Friday, December 12, 2008

BP, HP, Shell sign Poznan communique

Houston Chronicle | BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Hewlett-Packard and 137 other companies from around the world urged delegates at United Nations climate talks in Poland to commit to deep and rapid cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions.

The recession shouldn’t be used as an excuse to delay investments needed to slash emissions and help fight global warming, the companies said in an e-mailed statement today. The proposal, backed by companies from China and Brazil to the U.S. and Britain, was dubbed the Poznan communiqué after the Polish city where the UN talks are being held through Dec. 12.

“The global economic downturn may cause some to question whether now is the time to act,” the companies said. “We believe that decisive action will stimulate global economic activity.”

Delegates from about 190 nations are in Poznan, halfway through two years of talks to devise a new treaty to fight global warming to be approved next December in Copenhagen.

“Delaying action would increase the costs of meeting any temperature or greenhouse-gas concentration goal and raises the risk of irreversible impacts” on the environment, the companies’ statement said. Other signatories to the communiqué include Shanghai Electric Group, Deutsche Telekom, Nikeand National Australia Bank Ltd.

The main obstacle in international talks is to overcome differences between the U.S. and China, the two biggest emitters. The U.S. says it won’t accept targets unless big developing nations do likewise. China says the industrialized world must act first.

“Developed countries need to take on immediate and deep economy-wide emission-reduction commitments which are much higher than the global average reduction target,” the communiqué said. “Rapidly emerging economies should continue to develop strong action at the sector level, building towards the adoption of appropriate and economy-wide commitments by 2020.”

The communiqué was drafted by the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, a group of companies brought together by Prince Charles, the heir to the U.K. throne, and managed by the University of Cambridge in England.