Technology & Science

Industry group announces climate change plan

Global warming should be tackled without slowing economic growth, more than 100 corporate leaders, international organizations and experts agreed in a formal statement after a Tuesday meeting of the Global Roundtable on Climate Change.

Global warming should be tackled without slowing economic growth, more than 100 corporate leaders, international organizations and expertsagreed ina formal statement after a Tuesday meeting of the Global Roundtable on Climate Change.

"This is an issue that requires action now but will not be solved immediately,"said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, which created the roundtable to shape public and industry policy on climate change.

The industry group's initiative, called The Path to Climate Sustainability, is the first major statement from the group since it formed in 2004. It lays out a plan for dealing with climate change "without affecting energy and economic growth," according to the official statement.

Included in the plan is a call for governments to "set scientifically informed targets including an ambitious but achievable interim, mid-century target for global CO2 concentrations."

Sachs also called on every nation in the world to commit to these goals, including the United States, China, and India, three large greenhouse gas emitters that are not part of the Kyoto protocol.

The group hopes the initiative will be implemented by 2012, the year the first set of Kyoto's emission reduction targets are to be met.

The group conceded the burning of fossil fuels has produced CO2 and that fighting climate change depends on "adopting new and sustainable energy strategies" including using non-fossil-fuel energy sources, raising the efficiency of fossil-fuel power and finding ways to trap and store CO2.

Tomas Ericson, president of Volvo Group, North America, said the environment has become one of the priorities of the vehicle manufacturer, along with safety and quality.

"We feel we are part of the problem, and we feel we need to be part of the solution," Ericson said at the meeting.

The group's members include representatives from companies such as General Electric, Air France and Wal-Mart and Canadian organizations such as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Electricity Association and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

It also includes environmental policy groups such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group whose influential report on climate change earlier this month called global warming "unequivocal" and said human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels was "very likely" the cause.