oil giants climate change

Two of the world’s largest oil companies are posed to quit a prominent climate change lobby group in Washington.

In what is being viewed as the latest blow to global efforts to reach a consensus on climate change this year. BP and ConocoPhillips announced earlier this week that legislation in the US would hurt their oil refining and natural gas business, and they would not renew their membership in the US Climate Action Partnership.

Support from the two oil companies had bolstered the chances that Congress could reach a consensus on reducing US emissions, a prerequisite to any global climate treaty.

Proposed laws “have disadvantaged the transportation sector and it’s consumers, left domestic refineries unfairly penalised versus international competition, and ignored the critical role that natural gas can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jim Mulva, Conoco’s chairman.

The move by BP and Conoco, along with the heavy equipment maker Caterpillar, comes at a tough moment for the global climate movement after inconclusive talks in Copenhagen in December.

Supporters of legislation to reduce emissions in the US are struggling for political support and new gaps in science behind global warming have spurred popular doubts across the world for swift expensive action to cut the use of fossil fuels.

A series of embarrassing errors in climate science exposed recently have added to the sense of stagnating momentum. Media reports have shown that the 2007 report by the inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), considered the gold standard in climate science, included a number of factual inaccuracies and cited sources that were not robust enough for a scientific publication. Among other errors, the IPCC cited the World Wildlife Fund, an environmental group, in asserting that up to 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest could be affected by slight changes in rainfall.

Related:   Election 2010: What Does the Republican Win Mean for the Environment?
A writer and photographer, Spowart has publication credits in Canada, United States, Europe and Norway with such publications as The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Sun Media, Canwest News, and Canada News Wire.

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