WASHINGTON—On any given day they are rivals in the tire marketplace, but on the issue of global climate warming, five tire company officials are standing united.
In an open letter to Congress they are urging the U.S. government to follow through on the agreements reached during the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
The tire executives who signed the letter, published on The Hill, the Congressional blog that serves as a forum for lawmakers and policy professionals, are:
• Gary Garfield, CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas Inc.;
• Pete Selleck, chairman and president of Michelin North America Inc.;
• Pierluigi Dinelli, chairman and CEO of Pirelli Tire North America Inc.;
• James Hawk, chairman of Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc.; and
• Takaharu Fushimi, CEO and president of Yokohama Tire Corp.
“As senior executives of large multinational tire companies, we recognize that climate change presents a massive risk that must be managed. The vast majority of the world's climate scientists—estimated at 97 percent by NASA—agree that climate change is real, immediate, and largely caused by human activity,” the letter said.
The executives urged the U.S. to implement “a transparent reporting framework to ensure nations live up to their commitments. Moreover, the United States should adopt appropriate policies and regulations, including establishing a carbon pricing mechanism, to create a level playing field and invest in the development of scalable clean energies for tomorrow.”
Noting that current conditions could lead to the average planet temperatures increasing by as much as 8°F over the century and the subsequent problems and tragedies such conditions could cause — such as extreme weather events and food and water shortages—the executives said “the risk management equation is both straightforward and compelling.”
“To put this in the context of running a large company, if 97 percent of experts warned that unless certain steps were taken, there would be a significant risk of large explosions at a company's manufacturing facilities, the CEO would be compelled to act on the warning. If the strategy were to merely hope that the experts were wrong and the explosions occurred, the chief executive would lose his job and might, depending on the details, face dire legal consequences.
Climate change is no different. If we do not act now and the science proves even largely right, we will have lost the opportunity to manage our risk. Doing nothing or very little means betting that most of the world's scientists are fundamentally wrong. It is an all or nothing bet with the only planet we have, a bet no sensible person would make. We hope that the scientific community is just plain wrong, but hope is not a strategy. The only rational response is to manage the risk,” the letter states.
“While our companies are each making significant strides in reducing our own carbon footprints and will continue to drive improvements, there must be a far greater coordinated regulatory framework and investments in green technologies if the risk is to be effectively managed. Although we are comparatively large companies, compared to the whole picture, we are too small to move the needle,” the executives said.
The full letter is available on The Hill website.