Seven global giants vow to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20%

Some of the biggest corporations in the world, including BP and Shell, have teamed up with an NGO and promised to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 80 million metric tonnes.

Seven of the world’s major industrial players, whose joint carbon dioxide emissions place them among the top 15 industrialised countries, have announced a partnership with the US environmental organisation to trim at least 80 million metric tonnes off their annual CO2 emissions through emissions trading by 2010.

BP, Shell International, chemical giant DuPont, Canadian oil and gas company Suncor Energy Inc., Ontario Power Generation, the world’s second and third largest aluminium companies, Canadian Alcan and French Pechiney, and the NGO, Environmental Defense, announced their ‘Partnership for Climate Action’ on 17 October. Together, the annual 1990 emissions of the Partnership members are 360 million metric tons, and never before has such a large section of industry joined forces to institute such dramatic cuts in global pollution.

The primary purpose of the Partnership is to champion market-based mechanisms to achieve “early and credible action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions that is efficient and cost-effective”. Each of the companies has already set a firm target for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, agreed to publicly report its emissions and to employ independent, outside experts to monitor and verify its emissions reductions programs.

“The Partnership for Climate Action shows that companies can cut greenhouse gas pollution while continuing to provide products to customers and profits to shareholders. The goal is to share learning and highlight the value of solid, market-oriented rules, which will encourage even more companies to step forward and reduce pollution,” said Fred Krupp, Executive Director of Environmental Defense.

The Clinton administration, for one, favours market-based emissions trading as a way for the United States to enter into a workable Kyoto Protocol, but, awaiting finalisation of the agreement’s terms, has not yet submitted the treaty for Senate ratification.

“Market-based solutions are the most effective way of addressing environmental challenges, including bringing down the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This initiative to develop and share best practice is yet another step in the right direction,” said Aidan Murphy, Vice-President, Global Climate Change, Shell International.

“This Partnership will provide a forum for emissions trading and sharing of best practices to ensure that all of the members’ goals can be met in the most cost effective manner,” said Paul V. Tebo, DuPont Vice President, Safety, Health and Environment.

“Pechiney is particularly keen to develop a system of emission trading that will allow taking into account the benefits of reduced greenhouse gas emission created by the use of aluminium-based products, including the use of aluminium in lightweight automobiles,” said Philippe Varin, Senior Executive Vice President of the aluminium sector of Pechiney.

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