Press Release: New Study Demonstrates Consequences of Delay and the Need for a Congressional Response

For Immediate Release:
October 1, 1998

Contact: Kelly Sullivan or Shannon Hunt
             (202) 289-5900

Pew Center on Global Climate Change and Major Corporations Highlight Urgency of Early Action : New Study Demonstrates Consequences of Delay and the Need for a Congressional Response

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Pew Center on Global Climate Change, with its Business Environmental Leadership Council, today released a new study on climate change and the need for Congressional legislation to ensure credit for companies acting in response to the problem of climate change.

"The cost of delay is significant - both in terms of the economic and environmental consequences," said Eileen Claussen, executive director of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. "The problem is getting worse and the longer we wait, the more difficult and expensive our response will be."

The report, "Early Action and Global Climate Change," addresses the issues that policymakers will face in designing a domestic early action program, analyzes current proposals, and suggests a set of principles to guide an effective program.

"From this study, we can conclude that, regardless of any eventual international framework, the U.S. can take steps to credit reductions in gases now, and therefore encourage and reward companies that act to minimize their emissions," said Claussen. Robert R. Nordhaus and Stephen C. Fotis prepared the report for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

Beginning October 3rd, print advertising will run in targeted national publications, highlighting three key conclusions the Pew Center found from the report:

  • The cost of delay is significant. Steps taken now represent an investment that will pay environmental and economic dividends into the future. Conversely, continued inaction will result in greater environmental impacts and increased costs down the line.
  • U.S. leadership is imperative. Since the U.S. has both the highest greenhouse gas emissions and per capita income, implementing a voluntary early action program demonstrates to the world our commitment to address the problem of climate change.
  • Leadership must start with Congress. Congress must provide the legislative framework to encourage early action.

The advertising also includes a list of the companies which comprise the Pew Center on Global Climate Change's Business Environmental Leadership Council. With the addition of Weyerhaeuser, which was announced today, the Business Environmental Leadership Council totals eighteen companies, including:

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.; American Electric Power Company; Baxter International Inc.; Boeing; BP America; Enron Corp.; Holnam Inc.; Intercontinental Energy Corporation; International Paper; Lockheed Martin; Maytag Corporation; The Sun Company; 3M; Toyota; United Technologies; U.S. Generating Company; Weyerhaeuser and Whirlpool.

Several of the company representatives joined Claussen at the news conference in Washington, D.C. to release and review the study.

"Many U.S. companies - including the members of the Business Environmental Leadership Council - have indicated support for early action programs in keeping with their desire to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gases and their need for assurance that such actions will be rewarded and not punished," said Claussen.

In providing an objective assessment of the current proposals on early action, the report identified eight key principles necessary for a workable, effective early action policy. The report found that an early action policy should:

  1. Provide a predictable credit mechanism and a clear legal framework for the program;
  2. Keep the program simple and flexible;
  3. Reward real reductions, not gaming;
  4. Provide some form of recognition of past voluntary greenhouse gas reductions;
  5. Not over-mortgage the U.S. greenhouse gas allocation;
  6. Not predetermine the eventual domestic regulatory program;
  7. Not make the early action crediting program contingent on ratification of the Kyoto Protocol; and
  8. Focus principally on domestic early action.

"From this report and extensive consultation with our member companies, it is clear that we should no longer put off until tomorrow what we should begin today," said Claussen. "Climate change is serious business and early action is smart business."

Click here to read a copy of the report, "Early Action and Global Climate Change."