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A CEO’s View

Item #d98dec36

In an editorial in the November issue of the corporate publication Attache, Stephen Wolf, Group Chief and CEO of U.S. Airways reviewed recent developments in global climate as reported in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He ended by saying, “As with many issues affected by longer-term trends, there is a dilemma in matching today’s policies and decisions with tomorrow’s uncertainties. If we act rashly, we may run the risk of wasting scarce resources to little end. If we fail to act, we may run the risk of discovering too late that developments that might have been arrested have become irreversible. I have spent portions of my life analyzing risks, and common sense alone tells me that this is a situation that begs for action, not delay. I am no expert on these issues, but there seem to be at least two areas that would benefit from more focused attention. One is the global Kyoto Protocol signed last December that calls for developed countries to cut emissions of so-called greenhouse gases. The United States has yet to ratify and the debate on the issue has been all but nonexistent. Rather than seeking ways to escape action, we should be looking [for] compromise solutions to move the process forward. ... Second, there is no rule that says business leaders and environmentalists have to be on opposite sides of this issue. Today, there is a large gap of mutual suspicion that often thwarts progress rather than assisting it. There are many avenues – alternative technologies, forest conservation, energy efficiencies – that provide common ground. It need not be either hard or painful to begin the process of change. It may well be very and hard and very painful if we do not.”

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