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2.3.2 How Can We Solve the Problems We Face?

Dryzek (2005) identified three Discourses which focus on environmental problem solving: administrative rationalism, democratic pragmatism, and economic rationalism. Although each recognizes ecological problems do exist, these problems are treated as manageable within our basic industrial society framework. Each embodies the fundamental belief of the NEP that unregulated growth and pollution is impossible within a finite system. Administrative rationalism relies on experts and the use of institutional and policy responses including professional resourcemanagement bureaucracies, pollution control agencies, regulatory policy instruments, environmental impact assessments, and policy analysis techniques. When we think of the regulatory compliance issues many organizations face as well as their use of experts to improve eco-efficiencies, we see this Discourse shapes a great deal of what takes place in Western for-profit organizations. Democratic pragmatism involves interactive problem solving within the basic structure of a liberal capitalist democracy. We see it played out when organizations consult with the public, through the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, policy dialogue, lay citizen deliberation, and right-to-know legislation. US laws mandate public forums where citizens can gain information and communicate about environmental concerns (Cox 2013). Economic rationalism involves the use of market mechanisms to achieve public ends. Resource privatization argues people care more for what they own privately rather than what they share in common with others. Another is the idea of managed markets and we have seen heated and politicized discussions in the USA about voluntary markets for trading carbon and/or pollution credits.

ClearSky Climate Solutions and Economic Rationalism During my interview with Keegan Eisenstadt, of ClearSky Climate Solutions, he noted:

The [stock] market has deeply internalized the need to satisfy demands at the end of the fiscal quarter, at the end of the day's trading close deadline, at the end of the stock price premerger. The demands of the market have no linkage to the long-term demands of our planet and our societies.

That said, he remained optimistic about the role of the voluntary greenhouse gas and carbon emission markets. He described how the European Compliance Market is doing well and how, in 2006, California passed the Global Warming Solutions Act, which set the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal into law. In 2011, they adopted cap-and-trade regulation. Keegan also shared the results of a survey sponsored by the Ecosystem Marketplace, a leading source of news, data, and analytics on markets and payments for ecosystem services (e.g., water quality, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity). The study addressed why companies are purchasing forest carbon offset credits on the greenhouse gas market:

The first one you would hope is because of their values, either the value of the board of directors, the founder or CEO, or employees.. .. The second is pre-compliance learning. Businesses say carbon is going to cost us something in the future, let's invest now to learn what the problem is before we are whacked over the head with the compliance stick.. .. Another important piece of the puzzle that I think is more important in Europe [than the U. S.] is reputational risk management.. .. Another is co-branding.. .. The last one is that carbon markets provide an opportunity for people to diversity their business model.. .. These are the big reasons people are joining forest carbon, and that does not sound like a tree-hugger, right?

Critics contend that carbon trading overlooks the crucial point that trading does not reduce emissions, but rather redistributes the allowance of further emissions. Growth, production, consumption, and emissions continue. By creating a false sense of relief, public concern is shifted away from dealing with the global problems of increasing CO2 emissions and natural resource scarcity (Christensen et al. 2015). Their point is very valid.

 
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