Bush Lets Down Big Business

A sizable fraction of the international business community launched an effort to press for mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions yesterday, on the eve of a major round of climate negotiations set to begin Monday in Bali.

In an unprecedented show of solidarity, leaders from 150 global companies endorsed the idea of a legally binding framework in a statement published in the Financial Times newspaper.

[source]

The idea is, of course, that these businesses recognize that this is gong to have to happen, but no one business can do it unilaterally. There are two reasons for that, which are closely linked. One, it is bad business, the other, that it is illegal.

It is bad business to do something that cuts your profit and increases your price (thus decreasing business) unless there is some longer term gain to be had (through investment, for instance). It is illegal if you are a publicly held corporation in the United States to cause your stockholders to lose money with intentional business decisions. Not really illegal in that it is a felony, but in the sense that the CEO who does this can be sued, fired, and lose pay.

The companies involved include some of the world’s largest, such as GE, Coke, and DuPont. In parallel, another group of major corporations have assembled a report suggesting how they might move towards major cuts in carbon emissions, suggeting that they are waiting for the appropriate regulatory signals from the US government.

The response from the White House is to state that there would be no such signals, no such mandatory caps, no such standards.

As noted by Kevin Grandia of Desmogblog.com:

Next week in Bali, while the rest of the world meets to discuss mandatory greenhouse gas emissions at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the US will find itself isolated as the lone holdout (except Canada) among nations.

And finally, From DeSmogBlog TV: Thank you Mr. President:

Watch it before it gets taken off YouTube!

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