Environment and sustainability

General

IFAI is fully supportive of global efforts to improve our environment and limit the effects of climate change. However, legislation must be considered only based on sound scientific information and with full consideration of the economic effects. IFAI members have been proactive in programs and actions to improve the environment to increase sustainability efforts without forced compliance from the government.

  • The government should seek to develop and implement methodologies to measure compliance with environmental regulations and associated environmental improvements.
  • Enforcement should aim at achieving federal environmental goals while giving freedom to the manufacturers to choose the means to achieve those goals.

IFAI supports:

  • Environmental laws and regulations that protect our natural environment and improve public welfare while avoiding unnecessary adverse economic impacts.
  • Measures to protect environmental quality should be based on credible facts and science, and only be adopted when the benefits outweigh the cost of implementation.
  • The review of the Clean Water Act which requires some modifications to ensure continued future success. IFAI will promote and educate on programs that will improve the sustainability and recycling efforts of our member companies.

IFAI will promote and educate on programs that will improve the sustainability and recycling efforts of our member companies.

  • In the area of sustainability, IFAI and its member companies are committed to advancing sustainability efforts by:
    • Demonstrating that sound economic, social and environmental performance is an element of sustainable companies
    • Encouraging R&D on new technologies to improve sustainability
    • Minimizing natural resource impacts by increasing efficiencies and conservation to optimize raw material usage and limit waste production
    • Improving water management
    • Educating members

Energy and natural resources

Access to sustainable and affordable energy is critical to the future growth of our industry. In this context, IFAI recognizes that its members, as manufacturers, are high users of energy and supports the development of markets, research and exploration that provide competitively priced sources of energy with sound environmental concerns in mind.

IFAI supports:

  • Efforts to optimize energy efficiency in government and business that will lead to better conservation practices
  • A fair distribution of energy costs between consumer, commercial and industrial. Industrials carry an inordinate amount of the total cost of electricity generation
  • Shifting consumption away from dependency on foreign sources to more balanced portfolio of fuels and alternative energy sources
  • Creation of broad based tax incentives for energy development and infrastructure
  • Scientific data that accurately tracks consumption and conservation trends
  • Safe and prudent exploration
  • Policies that encourage an energy mix of renewable energy resources but does not mandate specific technologies
  • Policies that further develop alternative sources such as wind, nuclear, solar, geothermal, hydro, biomass, etc.

IFAI opposes:

  • Government mandates for use of alternative energy sources before they are competitively viable
  • Using artificial pricing as a mechanism for the subsidy of otherwise non-viable means of energy generation

Climate change

The demand for action to be taken to address “Climate Change” is predicated on two conclusions. The first, that it is fundamentally anthropogenic, detrimental, and a significant risk to the future of mankind. The second, which by reducing human emission of Carbon Dioxide and similar radiation absorbing gases to levels of about twenty years ago, it can be slowed or even stopped. Based on scientific advice received from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and similar bodies, these conclusions have been accepted by the governments of most countries, which are signatories to International Treaties, such as the KYOTO Accord, that are designed to force implementation of tangible and intangible economic measures aimed at combating it.

However, as these counter measures are costly and require significant structural adjustment to economies (and the manufacturing sectors of developed countries, in particular); they have generated significant political opposition, which in turn has led to questioning of the assumptions underpinning the basic conclusions. Hence, governments have found it difficult in practice to meet their treaty obligations; and /or to agree to further measures, particularly in the context of depressed national economies.

On the other hand, the Climate Change issue is high in the public consciousness, highlighted as it has been by popular media, and sometimes sensationalized by the press. As the measures proposed to combat it co-relate well with the political outlook of left leaning Social Activists, there has been vocal and insistent demand for support for them, which has gained significant political traction. This has possibly influenced the decisions of governments, particularly in Europe, more than the simple sober review of the evidence would otherwise dictate.

IFAI’s view is that the politicization of the issue has stifled rational debate, and has compromised the impartiality of the scientific advice being provided, particularly by the IPCC. While there is no doubt that human emissions have contributed to global warming, there is considerable uncertainty and conjecture as to what effect this has had, or will have on the world’s climate. Further, economic modeling has not been able to demonstrate a positive benefit cost ratio of the measures designed to combat Climate Change, because of the nebulous nature of the benefits and the timing of their potential realization.

Therefore, a contrary position that challenges the conclusions underpinning the call for climate change action cannot be dismissed as simply illegitimate.

IFAI’s members, like the community at large, are divided in their opinion, which makes difficult the formulation of a policy in this respect. Nonetheless, most engage in manufacturing or fabric conversion of some kind, and their operations are directly and significantly affected by increases in prices of electricity and other forms of energy.

Therefore, IFAI will not give its unequivocal support to measures designed to combat climate change, such as containing or reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions, unless they are pragmatic and directly achieve that outcome.

IFAI supports:

  • The construction of nuclear power stations as an alternative to coal or gas fired alternatives, unless the local geology and geomorphology make this impractical.
  • Investment in renewable energy generation provided the nature of it is reliable and it is cost effective.

IFAI opposes:

  • Intangible measures such as ‘Cap and Trade’ schemes, or a ‘Carbon Tax.’