International business briefs: US air targets, Fuel guide, Wind commercial, Montana drilling ban, Chad’s oil growth, Clean air settlement

This week, six partners in the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) voluntary Climate Leaders programme announced their greenhouse gas reduction targets. With today's announcements, 27 of the 58 Climate Leaders Partners have set emissions reduction goals, which the EPA estimates will prevent a total of 7.5 million metric tonnes of carbon equivalent per year. These reductions are equal to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by five million cars in a year.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the EPA have released the 2005 Fuel Economy Guide to help consumers make well-informed choices when purchasing a new vehicle. Topping out at an estimated 61 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city, hybrids again lead the list of fuel-efficient vehicles for the new model year. Debuting at 12th in overall mileage is the Ford Escape hybrid two-wheel drive sport-utility vehicle (SUV), which at 36 mpg in the city leads the SUV class. The Ford Escape joins the Honda Insight, Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius in the hybrid market.

A television advertising campaign showing the benefits of clean wind energy delivered by the Australian Wind Energy Association (AusWEA) has now hit the airwaves all around Australia. The commercial aims to raise awareness amongst rural and regional communities about the serious threat facing Australia from global warming, and the importance of wind power as part of a clean energy future. It also shows what a wind farm in action really looks like. Mr Ian Lloyd-Besson, President of AusWEA, said: “We’re calling on both sides of politics to support clean energy solutions like wind farming. We need to flick the switch towards clean, renewable sources of energy.”

The US government has put the brakes on energy development in a scenic area of northwest Montana that is rich in wildlife, responding to hunting, environmental and ranching interests that opposed development, according to a government official. The decision had allegedly been made to halt an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for three wells that a Canadian energy company wanted to drill. Stopping the EIS would mean that developments would not be able to go forward in the foreseeable future in that area.

Chad, Africa’s newest oil producer, pumped over 38 million barrels of crude by the end of June, earning it an estimated US$70 million, a board monitoring the oil income has stated. The country started producing oil last year and has been touted as a test case to show that petro-dollars can benefit the poor. “Up to June 30, Chad recorded net production of 38,888,829 barrels of oil, 33,122,572 of them sold,” said Michel Barka of the Oil Revenues Control and Monitoring Board, which comprises government officials and Chadian labour and human rights groups. He said the preliminary figures showed the amount sold generated revenues of just over US$70.75 million.

The Department of Justice and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week announced a comprehensive Clean Air Act settlement with CITGO. The settlement is expected to reduce harmful air emissions by more than 30,000 tonnes per year from six petroleum refineries in five states that represent nearly 5% of total refining capacity in the US.

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