Ma­jor US com­pa­nies of­fer green­house pol­icy

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Resources -

FORD, Gen­eral Elec­tric and other US com­pa­nies have agreed to vol­un­tar­ily re­duce gases that con­trib­ute to global warm­ing as politi­cians met this week to dis­cuss a suc­ces­sor to the 15-year-old Ky­oto global cli­mate treaty.

Mem­bers of the US Cli­mate Ac­tion Part­ner­ship, or USCAP, will cut their green­house gas emis­sions by 90 per cent of 1990 lev­els by 2050. USCAP had pre­vi­ously called on the US Congress to pass leg­is­la­tion man­dat­ing a 60 to 80 per cent cut in pol­lu­tants blamed for global warm­ing.

‘‘ We are strongly en­cour­ag­ing Congress to take ac­tion on cli­mate change, but we are com­mit­ted to tak­ing th­ese ac­tions re­gard­less,’’ Brian Jones, a spokesman for the group, says. ‘‘ Cer­tainly we hope that this will be­come a trend within the busi­ness com­mu­nity.’’

Politi­cians from around the globe be­gan a two-week meet­ing in Bali, In­done­sia, aimed at es­tab­lish­ing an emis­sions-lim­it­ing treaty to re­place the Ky­oto Pro­to­col, whose pro­vi­sions ex­pire in 2012. The treaty, which the US re­jected, re­quires in­dus­tri­alised na­tions to cut emis­sions 5 per cent be­low 1990 lev­els.

Congress is de­bat­ing at least five bills that would place manda­tory lim­its on green­house gases. The US can meet tar­gets called for in the leg­is­la­tion at man­age­able eco­nomic costs, ac­cord­ing to a re­port last week from con­sul­tants McKin­sey & Com­pany.

USCAP aims to act as a cat­a­lyst for a shift in pol­icy on en­ergy and cli­mate is­sues world­wide.

US Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Bush, cit­ing eco­nomic rea­sons, in March 2001 re­jected the pro­vi­sions of the Ky­oto agree­ment, a treaty un­der which de­vel­oped na­tions agreed to cut their emis­sions of car­bon diox­ide and other gases to be­low 1990 lev­els by 2012.

The US and China are the big­gest emit­ters of such gases. China isn’t re­quired to cut emis­sions un­der Ky­oto.

USCAP has 33 mem­bers, in­clud­ing S&P 500 In­dex-listed com­pa­nies, and has said the cli­mate change ‘‘ chal­lenge’’ of­fers more op­por­tu­ni­ties than risks for the US econ­omy, such as the cre­ation of 5 mil­lion jobs in the re­new­able en­ergy in­dus­try.

The group also aims to cut gas emis­sions by 45 per cent by 2020 as a mid-term tar­get.

Bali: Green­peace lob­by­ists get ready

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