Industry executives call on Bush to accept mandatory action against climate change
By Associated Press
Monday, January 22, 2007 - Updated: 03:07 PM EST
The chief executives of 10 major corporations, on the eve of the State
of the Union address, urged President Bush on Monday to support
mandatory reductions in climate-changing pollution and establish
“We can and must take prompt action to establish a coordinated,
economy-wide market-driven approach to climate protection,” the
executives from a broad range of industries said in a letter to the
Bush, who in the past has rejected mandatory controls on carbon dioxide
and other “greenhouse” gases, was expected to address climate change in
his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, but has repeatedly argued
that voluntary efforts are the best approach.
Major industry groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and National
Association of Manufacturers continue to oppose so-called “cap and
trade” proposals to cut climate changing pollution, mainly carbon
dioxide from burning fossil fuels.
But the 10 executives, representing major utilities, aluminum and
chemical companies and financial institutions, said mandatory
reductions are needed and that “the cornerstone of this approach”
should be a cap-and-trade system.
Members of the group, called the U.S. Climate Action Partnership,
include chief executives of Alcoa Inc., BP America Inc., DuPont Co.,
Caterpillar Inc., General Electric Co., and Duke Energy Corp.
At a news conference, the executives said that mandatory reductions of
heat-trapping emissions can be imposed without economic harm and would
lead to economic opportunities if done economy-wide and with provisions
to mitigate costs.
Many of the companies already have voluntarily moved to curb greenhouse
pollution, they said. But the executives also said they do not believe
voluntary efforts will suffice.
“It must be mandatory, so there is no doubt about our actions,” said
Jim Rogers, chairman of Duke Energy. “The science of global warming is
clear. We know enough to act now. We must act now.”
Fred Krupp, president of Environmenal Defense, a member of the
alliance, called the executives’ support “a game changer” in the debate
over climate. “We are asking Congress to not wait for a new
administration and not wait for the presidential debates.”
In the letter the executives urged Congress “to significantly reduce
greenhouse gas emissions.” The legislation should cut these releases 10
percent below today’s levels within a decade and at least 60 percent by
2050, according to the action plan.
At his daily news briefing, White House press secretary Tony Snow
dismissed any call for mandatory carbon caps to deal with climate.
“There’s been some talk about, sort of, binding of economy-wide carbon
caps in the speech, but they are not part of the president’s proposal,”
The first days of the new Democratically controlled Congress have seen
a rush of legislation introduced to address climate change, all of
which have some variation of a cap-and-trade approach to dealing with
Among those pushing cap-and-trade climate bills are two leading
presidential aspirants, Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill. and John McCain,
Essentially such a mechanisms would have mandatory limits of greenhouse
gas emissions, but would allow companies to trade emission credits to
reduce the cost. Companies that can’t meet the cap could purchase
credits from those that exceed them or in some case from a government
Also signing the letter to Bush were the executives of Lehman Brothers,
PG&E Corp., PNM Resources, FPL Group and four leading environmental