On Feb. 16 Caterpillar, ConocoPhillips, BP America announced they were leaving the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), due to proposed laws they deemed unfair.
The companies said the bill under consideration did not attach enough importance to natural gas -- which they promote as a way to curb carbon emissions blamed for global warming. The bills "have disadvantaged the transportation sector and its consumers, left domestic refineries unfairly penalized versus international competition, and ignored the critical role that natural gas can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Jim Mulva, ConocoPhilips CEO.
"We believe greater attention and resources need to be dedicated to reversing these missed opportunities, and our actions today are part of that effort," he said.
Ronnie Chappell, a spokesman for BP America, said that demand for natural gas stood to stay flat or decline in the next 10 to 15 years due to concessions to the coal industry aimed at winning over lawmakers' support. "We think we can address our concerns around these problem areas better as BP than as a member of USCAP," Chappell said.
The House of Representatives in June narrowly approved the first-ever plan to force cuts in carbon emissions -- a leading priority for the Obama administration. But the Senate is yet to follow suit and the political climate is uncertain, with the Democrats last month losing a seat to a critic of the legislation.
In a statement, USCAP said its membership periodically changed and that it expected more companies to join.
Companies that remain in USCAP include oil giant Shell, conglomerates General Electric and Honeywell, and Detroit's Big Three automakers -- Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010