Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Business withdrawals upset Obama efforts

March 2010

Three big companies – BP, Caterpillar, and ConocoPhillips – appear to have withdrawn their support for President Barack Obama's climate change agenda by quitting the US Climate Action Partnership.

BP and Caterpillar were founding members of the organization, a business coalition that has been important in building support for capping company greenhouse gas emissions. ConocoPhillips was also an early joiner.

ConocoPhillips' chief executive Jim Mulva said legislation proposed by Obama 'has disadvantaged the transportation sector and its consumers, left domestic refineries unfairly penalized versus international competition, and ignored the critical role that natural gas can play in reducing emissions'.

BP said it can be 'more effective if we show up in the discussion as BP' rather than as part of a coalition, and that in pending legislation a 'disproportionate share of the cost burden falls on the transportation sector and consumers'. Both BP and ConocoPhillips criticised the proposals for providing too few carbon permits to oil refiners.

Caterpillar claims it wants to focus on carbon capture and storage projects, and that its commitment to sustainable development is unchanged.

The coalition now has only one oil company, Shell, among its 28 members. Shell says it has no plans to leave the partnership, which expects to add some new members soon.  

An emissions cap-and-trade bill was passed in the House of Representatives last summer, but its chances of making it through the Senate may be dented by the withdrawals.

US Climate Action Partnership | North America | Climate change


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