US company commits $50 million to fund climate change initiatives

The Atlanta-based energy company, Mirant, has announced that it will fund at least $50 million in initiatives to help find solutions to global climate change and has released its first annual environmental report.

The investment, which will be made over 10 years, is one of several key projects outlined in Mirant’s first annual environmental report, which contains a comprehensive climate change action plan outlining the company’s commitment to fund climate change initiatives including greenhouse gas mitigation projects to help offset its CO2 emissions, such as source reductions, energy efficiency improvements and carbon sequestration projects. The company will also fund research to further understanding of the causes, impacts and pace of climate change as well as research to develop less carbon-intensive generation technologies and CO2 capture technologies, it says.

Mirant will utilise the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (see related story) to develop an inventory of its emissions. The protocol will enable Mirant to track its CO2 emissions and the progress of its mitigation measures, with the company planning to develop a CO2 emissions rate reduction goal by the end of the year. The company says that the vast majority of its new power generation currently under advanced development will use state-of-the-art natural gas-fired technology, which it says “is the most efficient fossil fuel technology and has the lowest CO2 emission rate in comparison to other fossil fuels”.

Mirant’s environmental report features several initiatives that the company has developed including a corporate environmental policy, an environmental management system, establishment of environmental performance indicators to set improvement targets and measure performance, a decision to link compensation of employees to environmental performance, and a commitment to develop air emissions reduction goals.

The company also recently announced an investment of $3 million in Cheng Power Systems of Mountain View, California, to develop and commercialise products that decrease Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions and increase fuel use in power generation plants.

“This [$50 million] funding is a further investment in the development of a progressive environmental programme that can benefit the global community in which we operate,” said Marce Fuller, the company’s president. “Mirant is striving to continue improving its environmental performance. For us, this includes taking action now to mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions.”

“We are delighted the GHG Protocol will help Mirant lay the foundation for their climate protection strategy,” commented Elizabeth Cook, Director of World Resources Institute’s Environment and Business Programme. “Undertaking a greenhouse gas inventory is the place to start, yet emissions reductions and investments in clean energy technologies is where we hope this information would lead an energy company. It’s great to see Mirant make a commitment down this path.”

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