US firms concerned that climate talks may abolish flexible mechanisms on climate change

Several US firms have voiced considerable concern that flexible mechanisms they already have in place to cut greenhouse gas emissions may be placed in danger by the EU’s tough stance on climate change control.

Various large companies expressed worry at the Sixth Session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Convention Conference of the Parties (COP6) that the EU’s calls for restrictive action on emissions trading and carbon ‘sinks’ (see story under ‘Europe’ section and related story) may be implemented and would affect their own projects. Giants, such as chip maker Intel Corp. and chemical company Dupont, already have their own programmes to cut greenhouse gas emissions (see related story).

“The fear we have is that instead of fleshing out the details, a process is underway to neuter the flexible mechanisms,” Stephen Harper, Manager of Environmental Health and Safety Policy at Intel Corp, said. “If you don’t have the flexibility, you remove a lot of the incentives for companies to do the right thing.” Harper added that the company had already promised to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 10% over the next 10 years under conditions of very rapid economic growth.

Dupont has already cut emissions of greenhouse gases by more than 50% since 1991 and has set in-house goals to extend the cuts during the coming decade, Thomas Jacob, Manager for International and Industry Affairs, said.

The spokesperson for American Electric Power said the company had established projects in Bolivia and Brazil to help reduce emissions there. Boeing also expressed fears about how flexible mechanisms would fare at the end of the talks.

The companies were awaiting a delayed final outcome to the talks on 25 November. See next week’s edie news for an update.

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