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A Global Warming Tax on Your Business?

December 11, 2009
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If forced to take a side, I would join the ranks of global warming skeptics.  

I’d argue that historical temperature measurements don’t go back far enough and that we might be in the midst of a natural warmer cycle. I’d contend that man-made carbon dioxide is just a tiny fraction of what our planet produces naturally with volcanoes, cows, etc. I’d say global warming proponents sometimes use misleading statistics to make their case and ignore contradictory data.

But there’s a gaping hole in my position, and it’s not in the ozone layer. My conflict is that I love glaciers, and they are disappearing.

Three years ago I spent two days hiking in Glacier National Park and was awed by its beauty. I enjoyed it so much I’m returning next summer for a weeklong visit. According to some experts, my timing is good because all of the park’s glaciers could be gone in 10 years. 

I've viewed decades-apart photos of the park’s retreating glaciers. The vast shrinkage is disturbing, and it’s happening worldwide. To view “climate change” images from around the globe, click here

I was all set to slam the global “climate change” meetings in Copenhagen as over-the-top and filled with political and personal agendas. And what about the folly of the Environmental Protection Agency declaring that carbon dioxide is a public danger?

But now I am torn. There’s no doubt we need to be better caretakers of the earth’s resources, to work and live “green” and leave the planet in good condition for our kids and grandkids.

But at what cost? How do we pay for better environmental practices without succumbing to the doomsday hype of zealots? I sure don’t want businesses to absorb indiscriminate “climate change” taxes.

Rather than tax businesses, which would trigger higher costs for goods and services, let’s reward those who help the planet. Simultaneously, let’s do a better job of holding accountable (i.e., big fines) those companies that violate current EPA guidelines for clean air, water and emissions.

One way to reward businesses is with better tax credits for provable environmental and energy-saving accomplishments. Let’s provide deeper breaks for those companies that design, build and rent environmentally efficient buildings.

This week I received an email from reader Chris Thorman. Chris shared a blog that highlights the use of green and red glowing eggs to demonstrate a building’s operating efficiency. Click Here to learn how sustainability consultant Global Knowledge is connecting human behavior with efficient building management. 

Chris’ blog demonstrates one of thousands of initiatives worldwide that help everyone make the transition to a more sustainable future.

I think we can build, live, work and play in a more environmentally friendly manner without resorting to drastic legislation, political death matches and more taxes.

Based on free market principles, I believe architects, contractors, engineers, building owners and a wide range of other pros will provide innovative solutions to our environmental challenges--without the need for massive government intervention. Just give these pros a little support and recognition, and they’ll do the rest.

Am I wrong?
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