Actions by policy makers in Washington have been important drivers of the market over the past year. Will the momentum behind the formulation of policy to address greenhouse gas emissions become an important factor shaping market performance? We doubt it – at least for 2009.

Earth Day, April 22, marks the 39th anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. In 1970, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency with a mission to protect the environment and public health and Congress amended the Clean Air Act to set national air quality, auto emission, and anti-pollution standards. The regulatory changes of the environmental movement had material impacts on businesses. Costs rose as businesses were forced to clean up wastewater, scrub their emissions, and adopt more sustainable operating procedures. Many companies embraced the changes and invested in community projects intended to restore natural environments, this helped shape corporate image. The movement also led to the development of new energy efficient products and technologies and gave birth to the alternative energy companies.

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