Interview with John Disharoon, Dir of Sustainable Development, Caterpillar


Courtesy of Green Power Conferences Ltd.

Led by CEO Jim Owens, Illinois-based Caterpillar was one of the first companies to sign on to USCAP last January. Here John Disharoon, Director of Sustainable Development at Caterpillar, talks about why national carbon targets will facilitate real climate change action on the part of US companies.

Why are national carbon targets necessary for US companies to address climate change challenges?

Regional and state by state initiatives are problematic. The US needs a federal policy that works in concert with international frameworks to address climate issues. It is a global issue that requires a global response.

What sources does Caterpillar currently rely on to set carbon reduction targets and who do you benchmark those targets against?

Caterpillar participates in the US EPA Climate Leaders Program and similar activities and uses many of the voluntary measurements to set our reduction goals. We benchmark others in our industry and set both external and internal targets.

In your opinion, what would be the ideal scenario for federal action on climate change?

It would be a program that uses market forces to drive reasonable policies to reduce the impact of climate change. This means leveraging commercially available technologies to enact meaningful reduction targets on GHG emissions. It will require a focus on RD&D to bring mass scale carbon capture and storage programs to life and will recognize that the US is one of many nations that must do this to make any real difference in the world.

Do you think having a CEO that is committed to climate response is critical to its success?

A CEO that is able to balance the needs of the shareholders and the needs of society is critical to many elements of sustainable development, including climate issues. A balance must be struck between competitive costs of energy, energy security and the impact of that energy -- both development and deployment-- on society. Only with that balance will the needs of the many be served.

John will be among the speakers at the forthcoming Corporate Climate Response conference in Chicago Sept 25-26.

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