The Codcast: Business tackles transportation emissions

Alli Gold Roberts says the business community is a bigger supporter of addressing climate change than you might think.

A senior manager for state policy at Ceres, which works with Fortune 500 companies and other business groups in addressing sustainability issues, Roberts said many businesses view climate change from a perspective of self-interest. Transportation, for example, accounts for more than  a third of greenhouse gas emissions in New England. Business leaders want to reduce those emissions, but they also want to reduce congestion and improve public transit so their employees can get to work and their products can get to market.

Roberts joined James Aloisi, a board member of TransitMatters, and Stacy Thompson, executive director of the Livable Streets Alliance, on this week’s Codcast. They discussed the role businesses and their employees can play in addressing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.

Employees should encourage their employers to get involved with the climate change effort and customers should support businesses that are trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Gold said. She noted Clif Bar & Company of Emeryville, California, offers its employees $6,500 toward the purchase of an electric vehicle and Target is installing electric vehicle charging stations at many of its stores.

Roberts said there has been a lot of progress in New England in reducing emissions from the power sector, but little attention has been paid so far to transportation. She noted 12 states plus the District of Columbia are currently exploring the development of a Transportation Climate Initiative that would attempt to attack the problem regionally, using the same playbook the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has followed in addressing emissions in the power sector.

The Transportation Climate Initiative is bipartisan, just as support from the business community is more about outcomes than politics, Gold said. “This is really not about politics at all. It’s truly about economic competitiveness,” she said.



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