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Posted on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 9 a.m.

Michigan Energy Futures Conference speaker says big businesses are on board to fight climate change

By Ben Freed

One climate change narrative is that businesses do not believe in the science of climate change and will do anything to avoid regulation by the government.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization established by the Pew Charitable Trusts to work with businesses and policymakers to help iron out some of these perceived differences.


Janet Peace is the vice president for markets and business strategy at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

Janet Peace, the center’s vice president for markets and business strategy, is a keynote speaker at the first annual Michigan Energy Futures Conference hosted by the Erb Institute at the Ross Business School Wednesday. She said the companies involved with the center do not fit into the “climate change denier” mold at all.

“I don’t hear companies say that climate change is a myth,” she said.

“Maybe it’s just the people I work with, but the big businesses I work with are not climate change-deniers. They are out there actively managing the risks of climate change and looking for opportunities.”

It’s not as though Peace is working with small companies more concerned with the environment than profits. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has a 33-member business council that mostly includes Fortune 500 companies.

The council spans a variety of business sectors, from airlines to oil companies, and includes local heavyweights DTE Energy and General Motors. The council serves in an advisory capacity, helping the center develop policy recommendations.

“We don’t speak on behalf of the business council or any of the businesses we work with, we learn from them,” Peace said.

“We’ve been a huge advocate for years of putting a price on carbon emissions as a way to incentivize reducing emissions. It could be a carbon tax, a cap and trade system, a carbon cap, there are various ways to do it.”

Whatever system is implemented, Peace said that she hopes it is implemented quickly. With Congress as gridlocked as ever with immigration legislation and other concerns, she said she hopes that President Barack Obama will work through the Environmental Protection Agency to craft new carbon regulations.

“Companies want certainty,” she said.

“They know that not doing anything exposes them to increasing risks down the line but they want to make sure that they know what the guidelines are going to be that they will be expected to follow… If Congress is not willing to act, the President would be right to use his powers within the Clean Air Act to curb emission.”

Curbing carbon emissions is just the tip of the iceberg for the center though. There are a number of other initiatives Peace claims have the backing of the business community and would help move America in the right direction on climate change issues.

“It’s got to be an all-of-the-above strategy,” Peace said.

“We need nuclear energy, you can’t solve climate issues without nuclear, and you can’t do it without renewable energy. Natural gas will also play a large roll and is very complimentary to renewable energy. Production of electricity with natural gas can be ramped up or down very quickly which can help deal with the intermittent quality of some renewable energy sources.”

Peace said she believes real solutions are available for companies to help the environment, but also knows they will not move forward without an economic incentive to do so.

“I’m a technology optimist. We have technologies that can help us address climate change, but to deploy them we need policies that push and pull them into the market place,” she said.

The Michigan Energy Futures Conference will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Janet Peace will speak at 3 p.m.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


James Lupton

Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

What is worrisome to me is the number of readers who are ignorantly unaware of how ignorant their climate denial arguments really are. If you bother to research the science, rather than listen to the frothing at the mouth right wing media, you will quickly discover that climate change is quite real, caused by man and absolutely backed by sound science.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

Big Business and Big Brother do tend to get along nicely.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

You can rest assured that DTE and Consumers will use their monopoly power and political influence over the MPSC to stand in the way of progress. DTE and Consumers must have their monopoly status revoked since they continue to be bad actors. I hope the MPSC makes them eat their devious investments in coal. Unfortunately, they are likely to serve up the costs for their self-serving decisions to the rate payers.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 11:40 p.m.

Thank goodness there are sane people in this world who believe in science. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be available in abundance here. The sun causes global warming??? How profound... profoundly inane and misguided.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

Why wouldn't they jump on board, the tax credits are in the best interest to small and large businesses. Now if they can get the rest world to follow this myth. Don't think so.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

They are on board to maximize profits.

Ben Freed

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

That seems to be Peace's point. These businesses believe that the way to maximize profits in the long term is to get behind climate control now.

Jeff Westbrooks

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

It's good to see that the scientifically challenged have someplace to vent because they sure can't use the scientific method of peer reviewed research to make their cases. When a man sits silently you cannot tell if he is a wise man or a fool, but once he opens his mouth all doubt disappears.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 11:44 p.m.

Jeff, rest assured that any article about global warming will bring out the flat-earth society members. As you and I know, scientists are of a single mind. It's just the politicians and the right-wing that are ideological to the point that they add nothing to the discussion.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

Which side are you on, Jeff; because I can take your comment different ways. If you're on Obama's side and listened the other day, he and his Czars are going to kill the coal industry by shutting them down one by one and replace them by wind and solar. Wind and solar, by definition, have to have either water dams, coal or gas plants, or nuclear factories to back them up. Does your "scientific methods" tell you that the sun doesn't shine 24 hours a day; that the wind does not always blow enough to keep a plant going, and there has to be back-up. Are you silent and we cannot tell if you are a wise man or a fool. and you opened your mouth and our doubt can disappear??

Superior Twp voter

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 3:42 p.m.

Liberals always require a "boogeyman" and global warming is but one. What an utter farce. Carbon tax, cap and trade, carbon cap - all the same: it's about CONTROL. And re-distribution of wealth. The only thing I agree with in this putrid "article" is the need for much more nuclear energy.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

"The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life." Everything that IPCC and the rest of the socialists broadcast is paid for by guess who?? Would that be the liar in the White House, who's primary end-game is pure=T socialism with a guess who diktator. Read the Black Book of Communism and match up what happened in other countries that became communist to what the Big O is doing to our economy, and he has said so many times. The Polar Bears are not drowning and disappearing; the Himalayan Glaciers are not melting (see IPCC who took a student's essay as truth and published same); Jones, the leader at E. Anglia U. liars was forced to resign when found to have fudged numbers to coincide with their beliefs - no truths here. It is all a great lie and scam and the mal-educated or non-educated have been indoctrinated in this lying drivel at the universities (run by guess who? liberal professors) = There are so many rebuttals to this scam that anyone who doesn't study it objectively will believe AGW is happening and will reduce our economy into a government led by CZARS, and the Commissars working for them.

Phillip Farber

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 12:13 a.m.

Trolling much?


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

Usual suspects - thank you for sticking your neck out waiting for the guillotine which both of us will soon see coming at us.

Usual Suspect

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

But Obama told me last night the debate is over. I'm so confused. I don't know who to believe - Obama, or science!


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

"Maybe it's just the people I work with, but the big businesses I work with are not climate change-deniers. They are out there actively managing the risks of climate change and looking for opportunities." And if they were you would play Chicago: "I ain't heard nuthin; I din't see nuthin; and I don'e know nuthin; and if'en I did kno something I woodn't tell the truth. What a pack of lies this is. It's all about control over the sheeple. There are thousands of reasons why this is a scam and the peepl who support it are socialist/progressive/communists who claim to kno everything for the empty suit sitting in the empty chair in DC.

Top Cat

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

"I don't hear companies say that climate change is a myth," she said. Of course they don't say it. They are afraid of incurring the wrath of the politically correct and of Progressives boycotting their business. The question is when business people vote, do they vote for people like Obama that perpetuate this fairy tale? Exit polls would say that they do not.

James Lupton

Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

No, they are concerned with their own bottom line. And if you ignore the truth of climate change your bottom line will inevitably suffer.

Superior Twp voter

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Excellent comment, Top Cat. Spot on.

Usual Suspect

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

I work with many small business owners. They all have way too much financial sense and a healthy grasp of economic concepts to vote for a loser like Obama.

Usual Suspect

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

How are big businesses going to change the behavior of the sun, which is the cause of climate change?

James Lupton

Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

If you knew even the first thing about the science you would realize how poor and unscientific this argument actually is. If you are even a little bit interested in actually learning the truth you can do actually look up the evidence and discover very quickly that it is NOT the sun: