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Big Corporations Urge Quick Carbon Cap-and-Trade Law


NBC
November 19, 2008


Five large U.S. corporations and a coalition of investors and environmental groups today announced that they
have formed a new organization to lobby for strong U.S. climate and energy
legislation in early 2009 to spur a clean energy economy and reduce global warming.

The founding members of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy, to be
known as BICEP, are Levi Strauss & Co., Nike, Starbucks, Sun Microsystems and
The Timberland Company.

BICEP members believe that climate change impacts will ripple across all sectors
of the economy and that new business perspectives are needed to solve the
climate and energy challenges facing America.

"These companies have a clear message for next year's Congress - move quickly on
climate change to kick-start a transition to a prosperous clean energy economy
fueled by green jobs," said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, the coalition of
investors and public interest groups that helped to organize BICEP.

The BICEP companies said today that greenhouse gas reduction targets should be
set to at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990
levels by 2050. Of all the target figures demanded by various groups, these are
some of the strictest.

To accomplish these goals, they would like to see the incoming administration of
President-elect Barack Obama and the new Democrat-controlled Congress establish
an economy-wide greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system that auctions 100 percent of
carbon pollution allowances, promotes energy efficiency and accelerates clean
energy technologies.

BICEP's plan includes a redoubling of energy efficiency efforts, fuel-efficient
vehicles, plug-in electric hybrids, low-carbon fuels, and transit-oriented development.

They would stimulate job growth through investment in climate-based solutions,
especially green-collar jobs in low-income and climate-vulnerable communities.
They would have the government adopt a national renewable portfolio standard
requiring 20 percent of electricity to be generated from renewable energy
sources by 2020, and 30 percent by 2030.

And they would limit construction of new coal-fired power plants to those that
capture and store carbon emissions. They would create incentives for carbon
capture technology on new and existing plants, and phase out existing coal-based
power plants that do not capture and store carbon by 2030.

The new coalition's goal is to work directly with key allies in the business
community and members of Congress to pass meaningful energy and climate change legislation.

They will likely find allies among the member companies and environmental groups
in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, USCAP, a coalition of 26 corporations
and six nonprofit environmental and conservation organizations established in
January 2007 to encourage goverment to establish a cap-and-trade program for
carbon emissions.

USCAP held a press conference in Washington Tuesday to make the economic case
for cap-and-trade legislation that they would like to see written soon after the
Obama administration picks up the reins of power.

The non-partisan group said that cap-and-trade legislation is urgently needed to
prevent the serious impacts of climate change and will create new economic opportunities.

"While the magnitude of needed reductions are not free of costs, legislation is
necessary to spur innovation in green technologies that will create jobs,
increase economic activity and provide the foundation for a vibrant, low-carbon
economy," USCAP said in a statement.

"The economic opportunity embedded within the shift away from fossil fuels is
historic," said David Crane, NRG Energy's chief executive. "For example, think
of the enormous fortunes made by those who were on the right side of the shift
from the horse to the internal combustion engine. The right climate solution, a
moderate price on carbon, can help create real economic opportunities."

"Investment in new technologies and the infrastructure needed for a low-carbon
economy are effective ways to generate the jobs and economic growth the U.S.
needs to address the current economic crisis," said James Rogers, CEO of Duke
Energy. "We must position the U.S. to succeed in the new low-carbon, global
economy and this is the best way to accomplish that."

USCAP includes the following corporations and environmental NGOs: Alcoa, AIG,
Boston Scientific, BP America, Caterpillar, ConocoPhillips, Chrysler, John
Deere, Dow, Duke Energy, DuPont, Environmental Defense Fund, Exelon, Ford, FPL
Group, General Electric, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Marsh, National
Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, NRG Energy, The Nature
Conservancy, PepsiCo, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, PG&E, PNM Resources,
Rio Tinto, Shell, Siemens, World Resources Institute, and Xerox.

At the press conference, Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp cited a
recent University of Maryland study showing that unchecked climate change will
strain public budgets and cut growth across all sectors of the economy.
By contrast, a cap-and-trade program designed to cut carbon emissions could
provide an economic stimulus, he said.

"A cap can instantly create new customers and new jobs for U.S. manufacturers in
the supply chain for clean energy. Think of wind turbines and all of the cement
and steel that go into them," said Krupp. "It's the energy and economic
revitalization policy America needs now."

 

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