Companies Break Ranks; Support Kyoto Cause

As the latest round of international climate-change negotiations continues this week in Buenos Aires, more companies are breaking ranks with the general opposition of U.S. industry to last December's Kyoto Protocol. Two U.S.-based firms, General Motors Corp. and Monsanto Co. have joined British Petroleum Co. PLC (BP) in a "collaboration" with the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental group, to work for reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. "Climate change is a cause for concern, and precautionary action is justified now," the groups declared in a press conference last week, echoing the stand taken by BP earlier this year. The groups urged an action agenda that calls on companies to measure and openly report their greenhouse-gas emissions, seize near-term opportunities and develop new technology to cut such emissions, include global-climate considerations in new investment decisions, educate employees and other stakeholders on climate-change issues, and contribute constructively to both national and international climate-change policy formation. As the next phase of their collaboration, the partners say they will develop a joint protocol for companies to measure and report their greenhouse-gas emissions from their global operations. They also will exchange best practices in the areas of energy efficiency, carbon offsets, and emissions trading.

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