Defections Shake Up Climate Coalition

bpBy Stephen Power And Ben Casselman

Three big companies quit an influential lobbying group that had focused on shaping climate-change legislation, in the latest sign that support for an ambitious bill is melting away.

Oil giants BP PLC and ConocoPhillips and heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. said Tuesday they won’t renew their membership in the three-year-old U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a broad business-environmental coalition that had been instrumental in building support in Washington for capping emissions of greenhouse gases.

The move comes as debate over climate change intensifies and concerns mount about the cost of capping greenhouse-gas emissions.

On a range of issues, from climate change to health care, skepticism is growing in Washington that Congress will pass any major legislation in a contentious election year in which Republicans are expected to gain seats. For companies, the shifting winds have reduced pressure to find common ground, leading them to pursue their own, sometimes conflicting interests.

Last week, the head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Billy Tauzin, said he would step down as president of the industry’s main lobby in Washington, amid criticism from some in the industry over the alliance he made last year with the White House to support health-care legislation.

The administration had worked hard to persuade industry groups to climb aboard its major legislative initiatives—a tack many business interests saw as sensible following the Democrats’ big gains in the 2008 elections. But “unlikely bedfellows make for breakups,” said Kevin Book, managing director of Clearview Energy Partners, a consulting firm.

Spokesmen for ConocoPhillips and BP said the companies still support legislation to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, but believe they can accomplish more working outside USCAP’s umbrella. Caterpillar said it plans to focus on commercializing green technologies.

ConocoPhillips’s senior vice president for government affairs, Red Cavaney, said the USCAP was focused on getting a climate-change bill passed, whereas Conoco is increasingly concerned with what the details of such a bill would be.

“USCAP was starting to do more and more on trying to get a bill out without trying to work as much on the substance of it,” Mr. Cavaney said.

A spokesman for USCAP said it intends to continue its work. More than 20 other large companies, including oil company Royal Dutch Shell PLC and industrial heavyweights General Electric Co. and Honeywell International Inc., remain in the coalition with environmental groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council. The USCAP said it expects to add new members in coming months.

“We think there’s momentum to get [a climate bill] done,” USCAP spokesman Tad Segal said. “President [Barack] Obama’s State of the Union address made it clear the administration is behind us.”

Read the rest of this article at Wall Street Journal.

  • As in any good example of good capitalism it will be the Giants and the economical laws who will help the smaller to gain back some benefits of the common sense. We, the people, can achieve these goals too, but never so fast. I hope their push could bring some good change

  • Rob N. Hood

    I’m shocked, just shocked that Big Oil would bail as soon as it was politically correct to do so, shocked I say !!! Speaking of oil here’s an oily character for ya’ll:

    Conventional political wisdom says that conservatives benefit politically from making national security a vital issue. Implied is the notion that though everyone suffers from terrorism, conservatives can gain from it, at least on the political stage. While that would be an abominable approach to encourage, the growing stake of Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal in News Corporation, the parent company of FOX News, suggests FOX benefits more directly from a man with a questionable background, raising the ire even of fellow conservatives.

    Al-Waleed has long held some portion of the News Corp. stock, but as he has risen to the fourth-highest shareholder in the company, criticism for his involvement with the company has grown. Joseph Trento reports that while Al-Waleed regularly defends his home nation as pristine, interviewers tend to ignore the large donations to the families of suicide bombers he reportedly makes. Generally, organizations or governments pay the families of suicide bombers as a kind of reward for the actions of their deceased relatives. As such, Al-Waleed’s donations would, in effect, count as supporting terrorism, a particularly onerous recognition for the “fair and balanced” news source. Somehow, Glenn Beck managed to miss connecting those dots on his chalkboard.

    The prince and FOX have had scuffles in the past. After 9/11, FOX personalities excoriated the prince for offering a check for millions of dollars to help rebuild New York because the prince had suggested U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East may have had something to do with the attacks. Subsequently, FOX wrote off the check as “blood money.” Strangely, though, FOX later accepted Al-Waleed’s cash for a piece of the company and allowed the prince the right to manipulate FOX stories, a power he boasts of having over the network.

  • paul wenum

    Again, What in the H… has this got to do with this site? Robbie Boy suggest that you get outside more often. Must be aweful dark in there.

  • Have no one single dollar to pass a week-end in a camping enjoying the nature. He just talk, probably walk, and surely eat. What else do you expect from him? He is a Obama supporter and he’s supported by Obama social assistance.

  • Paul Wenum

    I think ACORN is a likely employer. Oh that’s right, they disconnected their phones and filed under a different name. Man, I chase entities like this every day. Never changes, get caught and start again under another LLC or Corp.. Robbie Boy must be a crowd pleaser.

  • Rob N. Hood

    You guys make up crap as you go. That doesn’t make you very credible, about anything. I am not an Obama supporter currently as I’ve pointed out in detail many times. And sorry but ACORN is not the evil empire. Child-like discourse this.

  • Rob N. Hood

    Does anyone know why legislation mired in controversy wasn’t subject to full debate in the Senate recently? Why were the Senate Republicans allowed to bully Democrats into submission? Maybe Democrats don’t want to look weak on national security right before a major midterm election. But, in the end, are they more interested in facades than facts?

    Here are some facts. According to the Associated Press, those parts of the Patriot Act that have received a reprieve for another year: “Authorize court-approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones, Allow court-apponted seizure of records and property in anti-terrorism operations, and permit surveillance against a so-called ‘lone wolf,’ a non-U.S. citizen engaged in terrorism who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group.”

    Boiled down to the lowest common denominator, all three provisions amount to neutering the Fourth Amendment, as well as eradicating the legal presumption of innocence.

    But, facts aren’t always convenient. Just ask Mr. Cheney. After all, it is he trying to convince us that the U.S. is no safer today, under President Obama, than it was before 9/11, despite the Patriot Act, so why then should the law that was conceived, and launched on Cheney’s watch continue to see the light of day?

  • paul wenum

    Man, you are a Rahm plant to say the least. You must be from Chicago??? Next thing I know I’ll have a dead fish on my doorstep. Get real. By the way, I know how to gut/clean a fish.

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