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S&P 100 companies keep rising

By Juliet Eilperin

There's a growing gap between the greenhouse gas emissions the nation's top 100 companies are producing and what President Obama has outlined as his climate goal for the next decade, according to a new report issued Wednesday by the Carbon Disclosure Project.

The Carbon Disclosure Project, a non-profit that collects corporate climate reports, determined that if emissions from S&P 100 companies between 2007 and 2009 continued at their current pace, they would translate into an absolute increase of 3.66 percent by 2020. Obama has pledged to reduce America's overall carbon output 17 percent by that time, compared to 2005 levels.

Put another way, the U.S. would need to reduce its overall emissions by 1.05 percent a year in order to make Obama's 2020 goal. Instead, the total emissions S&P companies reported to the independent group represented an increase of 0.36 percent, even in the midst of a global recession.

The Carbon Disclosure Project obtained information from 51 members of the S&P 100, whose collective greenhouse gas output was equal to 13 percent of U.S. emissions in 2008, the most recent year for which national emissions information is available. While some of these emissions took place overseas since these companies are global, they provide a useful proxy for the overall American economy.

"These trends identified by CDP show business must takes active measures to reduce emissions, especially as the economy improves we can expect to see more significant increase in emissions," said Paul Dickinson, the group's CEO.

According to the report three business sectors--utilities, industrials and materials--represent more than half of U.S. corporate emissions, and greenhouse emissions from both utilities and industrials are both on the rise. Utilities, which account for 37 percent of the S&P 100's reported emissions, has experienced an annual growth in emissions of 1.64 percent.

The report's lead author Joanna Lee said when it comes to utilities, "We're going to need to see significant changes in that sector in order to meet the emissions target. As consumers we all use electricity, and the way in which that electricity is generated will need to move to a more low-carbon model if we are to actually deliver on these targets."


Juliet Eilperin

 |  April 21, 2010; 7:00 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Posted by: itkonlyyou25 | April 23, 2010 10:57 AM
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How come we are not wise enough or brave enough to take the more difficult path? Would it serve US of A or any other nation to have economic growth at ANY COST? The economic crash has seen typical extermely irresponsible behavior from intellectaully professional executives and decision makers. However, the same irresponsible attitude continues to drive the debate for economic growth to avert taking the difficult decisions on carbon reduction, which is unwise as it focusses on short term G&P growth, comfort, and survival.

Posted by: VandanaSareen | April 21, 2010 11:00 AM
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There is an easy way to reduce the CO2 produced by the top 100 companies. All you need to do is pass cap and trade legislation or a carbon tax with enough bite so that they can no longer afford to produce goods and services in the US.

The companies will shrink as their businesses become non-competitive and the economies of places like China, India, and other developing countries will grow even faster. None of these countries are stupid enough to place their own workers and companies at a severe disadvantage.

Most of the people pushing these emissions targets either work for the Government and think their jobs are secure or they are rich enough that they don't need to work. The real danger here is that the current Administration will not be run out of office quickly enough to prevent a long term reduction in economic growth in the US of A.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | April 21, 2010 9:21 AM
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