April 22, 2020 marks 50 years of Earth Day—five decades of civic action aimed at changing and improving the way humankind interacts with and impacts the natural world. The first decade was a time of sweeping progress in the United States—the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, among other important legislative achievements. People across the U.S. and around the world identified a collection of issues that directly impacted their lives and neighborhoods and took action to create change. Those actions and legislative achievements created a safer and healthier planet for future generations.
The decades since have seen continued local, national, and global civic action to protect the environment on a massive scale, inspired each year by Earth Day. While significant additional progress has been made, more remains to be done. As the issues become increasingly global, the nature of the problems and the solutions has changed. There is no single local or national response that can solve such problems. They instead require local and national action combined with global mobilization and coordination. Fittingly, Earth Day Network declared climate action the theme of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Climate change is a highly complex and dynamic issue that presents challenges that manifest as both hyper-local and undeniably global. Its impacts are far-reaching, affecting health, food security, energy and transportation systems, agriculture, water security, economic stability, and the strength and stability of political systems and civil society.
My colleagues and I support clients who design and implement policies and programs that strengthen society and the natural world. Compelled by our own sense of mission, we take on the challenges that impact the social and natural systems making up the world around us. In this way, to borrow a phrase, Every Day is Earth Day at Cadmus. While we are involved in supporting many environmental programs and issues, this year’s theme resonates because climate action is particularly salient for our firm. We purpose-built a firm with the expertise and collaborative ethic necessary to address complex, dynamic, and highly interrelated challenges with cascading impacts, like climate change.
"As we celebrate this Earth Day while responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic, it has become ever more evident that we live in a highly interconnected world where our individual, organizational, sub-national, and national actions and contributions directly affect the global community."
Earth Day, with its inclusive ethos of illuminating and addressing a multitude of issues impacting the environment, provides a fitting framework for the multi-front approach required to address climate change. The range of coordinated activities that we must execute to address the challenge holistically is extensive. Barely scratching the surface, such activities include decarbonization programs; renewable energy strategies and innovation; beneficial electrification programs; sustainable transportation options for surface and air travel; comprehensive climate protection plans at all levels of government; exploration of carbon pricing policies; platforms for broad citizen dialog on climate and energy; ensuring a just energy transition; access to data and high-quality analytics to understand the nature of the challenge; and hazard preparedness approaches to help everyone, especially the most vulnerable, be more resilient while we strive for long-term solutions.
Let me give you a few examples of the critical work our clients are doing to address climate change. On behalf of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Cadmus is supporting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in analyzing the pathways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least 80% by 2050, in compliance with the Commonwealth’s climate legislation. Further work is being done for the Commonwealth to construct a 90% reduction pathway, analyzing additional sequestration from land use and examining seven deep decarbonization pathways. Cadmus is also leading a project to analyze and evaluate the impact of various carbon pricing policies for the State of Rhode Island, particularly in the electricity, thermal, and transportation sectors. We have supported the development of climate action plans and renewable energy strategies for many local and regional governments throughout the United States. Our colleagues in Germany developed climate action plans at the German federal level and for most of the German states that have developed action plans. We also support the communication and outreach efforts of the German Federal Climate Protection Plan, and we are currently building coalitions for a German Citizen Council on Climate.
In support of our clients, Cadmus is engaged in a broad range of exciting work related to transportation, electrification, and climate. We are leading a team to develop a comprehensive roadmap for the transportation sector to meet New York State’s ambitious 2030 and 2050 climate goals—with a special, priority focus on transportation electrification. The study evaluates the potential for electrification in the light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle markets, including modeling of associated charging infrastructure, and also examines potential applications for hydrogen and biofuels. Beyond on-road modes, the study also covers rail, marine, air, and pipeline transportation. Cadmus is working with another innovative client to develop a guidebook and roadmap playbook to assist airports in achieving zero emissions. Cadmus is also supporting the World Economic Forum and Rocky Mountain Institute to accelerate the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels. In Germany, we support the National Platform on the Future of Mobility, where government and stakeholders develop strategies to make sustainable mobility a reality. The results are frequently adopted as German federal policies.
We have long supported highly successful U.S. federal environmental programs. With respect to climate action, Cadmus currently runs the Department of Energy’s flagship SolSmart Designation Program, in partnership with the Solar Foundation and ICMA. We have been proud to support many critical aspects of the U.S. government’s ENERGY STAR® program since its founding in 1992, including supporting the promotion of its Earth Day 50th Anniversary video. Cadmus supports EPA’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership in the development of credible, no-cost, easy-to-use resources that help organizations embrace and achieve cost-effective greenhouse gas reductions. We also support EPA’s Creating Resilient Water Utilities Initiative, where we assist utilities in resilience planning through evaluation of climate impacts, identification of risks, and development of adaptation measures. These are just a few examples among many of the excellent and important work being done by our federal government clients.
On the critical issue of data, Cadmus is taking the lead role in organizing and conducting a stakeholder outreach campaign to support the U.S. federal government in planning the next generation of weather and environmental satellites. We are also supporting numerous other data-gathering and data-analytic efforts related to climate change and decarbonization for local and state governments, utilities, national governments, and international development efforts.
And speaking directly to the importance of transnational cooperation, Cadmus and its German subsidiary IFOK have supported The Transatlantic Climate Bridge initiative launched by the German Ministry of Environment and the German Federal Foreign Office. The initiative aims to foster ongoing transatlantic cooperation and partnerships in the climate and energy arena on all levels, to highlight common solutions, to support the exchange of experiences and to raise awareness of the economic advantages of ambitious climate policy. Cadmus and IFOK have designed and implemented a series of formats for dialogue in the United States and Canada, including conferences and town hall meetings on climate and innovation, carbon pricing, mobility of the future, and the sustainable transformation of cities. We also work across Europe with stakeholders, politicians, and representatives of underserved populations to develop recommendations for a just energy transition as we implement climate protection policies.
Projects like these, of course, are only the beginning of the work that needs to be done to address this global challenge. As we celebrate this Earth Day while responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic, it has become ever more evident that we live in a highly interconnected world where our individual, organizational, sub-national, and national actions and contributions directly affect the global community. Like the first Earth Day 50 years ago, there is a great need for individuals and organizations to come together and take action.
Cadmus will continue to work with our clients and partners around the world on the next generation of innovative programs, technologies, and legislation that creates the same transformational change in society’s relationship with the natural environment that we experienced in that first decade of Earth Days. While the challenges are great, our resolve remains strong. Together, let’s celebrate Earth Day 2020 by taking actions that ensure that we, too, create a safer, healthier, and more bio-diverse planet for future generations. Let’s continue to make certain that Every Day is Earth Day.
President and CEO, Cadmus