me about the need to protect the next generation. Through my work at 3Degrees, I pursue my personal passion towards harnessing the power of business to solve the environmental, economic, and social issues that climate change presents. The reality and risks of climate change are stark. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Risks Report, the failure to mitigate and adapt to climate change is the “most impactful risk for the years to come,” surpassing the risks of weapons of mass destruction and water shortages.
Without fast action, the next generation will inherit a financial burden from climate change that will diminish their opportunities and quality of life. An analysis by the think tank Demos and liberal advocacy group Next Gen projects a loss of $8.8 trillion in the lifetime income of the rising generation—vastly overshadowing even the $1 trillion student college loan debt.
We stand in awe of the tremendous responsibility and opportunity to create an alternative, more sustainable future for our children to inherit.
Despite current politics, markets can drive real change
During my economics courses in graduate school, I was drilled about how negative externalities – like environmental degradation – are passed on to others who did not choose to incur that particular cost. Climate change highlights the inter-generational responsibility to address these externalities at the source – namely the burning of fossil fuels today.
Given this reality, the recent political tone from the top is concerning – particularly that our country needs to choose between creating jobs and protecting the environment. Over the course of my studies and career, I have seen firsthand how the creation of robust markets for renewable energy and carbon can drive investment toward solutions that create jobs, promote growth, and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Case in point: the renewable energy sector has been a major source of job growth. The solar workforce increased by 25% in 2016, while wind employment increased by 32%, according to the 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report produced by the Department of Energy.
Effectively Navigating and Managing Risks for the Environment
3Degrees has over a decade of experience helping corporations, utilities and other load-serving entities (LSE) understand the risks and opportunities of environmental markets. Underlying this work is the simple goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through support of renewable energy generation and carbon mitigation projects. The addition of the Origin Climate team broadens and deepens our ability to help our customers make an impact.
Together, our efforts fostered meaningful emissions reductions AND economic prosperity. Together we are prepared to tackle the increasingly complex challenges ahead.
We stand at a critical moment in history given the threats to pull out of the Paris climate agreement and renege on the United States climate commitments. This is also the exact opposite of what a majority of Americans want, as noted by our colleagues at NRDC in their observation that “71% of Americans, including 57% of Republicans…support U.S. participation in the accord.” The choice we each have is to take action even in the face of this uncertainty. What we do today will define the world my (mostly) sleeping newborn will inherit.