White House Ignoring Big Business Push For Mandatory Carbon Caps

For a while now, major corporations have been pushing for mandatory greenhouse gas emission caps from the US government.

Big business understands the inevitability of having to deal with the global warming issue and the sooner they can see a strong economic signal from government, the sooner they can get on with tackling the issue on a level playing field.

Today, big business has kicked that demand way up.

In a two-page ad in the Financial Times, 150 multinational corporations, including Coca-Cola, General Electric, Shell, Nestlé, Nike, DuPont, Johnson & Johnson, British Airways and Shanghai Electric, have issued a statement calling for a legally binding and mandatory cap on worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

The statement reads in part, that the scientific evidence for climate change is “now overwhelming” and that a legally binding agreement “will provide business with the certainty it needs to scale up global investment in low-carbon technologies.”

But the supposedly “business-friendly” Republican White House clings to what they like to call “aspirational targets” on greenhouse gas emission reductions.

“Apsirational” isn't even a real word, but is sure is good PR spin.

The White House head of the Council on Environmental Quality, James Connaughton said yesterday that the Bush administration, “is committed to reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, even though it opposes a mandatory, economy-wide carbon cap.”

So if the White House is committed to reducing GHG emissions, why then would they be worried about mandatory caps? Especially if business is asking for them.

Even oil giant, Shell, is demanding mandatory caps. James Smith, chairman of Shell UK, stated that mandatory and legally binding caps on greenhouse gas, “give business the confidence to make those long-term investments in lower-carbon technologies.”

Next week in Bali, while the rest of the world meets to discuss mandatory greenhouse gas emissions at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the US will find itself isolated as the lone holdout (except Canada) among nations.

Now it appears that their former close allies in big business won't even be there to back them up.


I’m sorry to say, but this article displays ignorance of big business’s motives. I’m very much a believer in global warming and the fight to reverse it; I stopped driving my car a year ago. However, the legislation the businesses want passed is not going to be the legislation that needs to be passed. Every company will be lobbying for exemptions, and their proposal will inevitably be cheap and “look good” (i.e., it will be powerless and ineffective). I don’t know the Bush administration’s motives or opinion, but the legislation the big businesses want is not the legislation the world needs.

This is the strongest statement by industry I have seen yet - I agree there will be lots of weaseling ahead and we just have to keep industries feet to the fire.

I don’t subscribe to the Times but found this. Is this it? Seems right. http://www.balicommunique.com/communique.html


I found this essay by Naomi Klein to have some interesting tid-bits. Looking at the numbers invested in military / security versus green tech is enlightening. A distinct pro-commitment outcome in Bali would likely reverse this trend somewhat … but the trend of military / security investment having grown so much faster than green tech will impede any such progress in Bali.

That’s a pretty grim prospect, guarding our crops etc from starving hoards & all that – the stuff of post-apocalyptic sci-fi.

You can’t actually grow much of a crop in a fortress. What do these people who think they can close themselves off expect to live on, cans of beans? Each other?

Typical of western thought that rather than figure out ways to deal with the problem the strategists opt to throw up a wall around themselves and declare “it’s OURS It’s a brutal misappropriation of the term survival of the fittest to mean , rather than the ones most “fit” to the circumstances. The hoarders will die out behind their walls while the rest of us co-operate and adapt.