There is overwhelming scientific consensus that global climate stability is threatened by human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, which have led to a nearly 80 percent increase in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide since the industrial revolution. These emissions are primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, as well as the clearing of forests, which store carbon in trees and soil. Given current trends, greenhouse gas emissions could triple in the decades ahead, leading to significant global economic, environmental, and health problems. In addition, scientists have indicated that the rise in greenhouse gas emissions will have an extremely adverse impact on the planet's biodiversity and critical ecosystems.
A growing number of companies
are voluntarily working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to reap the cost savings, positive visibility, competitive advantage and internal learning in advance of regulation. Investment in more efficient ways to derive energy-powered services and in forestry-based carbon offset projects are proving to be attractive and cost-effective parts of an overall emissions reduction and offset program.
The Center's Climate Change program builds on CI's previous work in developing countries, where the opportunity for positive impact and the need for financial, institutional, legal and technical capacity is great. By addressing the connections between climate change and biodiversity, the program is working to target significant opportunities to reduce emissions that go beyond a company's immediate operations to include their supply chain as well emissions outside the industrial sector. The Center is also strategically partnering with other institutions and businesses to advance collaborative efforts between environmental organizations and businesses and to avoid duplicating existing work.