Whitman Launches Climate Leaders Program

In a ceremony earlier this week, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman launched Climate Leaders, a new voluntary partnership that challenges businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

In a ceremony earlier this week, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman launched Climate Leaders, a new voluntary partnership that challenges businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The administration hopes the program will help achieve greenhouse gas intensity reductions set forth in its new climate policy. (See related article, "Bush: Economic Growth Key to Curbing Global Warming.")

"When President Bush committed the United States to reducing - voluntarily - our greenhouse gas intensity by 18 percent over the next decade, he knew that it would take a heavy reliance on partnerships to achieve our goal," said Whitman. "The new Climate Leaders program is exactly what he had in mind - and I am pleased to be able to announce this voluntary partnership between government and industry today."

Whitman also recognized those companies joining as charter members in the Climate Leaders program. Charter members have committed to complete a corporate-wide greenhouse gas inventory and work with EPA to set an emissions reduction target. "The companies that participate in this program … are proving that doing what is good for the environment, is also good for business. They are providing an example to everyone that we all must do our share to address the effects of climate change - and we must start now, as they have," said Whitman.

The Climate Leaders Charter Partners are FPL Group Inc., (Juno Beach, Fla.), General Motors Corp. (Detroit), Holcim (US) Inc. (Dundee, Mich.), Interface Inc. (Atlanta), Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, Md.), Miller Brewing Co. (Milwaukee), Norm Thompson Outfitters (Portland, Oregon), S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. (Racine, Wisc.), Cinergy Corp. (Cincinnati), Bethlehem Steel Corp. (Bethlehem, Pa.), and PSEG (Newark, N.J.)

"Working with EPA through Climate Leaders is a way for GM to demonstrate our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and is an excellent example of a collaborative public-private partnership," said Elizabeth A. Lowery, GM vice president, Environment and Energy.

Under the partnership, GM and the other Climate Leaders agreed to submit company-wide inventories of GHG emissions annually, and enter into discussions with the EPA to develop corporate-wide reduction goals to be achieved over five years.

In return, EPA will provide the partners with the technical assistance necessary to complete an inventory of emissions associated with energy purchases at facilities participating in the program and provide partners with a GHG protocol to inventory their GHG emissions.

Some of the partners have already addressed the issue of reducing greenhouse emissions.

Energy company PSEG''s Chairman and CEO E. James Ferland said that PSEG was the first company in the nation to sign up for the 1993 Climate Change Challenge under which it set and achieved a goal of stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000. The company also worked with the World Resources Institute and its World Business Council on Sustainable Development to establish a system of uniform accounting protocols on which to base greenhouse gas inventories and measure the effectiveness of emissions reduction programs and methods.

"Last week, the president called for industry to step forward with ways to make positive contributions on a difficult public policy question," said Ferland. "We look forward to … working with the Bush administration and EPA Administrator Whitman on developing tools and techniques for effective action on climate change."

Lew Hay, chairman and CEO of the FPL Group power company, noted that his company is an industry leader in using clean fuels such as natural gas, nuclear, wind, hydro and solar to generate electricity. Over the past decade, FPL voluntarily made significant reductions in plant emissions, said Hay, adding the company is among the lowest emitters of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide in the industry. "Partnering with EPA in Climate Leaders is an important next step for FPL Group to take along our journey to assess and reduce emissions at our power plants in Florida and throughout the country," he added.

by Sandy Smith (ssmith@penton.com)

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