U.S. Greenhouse Gas Cap Wins New Corporate Supporters
The group of large corporations calling on the federal government to immediately enact mandatory national legislation to cap and trade greenhouse gas emissions doubled its membership. Major greenhouse gas emitters such as automotive, oil and chemical companies are among the new members of the U.S. Climate Change Partnership.
Twelve new companies joined the original members of the partnership, known as USCAP, bringing the number of corporate partners to 22.
These companies are pledging to support national legislation to reduce America’s emission of greenhouse gases by 60 to 80 percent by 2050. To date, the Bush administration has declined to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, CO2. The new members include American International Group, Alcan, Boston Scientific, ConocoPhillips, Deere & Company, The Dow Chemical Company, General Motors Corp., Johnson & Johnson, Marsh, PepsiCo, Shell, and Siemens.
They join the original group of corporations that formed USCAP in January – Alcoa, BP America, Caterpillar, Duke Energy, DuPont, Florida Power & Light, General Electric, Lehman Brothers, Pacific Gas & Electric, and PNM Resources.
In calling for effective climate policy, the companies join the four original USCAP nonprofit partners – Environmental Defense, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the World Resources Institute – along with two new groups, The Nature Conservancy and National Wildlife Federation.
“GM is very pleased to join USCAP to proactively address the concerns posed by climate change and applauds its members for recognizing the important role that technology can play in achieving an economy-wide solution,” said Rick Wagoner, chairman and CEO of General Motors. “A central element as we see it is energy diversity – being able to offer consumers vehicles that can be powered by many different energy sources and advanced propulsion systems to help displace petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Wagoner said.
With its new members, USCAP companies now have total revenues of $1.7 trillion, a collective workforce of more than two million people and operations in all 50 states.
They also have a combined market capitalization of more than $1.9 trillion. Market capitalization, or market cap, is derived from a company’s current stock price per share times the total number of shares outstanding.
The nongovernmental organizations have more than two million members worldwide, and represent America’s environmental interests and its conservation traditions.
“Climate change will be the biggest threat by far to our mission of protecting nature and to the many investments in lands and waters we have made over the past 60 years,” said Steve McCormick, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “One of The Nature Conservancy’s goals,” he explained, “is to ensure that the important role intact forests and other ecosystems play in mitigating climate change is recognized as a vital part of any policy framework developed to address this critical challenge.”
Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, called USCAP “the latest demonstration that global warming is a top priority in mainstream America.”
“Leaders of business in America are responsible to shareholders, employees and customers across every shade of American political opinion,” said Schweiger. “They cannot afford to made decisions on the future of their enterprises through any partisan ideological lens.”
USCAP partners support six recommendations for national action:
- Account for the global dimensions of climate change – U.S. leadership is essential for establishing an equitable and effective international policy framework for robust action on climate
- Recognize the importance of technology – The cost-effective deployment of existing energy efficient technologies should be a priority
- Be environmentally effective – mandatory requirements and incentives must be stringent enough to achieve necessary emissions reductions
- Create economic opportunity and advantage – a climate protection program must use the power of the market to establish clear targets and timeframes
- Be fair – Solutions must account for the disproportionate impact of both global warming and emissions reductions on some economic sectors, geographic regions and income groups
- Encourage early action – Prior to the effective date of mandatory pollution limits, every reasonable effort should be made to reduce emissions
The group recommends that Congress provide leadership and establish short-term and mid-term emission reduction targets for the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, including large stationary sources and transportation, and energy use in commercial and residential buildings.
USCAP’s “Call to Action” recommends that Congress establish mandatory emission targets to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas levels by 10 to 30 percent below today’s levels within 15 years, and by 60 to 80 percent by 2050.
A national program to accelerate technology research, development and deployment is also recommended along with approaches to encourage action by other countries, including those in the developing world, as the group recognizes that “ultimately the solution must be global.”
These principles and recommendations are the result of a shared goal of slowing, stopping and reversing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions over the shortest period of time reasonably achievable, the enlarged group said in a joint statement today.
Top executives from USCAP companies have driven this effort, and new members were chosen carefully to preserve a high-level consensus approach, they said. Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer displayed that consensus today, writing in the introduction to the company’s newly released Sustainability Report 2006, “I have said repeatedly that, for us, the debate about CO2’s impact on the climate is over. I am pleased at how our people are responding to my call to find ways to mitigate CO2 impacts from fossil fuels. Our focus is on what we can do to reduce CO2 emissions. We are determined to find better, lower-cost ways to capture and store CO2.”
The other oil company on USCAP’s expanded membership roster is ConocoPhilips. “We recognize that human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, is contributing to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that can lead to adverse changes in global climate,” said chairman and CEO Jim Mulva. “While we believe no one entity can alone address the environmental, economic and technological issues inherent in any solution, ConocoPhillips will show leadership in finding pragmatic and sustainable solutions.”
Mulva says ConocoPhilips is building the potential long-term cost of carbon into its capital spending plans for each of its major projects around the world and improving energy efficiency in its facilities, including a 10 percent improvement in energy efficiency at its U.S. refineries by 2012. In addition, the company is developing internal targets for greenhouse gas emissions from its operations.
As Congress starts to examine the issue of climate change, the group’s expansion can be viewed as a catalyst for action.
“With this lineup of companies and environmental groups endorsing it, a carbon cap is clearly the consensus solution to climate change,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, who was active in the formation of USCAP.
“With cap and trade, we’ve found the center,” Krupp said, “environmental groups and businesses can embrace because it guarantees results for the climate while freeing companies to hunt for innovative, least-cost ways to lower emissions.”
Source: Environment News Service (ENS).