Splitsville for Climate Group, Corporate Bedfellows

More

BP, ConocoPhillips, and Caterpillar have dropped out of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, the coalition of big business and environmental interests that launched three years ago with a dramatic letter to President Bush. USCAP was a marriage of convenience between groups like the Nature Conservancy that wanted a climate bill, and companies like Shell and DuPont that wanted to make their voices heard rather than deny the inevitable.

But now that the climate bill is looking extremely evitable, the strange bedfellows of USCAP are heading back toward separate bedrooms.


Only a few months ago, USCAP was pushing for a federal cap-and-trade program, emissions reduction targets, and new technology incentives. But since Senate Dems have slammed cap-and-trade and Congress has ground to a halt on health care, those companies are starting to think they may not have to worry about prepping for cap-and-trade. And if a bill isn't a sure prospect for the next few years, then why were they lobbying for one?

All three companies had conflicting interests that pulled them away from the coalition. BP and Conoco were members of the American Petroleum Institute, which fought climate legislation even as the two companies' CEOs signed USCAP statements calling for cap-and-trade. And Caterpillar slipped clean coal provisions into USCAP's blueprint while a member of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which lobbied against legislation.

The beauty of USCAP was its inherent compromises, but if a climate bill is no longer a nascent reality, then companies like BP and Conoco have an obligation to shareholders to pursue their own best interests. It's a shame Congress wasn't able to act while it had them scared.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In