Gary Hirshberg came to Washington this week as a businessperson with a message about climate change: “This is not a partisan issue, period.”
As founder and chairman of yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm, Mr. Hirshberg knows full well about the partisan chasm that exists in America over this issue. Yet he and other business leaders, representing 75 companies with combined annual revenues of more than $2.5 trillion, believe the time is ripe for bridging that divide. The firms include big ones like PepsiCo and General Mills, plus oil giants BP and Shell.
Citing the risks of human-driven climate change observed by scientists, the business leaders met with members of both political parties yesterday – aiming to engage Republicans especially. The coalition is urging a “price on carbon,” such as a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, to create incentives for the private sector to transition toward a clean-energy economy.
“Investing in reversing climate change is good business,” Mr. Hirshberg said. Or as another CEO colleague told me and other reporters: Ultimately, sustainable business is the only business.
They don’t expect to win results instantly. But it’s a message they expect will resonate over time with Republicans, with a carbon tax being seen as a less-intrusive way for government policy to address what GOP lawmakers are increasingly acknowledging as an issue of genuine concern.
One reason is real-world evidence. (Mr. Hirshberg calls tackling warming temperatures a matter of “dire necessity” for Stonyfield’s cows.) But another reason is changing politics, as a fast-growing cohort of younger voters – including the kids of the CEOs – sees climate action as a top priority for their future.
Now to our stories for today, including a closer look at what’s really driving voter attitudes in Europe, the rising voice of veterans in U.S. politics, and what role humans should play in encouraging the revival of wild wolves.
Get unlimited Monitor journalism.Learn more