Companies press Bush, Congress on climate: reports

Friday, January 19, 2007; 2:11 AM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Major corporations are joining environmental groups to press President Bush and Congress to address climate change more rapidly, news reports said on Friday.

The coalition, including Alcoa Inc., General Electric Co., DuPont Co., and Duke Energy Corp. plans to publicize its recommendations on Monday, a day ahead of the president's annual State of the Union address, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The group also includes Caterpillar, PG&E, the FPL Group, PNM Resources, BP and Lehman Brothers, The New York Times reported.

The group, known as the United States Climate Action Partnership, will call for a firm nationwide limit on carbon dioxide emissions that would lead to reductions of 10 to 30 percent over the next 15 years, the NYT reported.

The Journal said the coalition will discourage the construction of conventional coal-burning power plants and a cap on greenhouse-gas emissions.

The coalition's diversity could send a signal that businesses want to get ahead of the increasing political momentum for federal emissions controls, in part to protect their long-term interests, the Times said.

Officials from the companies were not immediately available for comment.

Bush in his speech next week is likely to support a massive increase in U.S. ethanol usage and tweak climate change policy, sources familiar with the White House plans said on Tuesday.

The White House on Tuesday confirmed that the speech will outline a policy on global warming, but said Bush has not dropped his opposition to mandatory limits on the heat-trapping greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol is the only global pact obliging signatories to cut carbon dioxide emissions, but the United States is not a member, nor are China and India. The protocol expires in 2012.

News of the coalition comes as different governments and groups devote more attention to global environmental policy.

Global warming has moved to the heart of European foreign policy, the EU executive's top diplomat said on Thursday.

On Monday, a summit of Asian leaders promised to encourage more efficient energy use to help stave off global warming.

An EU-United States summit in April is expected to focus on energy security and a Group of Eight summit in early June will highlight energy and climate.

Most scientists agree that temperatures will rise by 2 and 6 degrees Celsius this century, mainly because of increasing carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels for power and transport.

© 2007 Reuters