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Top firms back off from US climate change push


WASHINGTON, D.C.: Three major US companies said Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) they were leaving a coalition pushing for action on climate change, dealing a potential fresh blow to landmark legislation to cut carbon emissions.
The news came on the same day that President Barack Obama announced an eight-billion-dollar drive for nuclear power—part of his controversial bid to bring a diverse coalition behind his efforts for a greener economy.
The three companies—oil groups ConocoPhillips and BP America and equipment maker Caterpillar Inc.—said they backed efforts for a green economy but felt that proposed laws were unfair to them.
The firms said they would not renew membership in the US Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of business leaders whom Obama’s Democratic Party often cites to bulwark its case on climate change.
ConocoPhillips and BP America, a unit of British giant BP, said the bill under consideration did not attach enough importance to natural gas—which they promote as a way to curb carbon emissions blamed for global warming.
The bills “have disadvantaged the transportation sector and its consumers, left domestic refineries unfairly penalized versus international competition, and ignored the critical role that natural gas can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Jim Mulva, ConocoPhilips chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
In its own brief statement, USCAP said its membership periodically changed and that it expected more companies to join.
Companies that remain in USCAP include oil giant Shell, conglomerates General Electric and Honeywell, and Detroit’s Big Three automakers— Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.
The House of Representatives in June narrowly approved the first-ever US plan to force cuts in carbon emissions—a major priority for the Obama administration.
But the Senate has yet to follow suit and the political climate is uncertain, with the Democrats last month losing a seat to a critic of the legislation.

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