Business Groups Support Voluntary GHG Reductions

Published May 1, 2003

Several leading business organizations have shown their support for President George W. Bush’s Voluntary Action Initiative on global warming by voluntarily agreeing to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The commitments were announced at a February 12 event attended by Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman, and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.

American Petroleum Institute

The American Petroleum Institute pledged a 10 percent improvement in the efficiency of its member oil refineries by 2012 and introduced a new system for measuring and aggregating emissions across the oil and natural gas industry. It also declared support for a broad range of research efforts on climate change issues.

“The President has the right idea on climate change,” said Red Cavaney, the CEO and president of API. “We are committed to using our new technologies to help him meet his goals for reducing greenhouse gas intensity.”

Cavaney said making oil refineries more efficient would curb the industry’s production of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide.

In addition, Cavaney said, the industry has already spent two years developing a consistent method for measuring and aggregating its GHG emissions in all its operations. Once the system is fully refined, API will issue annual reports on the GHG intensity of its members’ operations, allowing a clear and accurate benchmark for measuring progress in addressing climate change, he said.

Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers pledged to support the development of new technologies and the deployment of cost-effective energy strategies in all sectors to improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions.

“We agree with the President that it is critical to continue to sustain economic growth. Only through sustained economic growth will both the public and private sectors be capable of financing investment in new, clean energy technologies,” stated an AAM press release. “We accept the President’s challenge to reduce GHG intensity and improve the energy efficiency of our manufacturing facilities, and we will participate in DOE’s Business Challenge program.”

The AAM supports a single national voluntary reporting registry under the Department of Energy (DOE). Building on the reporting some members are already engaged in, the group pledged within one year all Alliance members will be reporting GHG emissions from their manufacturing facilities.

AAM member companies have committed to achieve at least a 10 percent reduction in GHG emissions from their U.S. automotive manufacturing facilities, based on U.S. vehicle production, by 2012 from a base year of 2002. Progress toward that goal can be measured by DOE, the group said, based on 1605(b) registry reporting by individual Alliance members of their emissions and avoidance, reduction, and sequestration activities.

AAM announced its members will continue to support government/industry partnerships that further the development of practical and affordable energy efficiency solutions.

“The constant evolution of technology and its introduction into the market will help us continue to produce ever cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles,” said the AAM news release. “Industry’s aggressive investment in pursuit of fuel cell vehicles, hydrogen vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, clean diesels, and other advanced design vehicles exemplifies the commitment to move away from dependence on petroleum-based fuels.”

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 10 car and light truck manufacturers: BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Together, the firms account for more than 90 percent of U.S. vehicle sales. They employ more than 620,000 workers at 250 facilities in 35 states.

Others Also on Board

Representatives from lumber and paper companies pledged at the February 12 event to reduce the carbon intensity of their operations by 12 percent. Key elements of the pledge included commitments to increase recycling rates and plant more trees to absorb carbon.

Electricity producers pledged to cut the carbon impact of their power plants by 3 to 5 percent, while the mining industry said it would reduce GHG emissions through a 10 percent improvement in the efficiency of operations.

Secretary Abraham praised the groups, observing their pledges demonstrate the private sector’s willingness to “bring forward their best efforts, best ideas, technologies, and industrial processes to reduce, avoid, and sequester greenhouse gas emissions.”

Whitman concurred, praising the voluntary initiatives as “a very real, very measurable, very important effort to meet the President’s goal.”

James M. Taylor is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.