Saturday, July 21, 2007

Action needed on climate change: business group

ABC News, via 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.

…"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.

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