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Canadian CEOs Call for Kyoto Support and Post-Kyoto Planning

17 November 2005

(CP) A group of 18 CEOs from diverse Canadian companies or subsidiaries, including Alcan, BC Hydro, Shell Canada, E.I. Dupont Canada, Bombardier and Power Corp, have sent a joint letter to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin supporting the Kyoto protocol and urging that Canada’s climate-change plan extend beyond the 2008-2012 time frame of that instrument.

The company heads say a strong response is required to the strengthening evidence in the scientific assessments of the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“As corporate leaders representing a broad cross-section of the Canadian economy, we believe that all governments, corporations, consumers and citizens have responsibilities under the Kyoto Protocol,” says the letter.

“We accept the IPCC consensus that climate change raises the risk of severe consequences for human health and security and the environment. We note that Canada is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”

“The world must act urgently to stabilize the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and minimize the global impacts of climate change.”

“We need a strategy now for the next 50 years, with short and medium-term targets to guide us. Governments must set clear markers along the way to unleash competitive market forces and allow the discovery of a long-term value for carbon emission reductions. Only then will we secure the deep reductions needed to prevent human interference with the climate system.”

The letter, obtained by Canadian Press, marks a sharp change from the criticism and skepticism that have characterized business comment on the Kyoto treaty from the time that former prime minister Jean Chretien first announced Canadian ratification in 1997.

November 17, 2005 in Climate Change | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Amazing to note the power of $$$. This complete about face took only 8 days after the fed. gov. announced that it would distribute 5 to 10 billion dollars to firms who would cooporate and help the country meet the Kyoto treaty.

It seems that Shell, other OIL producers and major polluters will be paid to clean up the pollution they have created. This is a real win-win situation for polluters.

Meanwhile, clean Hydro and Wind power promoters will not qualify for Federal subsidies because they don't create any or enough pollution. Simply unbelievable.

Wow. Thanks for that insight Harvey. Perhaps this isn't as good as an initial take looks.

It is still true, however, that carbon emitters need a sense of certaintly if they are going to take the necessary steps to cut their carbon emissions. This is what Ford is trying to get as it hybridizes its auto fleet. If prices of gas will fluctuate or if there is uncertainty regarding whether we're going to get serious about climate change, it is very risky for Ford and others to make the necessary investments.

Just providing incentives without ensuring a market is a recipe for failure, which is the course the United States is taking. People will not invest in technology if they don't think that investment will pay off. This includes consumers as well as prouducers.

Tom is right. I'm no defender of oil or automotive companies, but expecting them to go out on a limb with environmental investment that will raise their product costs when we as consumers only show interest in bottom dollar price is naive. Question: how many of us would put more insulation in our homes right now if it was offered for free? Or, how many would elect to use only wind-generated electricity if it was offered at the exact same price? Anyone who answers either of these in the affirmative is currently exhibiting the same behavior as these companies, i.e., if it's a good idea why aren't we doing it already?

We're seeing the negative impacts of our bottom dwelling behavior throughout the economy, another current example being transfer of jobs and manufacturing capacity to low-cost imports, coupled with reduced (or eliminated) health and pension benefits for the jobs that remain.

We can't simply fault these companies for behavior that most of us directly encourage with our dollars. Until we show our concern for the environment or whatever else we care about through our own purchasing decisions, we're all living in glass houses.

Tom -- Well said!! We all said we wanted electric vehicles and auto companies designed and sold them and only a handful of us bought them -- the auto companies lost millions (or maybe billions?? -- idonknow). I'm not tooting the horn for auto companies either but unless there is long term sustainability for what auto companies build then why build it?? (the phrase build it and they will buy it does not apply here). Example -- Toyota will probably never recover their total investment for the first generation of hybirds but then ya gotta start somewhere -- it was smart for Ford, GM and Chrysler to sit it out and wait til the second or third generation of hybrids to come of age and then jump in as I'm sure they will -- it'll just take a little more time. And of course if we can get the Gov't to tax gas guzzlers and promote the efficient then that will help too.

Part of the answer here is that one needs to implement long term and guaranteed carbon or at least gas taxes to ensure that carbon related prices will be high into the foreseeable future.

Gas prices have already gone down considerably since Katrina. Katrina got a lot of people's attention, even the Bush administration. But now I fear we go back to business and consumption as usual, sinking into complacency.

A lot of us got hit by the proverbial 2 by 4, but now the memory of that experience is beginning to wear off.

Some members of congress are trying to mitigate this mess by carrots and more carrots. We needs sticks, too, but no one has the cajones to step up and apply them.

Tom, I like your last post. Companies that have taken their customers for granted (and for a ride) for many years deserve a wake up call. GM and Ford, like tobacco companies, could see the writing on the walls years ago and did not make the necessary changes. Why shouldn't they have to pay for their mistakes like ANRON and others had to do? Why should we be so complacent with those guys who created the energy crisis? Others will take their place after their fall. Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and others could easily replace GM, Ford and Crysler. It will probably happen anyway, specially when Toyota and other Asian manufacturers come out with more efficient third generation Hybrids and PHEVs.

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