An Open Letter to City Council re: Broadcom’s “Generous Donation” to Fort Collins

Posted on April 20, 2020

Dear Mayor Troxell and Councilmembers Gutowsky, Pignataro, Summers, Stephens, Cunniff, and Gorgol –

During your meeting on April 21st, you will be considering an ordinance to appropriate an “unanticipated charitable donation to the City from Broadcom Inc. to be used for COVID-19 relief.” The total amount of that donation is $100,000. This amount is described in the ordinance as “generous.”

The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) is glad that Broadcom decided to give $100,000 to the City. However, we hope that that sum will not influence City council when it considers whether or not to hold Broadcom fully accountable for its F-gas emissions the next time Council is able to meet in person. As you know, we have been insisting for some time that those emissions be included in the City’s main greenhouse gas inventory along with all the other greenhouse gases produced by all the other businesses, governmental entities, and residents of Fort Collins.

For a little perspective, the “social cost of carbon” of the F-gases and other greenhouse gases that Broadcom dumped into the atmosphere from its Fort Collins facility last year alone was $9.3 Million (1). That figure is 93 times the value of Broadcom’s “unanticipated charitable donation” this year. And if we consider all the greenhouse gases Broadcom has been dumping into the atmosphere over the past decade, the associated social cost of carbon is $78 Million (2) – 780 times the value of that unanticipated charitable donation. These figures are illustrated graphically in the attachment.

The social cost of carbon represents the monetary value of the damage to society resulting from climate change, including increased health care costs, reduced agricultural production, and property damage from the increased risk of fires and floods. So after making its donation of $100,000 to the City of Fort Collins, Broadcom is still enormously indebted to society – not the other way around. Please do not forget this, and do not let Broadcom’s so-called “generous donation” cloud your judgment when making future decisions concerning that corporation’s massive greenhouse gas emissions.

(1) From this EPA webpage (https://ghgdata.epa.gov/ghgp/service/facilityDetail/2018?id=1008734&ds=E...), Broadcom’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 were 172,335 metric tons of CO2(e). At a cost of $54 per metric ton (assuming a discount rate of 3% and an average inflation rate of 2% per year since 2007), the associated total social cost of carbon (https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/climatechange/social-cost-carbon_....) is $9.3 Million.

(2) From the same EPA webpage, Broadcom’s total greenhouse gas emissions for 2011 to 2018 were 1,425,116 metric tons of CO2(e), which increases to 1,445,065 metric tons if we back-extrapolate to 2009. At a cost of $54 per metric ton, the associated total social cost of carbon is $78 Million.

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Broadcom - Donation vs. Social Cost of Carbon Equivalent Emissions.pdf171.25 KB