The Public-Private Partnership for Carbon Efficiency
Implementing ICEMAN is not a difficult undertaking. However, the scope is very large, and it will require the expertise and experience found not just in the public sector, but in the private sector as well. For example, a private company will have greater success working across political party lines and international political boundaries and agendas. Therefore, a private company will be able to more efficiently implement such a large undertaking.
In order to implement ICEMAN quickly, efficiently, and with an integrity that will be accepted worldwide, we need the expertise—and cooperation—of the science community, the United States government and possibly governments in other countries as well, and private businesses. How do we bring this diverse coalition together?
Through a public-private partnership.
A public-private partnership can be incredibly powerful—and we have a perfect, recent illustration: the COVID-19 vaccine. Usually, it takes years to develop a vaccine, test it, and get it approved by the FDA. By contrast, Operation Warp Speed was announced on May 15, 2020, and the FDA approved the Moderna vaccine for emergency use on December 18, 2020—a mere six months after the operation was announced. It approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine just over a month later, on February 28, 2021.
This was possible because the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, and several other federal agencies partnered with eight companies in the private sector, granting them between $38 million and $2.1 billion each to develop a vaccine. With the power of this partnership, two private companies—Moderna and Johnson & Johnson—were able to develop and bring two effective and safe vaccines to market faster than has ever been done before.
A public-private partnership between ICEMAN and the EPA would look something like this:
The EPA would mandate emissions reporting from all businesses. The EPA already mandates reporting from large businesses, so this would simply be an expansion of the already existing mandate to include small businesses as well.
Implementing ICEMAN doesn’t include any regulation beyond requiring a company to report their greenhouse gas emissions. For ICEMAN to function, there does not need to be any mandate regarding the amount of emissions a company or product produces. The government does not need to mandate that companies or products maintain a certain Carbon Factor Index value. The government doesn’t even need to mandate that companies obtain a CFI certification for any product. ICEMAN is completely voluntary.
Individual municipalities, towns, or states can mandate a certain CFI rating for particular industries or products if they wish to do so. This is how the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) developed by the Residential Energy Services Network works. It is not a nationally government-mandated rating system. However, New York State wrote into the state building code that buildings must achieve under a certain HERS Index level. Some New York localities, like my town, have an even lower HERS Index requirement in their building codes.
Once the manufacturer reports its greenhouse gas emissions to the EPA, the EPA would house all of that information in a database and allow ICEMAN access to that database. Using that data, ICEMAN would be able to calculate the Carbon Factor Index value. The Carbon Factor Index would then be held in a searchable public database. From there, the market forces of competitive advantage will do the rest of the work—no government mandate is needed.
Obviously, this arrangement would enable ICEMAN to function efficiently. However, it would also have advantages for the EPA. Once the EPA begins collecting data from all businesses, not just large companies, this information will be incredibly helpful to the government. With it, the government could better track how the country is doing in terms of attaining any emissions-related goals the country has committed to as part of international climate change agreements. Moreover, this information can be used to make policy, educate people, and help individuals and businesses reduce their carbon footprints.
But the public-private partnership needed to implement ICEMAN, which may also involve other government organizations like the Department of Energy, goes beyond just the reporting of emissions data and granting database access. Establishing the baseline on which the Index is built and then setting up the Index itself will require substantial work. In order to accomplish this work, we need both personnel and funding.
That personnel and funding can come through a public-private partnership. The government can allocate funds to the EPA to implement ICEMAN. The DOE can provide expertise, oversight, and grant funding to help establish the baseline. A public-private partnership would allow the EPA and DOE to allocate the funding and personnel to complete the Index with the highest standards of integrity.
The funding from a public-private partnership would allow us to bring on academics and scientists from top institutions, experts from government and non-governmental organizations, and even the United Nations. With this funding, we can invite distinguished scientists and experts onto a Board of Science and Research, which will include the brightest minds committed to adopting the best sciences into the establishment and implementation of ICEMAN. We may also assemble an advisory board that includes corporate leaders, creating a think tank to organize the whole structure.
As ICEMAN expands, the public-private partnership can expand as well. For example, any type of consumer labeling system usually requires government verification, oversight, or regulation once it reaches a certain level of use in the marketplace. Once ICEMAN reaches that level, the government could require manufacturers to include the Carbon Factor Index for a customer’s information—similar to the existing requirements for organic food labels or labels that list ingredients or safety information.
Amazing things can be accomplished, with great efficiency and great success, through a public-private partnership working toward a common good. Although it may not seem like it on the surface, the climate crisis is as dire and immediate as the COVID-19 pandemic. With the power of a public-private partnership, ICEMAN can help alleviate that crisis.
By generating consumer demand for deeply carbon neutral products, I believe we can preserve the planet for future generations. Download your free chapter of Decarbonize the World today to learn more!