19 January 2007

Climate Change: Industry Wants Action of Emissions Control

The New York Times and other publications reporte today that 10 "major companies with operations across the economy — utilities, manufacturing, petroleum, chemicals and financial services — have banded together with leading environmental groups to call for a firm nationwide limit on carbon dioxide emissions that would lead to reductions of 10 to 30 percent over the next 15 years."

Introduction of this group, which includes industry giants like General Electric, DuPont and Alcoa, is aimed at adding to the recent impetus for Congressional action on emissions controls and the creation of a market in which allowances to emit carbon dioxide could be traded in a way that achieves the greatest reduction at the lowest cost.

The diversity of the coalition — some members had already come out for other forms of emissions control, like a carbon tax or voluntary controls, but others had been silent on climate-change issues until now — could send a strong signal that businesses want to get ahead of the increasing political momentum for federal emissions controls, in part to ensure that their long-term interests are protected.

Many energy producers and manufacturers have expressed concern that various state efforts, if not coordinated, could lead to a scattershot system of regulation. Others worry that harsher measures, like a stiff tax on fossil fuels, the biggest contributor to global-warming gases, could be imposed if they do not reach a consensus on a legislative approach.

The group’s formal announcement is scheduled for Monday, the day before President Bush is to deliver his State of the Union address and offer the administration’s newest basket of proposals to promote energy security and combat global warming.

Aside from General Electric and Alcoa, Caterpillar is the leading manufacturing company among the group, which also includes four utilities — Duke Energy, based in North Carolina; PG&E of California; the FPL Group of Florida; and PNM
of New Mexico. The group counts the multinational oil company BP and Lehman Brothers as members as well.

Read the complete story: Times

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