Global Climate Coalition defiant as Texaco departs

The Global Climate Coalition has reacted with defiance to the decision by US oil giant Texaco not to renew its membership of the anti-Kyoto Protocol group.

In a statement, the Global Climate Coalition’s (GCC) Executive Director, Glenn Kelly focused on the fact that Texaco has restated its opposition to the Kyoto treaty’s measures to reduce global warming. Kelly said that this hardly constitutes a victory for environmentalists and other supporters of the Protocol.

Texaco is the first major US oil company to leave the GCC. Both Ford and DaimlerChrysler (see related story) quit the group recently, but said this did not mean they support the Protocol’s attempts to introduce legally-binding restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions.

“Texaco should be applauded for reaffirming its opposition to the Kyoto Protocol,” Kelly wrote in his statement. “Although we’ve been disappointed that three members have chosen not to renew membership in the GCC this year, not one of them has struck a position that differs from the GCC.

“On top of that, all have committed to remaining actively involved in the effort to block short-sighted, unworkable proposals like Kyoto. That’s not much of a victory for any pressure group to take to the bank.”

Texaco said it had left the organisation because it believes it can “speak for itself or through broader-based organisations” on the subject of climate change.

In a letter to Kelly, the oil company’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, J. R. Metzger, had said Texaco would continue to emphasise the use of emissions trading and improvements in energy efficiency in order to control carbon dioxide emissions.

Although Kelly welcomed this, he chose to emphasise the benefits such an approach has for the US economy, calling it an “affirmation of our long-standing support for alternative approaches to climate policies that …won’t hurt American workers, families, or the most vulnerable among us.”

Kelly denied the political nature of the global warming debate, saying that effective action depends upon “the latest scientific findings and getting closer to the truth about global warming” rather than “becoming mired in an artificial debate that nobody can win.”

Texaco’s statement points out that the company now recognises “that the debate over climate change goes well beyond the matter of the US economy” and adds that “the protracted debate about the adequacy of the science is something Texaco wishes to move beyond.”

Environmentalists reacted with glee to the news of continuing turmoil at the GCC. “This is great news,” a Greenpeace spokesperson told edie. “At the same time, it’s way overdue. Why would anyone still want to be a member when the debate has moved on. The GCC has been driven to accept the idea of voluntary action, but is that enough? 130 governments around the world don’t think so, so we still need to force big companies to move beyond the emphasis on voluntary action.”

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