WASHINGTON - The cities of Aspen and Annapolis, along with NorskeCanada (TSX:NS), a leading paper producer, have reached agreements with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Center for Energy & Climate Solutions (CECS) committing to significant actions that will reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions. WWF and CECS also announced that IBM (NYSE:IBM), a participant in their Climate Savers program, has surpassed its reduction target and avoided more than 1.28 million tons of CO2 emissions since the 1998 base year of its Climate Savers goal, saving $115 million in reduced energy costs. These efforts are part of the growing trend of businesses, states and local communities taking direct action to address the challenge posed to nature and people by global warming.
IBM and the cities of Aspen and Annapolis will receive awards from WWF for their leadership at an awards dinner on October 3, the eve of a WWF business summit on climate. Participants at this meeting will include business leaders from Nike, Johnson & Johnson, HSBC, several electric power companies including Florida Power & Light, along with the mayors of Annapolis and Aspen.
The City of Aspen's public utility has also joined WWF's PowerSwitch! program, an initiative that challenges power companies and public utilities to support mandatory CO2 limits and commits them to providing consumers with clean energy. Aspen has pledged to buy at least 45 percent of the community's power from environmentally-friendly energy sources (including wind and low-impact small hydro) by 2020, one of the largest proportions among U.S. cities.
"Aspen recognizes it stands to experience the impacts of global warming first-hand. Significant climate change will have disastrous effects on our economy and way of life. Do we want to tell our grandchildren we did nothing to protect their future? If other communities will join us in switching to renewable energy sources, we will make a difference," said Aspen's Mayor Helen Klanderud.
The City of Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, has joined Power Switch! committing to purchase 20 percent of the energy used by the city from renewable sources and increasing efficiency of city operations 15 percent by 2020. The mayor will convene a task force of public and private leaders to develop a plan for implementing these new commitments. The city currently requires that all new local government construction and renovations meet rigorous energy efficiency standards. It has added hybrid vehicles to its fleet and is installing an energy saving green roof on the new addition to the police station.
"As a low lying city with 19 miles of shoreline, we are very concerned about global warming and a rise in sea level. The good news is that if we act now, we can protect our communities and the environment. Reducing emissions doesn't just combat climate change; it makes the air we breathe cleaner," said Mayor Ellen Moyer of Annapolis.
Having already achieved an estimated 20 percent reduction in global CO2 emissions through energy conservation efforts from 1990 to 1997, IBM further reduced the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the company's annual energy use by the equivalent of an average of 5.7 percent from 1998 to 2004, exceeding its Climate Savers commitment of a 4 percent average annual reduction. This achievement is the result of energy conservation efforts and the use of renewable energy sources alone, and does not reflect additional CO2 emissions savings from consolidations and restructuring. Savings from IBM's efforts since 1998 equal taking 51,600 midsize cars that travel 10,000 miles per year off the road. Energy was conserved through simple efforts as well as more complex initiatives. Examples of the projects implemented ranged from installing motion detectors in bathrooms and copier rooms and changing temperature set points in office areas to rebalancing heating and cooling systems and rebuilding and resizing high purity water pumping systems in semiconductor manufacturing lines. IBM also updated its former headquarters building in New York State to meet ENERGY STAR® Building criteria; its new headquarters building in Zurich-Alstetten, Switzerland received the "Minergie" label for building energy efficiency; and the company has relied primarily on renewable energy such as wind, solar and biomass in the U.K.
"While some assume that cutting CO2 emissions costs businesses money, we have found just the opposite. Addressing climate change makes business sense," said Wayne Balta, Vice President for Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety, IBM. "We have saved more than one hundred million dollars since 1998 by conserving energy. When you consider the significant environmental benefits also achieved, cutting emissions is a win-win proposition."
By 2010, WWF Climate Savers companies will collectively reduce carbon pollution by some 9 million tons annually, approximately the amount generated by 2 million cars or 800,000 houses each year.
Paper maker NorskeCanada joined Climate Savers today pledging to reduce its CO2 emissions 70 percent below its 1990 levels by the year 2010, one of the most significant reductions committed to by a public company. The world's largest directory paper producer, NorskeCanada also makes mechanical printing papers used in catalogues, magazines, ad inserts and daily newspapers. Having already significantly reduced CO2 emissions, the company has committed to cut them even further through lower energy consumption, fuel switching from fossil fuels to biomass, better equipment efficiency, and monthly tracking of CO2 emissions.
"Saving energy and combating climate change go hand and hand. We know that by making smart choices about fuel use, we lower greenhouse gas emissions, increase air quality and reduce operating costs. In the last two years alone we cut our fossil fuel use by 36 percent, the equivalent of 600,000 barrels of oil per year, saving us millions in energy costs," said Lyn Brown, Vice President for Corporate Affairs & Social Responsibility, NorskeCanada. "WWF's Climate Savers program will help us to stay focused on future climate impacts as we make day-to-day operating decisions."
"The debate over whether global warming is happening is over. These companies get the message and are taking action, benefiting people and nature. I applaud these leaders for working with World Wildlife Fund to be part of the solution," said Hans Verolme, director of the WWF US Climate Change Program. "These companies have already increased efficiency by leaps and bounds. Conserving energy and shifting to clean energy has never been easier. America is producing enough renewable energy to power New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. We cannot wait for Washington."
"These efforts by companies and cities send a strong signal that addressing climate change is not only doable, but smart. There are billions of dollars in energy savings out there for the taking." said Dr. Joseph Romm, director of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, former Acting Assistant Energy Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and author of Cool Companies: How the Best Businesses Boost Profits and Productivity By Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions.