18 July 2007

Global Climate Change: Business Leaders Call for Action

According to an article by Scott Malone at Reuters, "a major U.S. industry body said on Tuesday that human activity is changing the Earth's climate and urged Washington to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions nationwide.

"But the Business Roundtable, representing 160 of the largest U.S. companies with $4.5 trillion in combined revenue, stopped short of advocating a specific policy to accomplish that, saying its members did not yet agree on methods.

"'The thinking of U.S. CEOs on climate change is evolving significantly,' said Charles Holliday, chairman and chief executive of U.S. chemicals group DuPont, and a Roundtable member. 'A growing number of CEOs view it as a major issue for their companies.'

"In recent years, corporate America has dropped arguments that there is no proof human activity causes warmer patterns across the world, putting some business executives at odds with the Bush administration which rejected the Kyoto Protocol, the main U.N. plan until 2012 for curbing greenhouse gases.

"Many scientists say rising emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels, are linked to rising world temperatures. Many fear the warming trend could lead to more droughts, floods, heat waves and more powerful storms.

"'Some of our members like the idea of a cap-and-trade,' said John Castellani, president of the Washington-based organization, referring to programs in which companies could buy and sell the right to emit carbon dioxide.

"'Some members like a tax approach, we don't know which works best. So at this point we're calling for flexibility,' Castellani said in a telephone interview.

"The Roundtable's members include some of the biggest names in U.S. business, such as General Electric Co., Exxon Mobil Corp. and General Motors Corp.

"Environmental group the Sierra Club dismissed the Roundtable's statement as an attempt to appear environmentally sensitive while actually seeking to ensure any new regulations accommodate its members.

"'Businesses understand that any regulation that is going to pass this Congress and get signed by this president is going to be something very weak,' said Sierra spokesman Josh Dorner. 'It's no coincidence that a lot of huge emitters are tripping over themselves to call for some action on climate change.'"

Read More: Business Roundtable Climate Action

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