Northampton, MA –News Direct– Antea Group
EHS issues are always on the move and we need to keep an eye on the long term. In the wake of the setbacks under the Trump administration, sustainability and global climate change are once again at the forefront. At the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, President Biden called climate change “a challenge to our collective lives; the existential threat to human existence as we know it.
He went on to say:
And every day we delay, the cost of inaction increases. Let this be the moment we answer the call of history here in Glasgow. May this be the start of a decade of transformative action that preserves our planet and improves the quality of life for people everywhere.
It has been a busy year for the Biden administration, and his environmental policy has come a long way since he took office. Let’s review the most important EHS and sustainability initiatives of its first year and take a look at what lies ahead.
The Biden administration has renewed and strengthened America’s commitment to tackle climate change on a global scale.
The Paris Climate Agreement, also known as the Paris Agreement, is a legally binding international treaty on climate change launched in 2016. One of the main goals is to reduce global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius or less. In June 2017, President Trump announced the decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. After his election, Biden re-established the United States as an active partner in the treaty.
G20 summit 2021
Biden stressed the need for aggressive action to slow global warming at the 2021 G20 summit in Rome. The G20 Summit brings together leaders from the world’s 20 major economies to discuss global economic, political, health and ecological issues.
For some, the G20 summit did not meet the expectations of significant initiatives on climate change. Biden expressed his frustration with the contributions from China and Russia, saying: “The disappointment is that Russia and… China have basically not come forward in terms of commitments for fight against climate change.
United States Law
Last November, the House passed a billion dollar infrastructure spending bill called The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. The bill channels funds to the network, public transport, drinking water, etc.
Public transport: In addition to repairs to existing vehicles and transit infrastructure, the deal includes an investment in sustainable transportation to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, thousands of transit vehicles will be replaced by zero-emission vehicles.
Electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure: The United States will build the first nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations. The agreement provides funding to install electric vehicle chargers along road corridors and increase the range of travel of electric vehicles. There are special provisions for rural and hard-to-reach communities.
Clean school buses: There will be zero, low emission school bus distribution across the country.
Airports, ports and freight: Funding is provided to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and increase the use of low-carbon technologies.
Climate resilience: The agreement aims to improve the resilience of physical and natural systems in the aftermath of natural disasters, which often occur as a result of climate change.
Clean drinking water: Funding is provided to expand access to potable water, eliminate lead service lines and clean up PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances).
Inherited pollution: The clean-up of Superfund sites and brownfields, the reclamation of abandoned mines and the plugging of orphaned oil and gas wells are called for in the bill.
Clean energy transmission: The bill creates a new grid deployment authority for research and development in sustainable energy technologies and smart grids. Improvements will be made to support the expansion of renewable energy.
What this will mean for EHS managers and sustainability leaders remains to be seen, but we can continue to prepare for the changes to come. Ben Hansen of Antea Group explains that the focus on infrastructure will mean that “license issues will receive more attention from an environmental and social perspective.”
As the scrutiny of climate issues increases, Ben says, “Environmental justice issues will be a driving theme that regulators will need to understand before approving new and improved infrastructure plans. Understanding the social and environmental impact of each project will be critical to the success of any implementation effort. “
United States climate goals
The Build Back Better framework spending bill is currently stalled as Congress seeks to resolve many social and political issues as well as ambitious climate change provisions.
The Biden administration says it’s supposed to be enacted in tandem with the bipartisan infrastructure deal. It is not clear whether climate change targets can be met if the bill is not passed or is too small. For now, the Biden administration has three major climate change goals:
Reduce emissions by 50 to 52% from 2005 levels by 2030
Create a 100% carbon-free energy sector by 2035
Net zero emissions by 2050
Even if there are difficulties in achieving all three goals or if they ultimately fail, Biden has shown that aggressive climate change policy can be viable in the United States.
Make the choice
EHS managers should expect climate change to be a priority in all sectors, not just in policy or regulatory spheres. As we explained at the start of Biden’s administration:
It’s not just regulations and policies that are forcing businesses around the world to play their part in tackling climate change. Customers, employees, investors and stakeholders everywhere are closely monitoring companies’ sustainability efforts. We are challenged not only to meet minimum standards, but to visibly go above and beyond.
More and more political leaders are adopting climate change and sustainability goals and pushing for global cooperation. What once seemed like a green chimera is now being put into action. As Biden said at COP26, “We can do it. We just have to make a choice to do it.
About the Antea groupAntea®Group is an environment, health, safety and sustainable development consulting firm. By combining strategic thinking and multidisciplinary perspectives with technical expertise, we do more than effectively solve client challenges; we deliver lasting results for a better future. We partner with and advise many of the world’s most sustainable companies to address ESG business challenges in a way that matches their pace and unique goals. Our consultants equip organizations to better understand threats, seize opportunities and find their position of strength. Finally, we maintain a global perspective on ESG issues through, not only our work with multinational clients, but also through our sister organizations in Europe, Asia and Latin America and as a founding member of the Inogen Alliance. .
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