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U.S. Climate Action Partnership

Big business teams and environmental groups team up to issue a joint call for federal government action on global warming.

In January 2007, after many months of quiet, high-level talks, leading U.S. corporations and top environmental groups issued an astounding call to action. The coalition, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), asked the government to enact legislation to curb global warming pollution, and it put forth a detailed set of policy principles aimed at addressing the issue. The move represented a tipping point for the business community, which for the first time came out in public support of deep, long-term emission cuts of 60 percent to 80 percent by 2050.

Membership in USCAP quickly grew, and corporate partners now include Alcoa, BP America, Caterpillar, Duke Energy, DuPont, FPL Group, General Electric, General Motors, Lehman Brothers, PG&E and PNM Resources, among others. The companies involved in the effort have a combined worth of more than $2 trillion.

The group sees action to stop global warming as sound business. "Each year we delay action to control emissions," says USCAP's Call to Action report, "increases the risk of unavoidable consequences that could necessitate even steeper reductions in the future, at potentially greater economic cost and social disruption. Action sooner rather than later preserves valuable response options, narrows the uncertainties associated with changes to the climate, and should lower the costs of mitigation and adaptation."

Among the group's recommendations is a call for an "economy-wide, market-driven approach" to solving global warming that includes a cap-and-trade emissions program. The approach would place specific limits on greenhouse gas emissions and create "market incentives that stimulate investment and innovation in the technologies that will be necessary to achieve our environmental goal."

"The time has come for constructive action that draws strength equally from business, government, and nongovernmental stakeholders," Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, said in releasing USCAP's policy proposals. "These recommendations should catalyze legislative action that encourages innovation and fosters economic growth while enhancing energy security and balance of trade, ensuring U.S. leadership on an issue of significance to our country and the world."

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