U.S. Withdraws from Historic Paris Agreement – Industry’s Reaction Reply

As of June 1, 2017, the United States will be withdrawing from the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.

To refresh your memory, the Paris Agreement is a global climate compact in which almost 200 countries agreed upon the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and the actions to make this a reality. Actions from the agreement would keep the planet from warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – a scientifically agreed upon threshold that would safeguard future generations against the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

This Agreement is a global effort, shaped by bold climate actions from each participating country. It is also shaped by commitments from the more stable members of the Agreement to provide climate finance assistance to poorer countries in the Agreement to support their transitions to renewable energy. All countries involved understand that climate change is an issue that transcends borders, and that efforts to combat climate change need to as well.

While President Trump announced yesterday that the United States will begin the years-long process to officially withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the business community is staying on course to combat climate change. Industry leaders from Facebook, GE, Apple, Tesla, and Microsoft, to name just a few, have outwardly expressed their disappointment with this decision, and plan to commit even more stringently to their climate change mitigation efforts.

A similar reaction has also been seen from state and local governments. Mayor Marty Walsh stated that Boston is still committed to, and even accelerating, its 2015 carbon neutrality goals. Governor Charlie Baker has stated that Massachusetts plans to focus on exceeding the state level goals of the Paris Agreement, and to continue economic growth from clean energy innovation. Governor Jerry Brown of California has similarly stated that California remains committed to the Paris agreement and is working with other states who are making the same commitment.

It’s not every day that industry, business, state and local governments, and the scientific community so urgently respond to a federal government action – but today seems to be that day – and the innovative and expedited responses from each of these sectors is more encouraging than ever.

To talk about what you and your company can do to join efforts to combat climate change, or for more information on this topic, contact Cristina Mendoza at cmendoza@capaccio.com

Kristine Lesso joins CAPACCIO as Senior EH&S Contributor Reply

Kristine Lesso, CSP, ISO 14001 Lead Auditor, Six Sigma Black Belt, recently joined Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc.’s team as Senior EH&S Contributor. Ms. Lesso has more than 25 years of experience assisting global manufacturing companies in a wide variety of high level EH&S areas including providing corporate-level strategic EH&S planning and sustainability strategy for global manufacturing companies. Ms. Lesso has particular expertise developing and deploying a systematic road mapping process and is fully versed in ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 management systems. She specializes in gaining organizational alignment to set strategic direction and in developing tailored EH&S programs, platforms and dashboards in support of this strategy. She has proven results implementing global programs with visibility, transparency, and accountability while fostering an environment of dignity and respect for all employees.

Prior to joining CAPACCIO, Ms. Lesso held senior level positions in private industry.  Most recently, she was the Senior Director of Corporate Environmental, Health and Safety at a high tech firm where she supported 90 manufacturing facilities globally with over 150,000 employees. Her broad breadth and depth of EH&S experience also includes EH&S auditing, major source air permitting projects, RCRA, EPCRA, emergency planning and response, hazard and risk assessments, accident/injury reporting systems, CDP reporting, and product content restrictions. She also has expertise in industrial wastewater permitting and capital planning at the corporate level for abatement/ treatment systems, and has provided extensive data/metrics analysis and use in strategic EH&S planning and program implementation.

Ms. Lesso holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Louisiana State University, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Corporate Sustainability from Furman University.

Ms. Lesso may be reached at klesso@capaccio.com, or by phone at 508-970-0033 ext. 120 or cell at 774-249-3216. Please join us in welcoming Kristine!

Paris climate agreement – Historic COP21 Reply

On Saturday night, December 12, 2015, an air of optimism surrounded the topic of climate change after 190 countries unanimously agreed on a unified effort to strategically address this challenge, forming the Paris climate agreement. This United Nations event, COP21, was attended by over 40,000 participants at the host location in Paris. Over 3,000 journalists reporting on the event ensured that the content and messages from COP21 were heard around the globe.

Receiving a unanimous agreement of a global warming temperature limit was the broader, long-term goal. Remarkably, what began as a 2 degree Celsius consensus global warming temperature limit, progressed to a 1.5 degree Celsius consensus limit. This ambitious goal is attainable, but emphasizes the need to implement significant efforts immediately.

The Paris climate agreement is just that, an agreement, and not a legally binding treaty. While this limits enforcement of the content, it allowed the process to be expedited, and not held up in legislation, as it would have been in the United States if presented as a treaty. An accountability system to review country progress every five years will be the alternative form of enforcement.

This agreement is unique in that it encompasses both developing and developed countries, holding them all to emissions reductions targets. Angst did surround the potential roadblocks that the role of developing countries could have posed at the event. One such concern being the cooperation of China and India, as both countries have significant development goals and outlooks. It was noted that the Obama administration played an important role in reaching out to these countries to shift their outlooks. An extra incentive for China was its realization of the opportunity that lies in the manufacture and production of renewables and energy efficient goods.

To support success of the event, despite the challenges mentioned, four pillars were established to guide the negotiations, including,

  1. Climate action plans or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s) were required from each country prior to COP21,
  2. A strategy for financing the transition to disrupting the global carbon addiction would be developed,
  3. Engagement of civil society including cities, regions, farmers, energy providers, and energy users must be considered as vital to implementation; and
  4. Outreach to engage the creative community to deliver the positive message that this change is possible must be encouraged.

The agreement is not perfect, and certain timelines and specifics have yet to be sorted. Viewpoints from the scientific community span from full support to harsh critique, some calling the effort ‘too little too late’. However, with creative solutions and innovation as drivers of the movement, as opposed to pessimistic outlooks, the Paris climate agreement has succeeded in establishing worldwide awareness and action on the issue.

Greenhouse gas accountability is the focus in all participating countries, the U.S. being one of those key participants. As a result, tracking and reporting on this topic is very likely to increase in both the private and public sectors. Whether you are required to comply with annual greenhouse gas reporting, attempting to complete a Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) questionnaire, or would like to be proactive and take steps to evaluate and enhance your company’s sustainability program, we are here to help you on this journey by offering all of these services, and more. For more information, please contact Cristina Mendoza at 508-970-0033 ext.128 or cmendoza@capaccio.com.

CAPACCIO highlighted for sustainability efforts in Greenhealth Magazine Reply

CAPACCIO was recently highlighted an article in Greenhealth Magazine, the official membership magazine for Practice Greenhealth, for its work assisting MetroWest Medical Center’s two hospitals in Framingham and Natick with gathering their sustainability data. CAPACCIO also assisted with submitting their award application which earned them a 2013 Practice Greenhealth Partner for Change Award. “Data gathering can be very time consuming and involved,” said Bill Potochniak, PE, Senior Associate at CAPACCIO. “That’s where somebody like CAPACCIO can come in. We almost act like a contract sustainability director. We handle tracking all that data. We do all of the legwork of getting the data. Plus, we have the staff of scientists and engineers to make sense of the data, and we might see trends that the average person might not see or someone in a hospital setting might not see. We can help identify areas for improvement.”

Read the full article at:
http://greenhealthmagazine.org/enjoy-the-data-dividend/

For more information, please contact Bill Potochniak, PE, at 508-970-0033 ext. 134 or wpotochniak@capaccio.com.