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Businesses Press President Bush, Congress on Climate Change

BY Admin  January 22, 2007 at 4:30 PM EST

USCAP members

“Climate stabilization requires immediate action and sustained effort over several decades,” the group, which identifies itself as the United States Climate Action Partnership, wrote in a report released Monday.

Signatories include Alcoa Inc., BP America Inc., General Electric, PG&E Corp. and DuPont Co. The report called for, among others, recognizing the global dimensions of climate change, utilizing technology, creating economic opportunity and acting in a timely fashion.

“The time has come for constructive action that draws strength equally from business, government and nongovernmental stakeholders,” Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, said in a press release.

“These recommendations should catalyze legislative action that encourages innovation and fosters economic growth while enhancing energy security and balance of trade, ensuring U.S. leadership on an issue of significance to our country and the world.”

The day before President Bush’s State of the Union address, USCAP asked for legislation that would reduce carbon emissions by 10 percent within 10 years, up to 30 percent within 15 years, and up to 80 percent by 2050.

USCAP called for cap-and-trade restrictions specifically, an idea opposed by industry groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Cap-and-trade proposals limit greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. However, companies that can’t meet the mandatory caps can purchase emission credits from other companies whose emissions come under the limits or a government auction.

President Bush is expected to address the issue of climate change in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address by urging a dramatic increase in U.S. ethanol usage. He will most likely stop short of calling for mandatory emissions caps; in the past he has argued for voluntary measures.

The newly Democrat-controlled Congress has introduced several pieces of legislation on climate change, all of which have some variation of cap-and-trade measures.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced her intentions Thursday to create a special committee to address global warming.

In an effort to encourage the development and use of alternative fuels, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order Thursday to reduce carbon emissions from transportation fuels.

The European Commission suggested in January that the European Union commit to cutting greenhouse-gas output by at least 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

The Kyoto Protocol is the only international pact committing signatories to cut carbon dioxide emissions. The United States is not a member; neither are China and India. The protocol expires in 2012.