Canadian CEOs Want Tougher Emissions Targets

From the Toronto Star via the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a surprising and exciting development:

A group of senior Canadian executives has urged the federal government to set additional emission reduction targets beyond the time lines of the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to tackle the problem of global warming.

Their statement represents the first time Canadian industry has publicly acknowledged some responsibility for reducing greenhouse gases, environmentalists said yesterday.

“It’s a very big step forward,” said Matthew Bramley, director of climate change at the Pembina Institute, a non-profit environmental organization.

John Bennett, the Sierra Club of Canada‘s policy adviser on energy, agreed. “This is a very positive move. It’s certainly about time that industry leaders took up a position in support of taking more action in making Canada a leader rather than being a laggard.”

The letter to Prime Minister Paul Martin was signed by 18 senior executives, including Travis Engen, chief executive officer of Alcan Inc, Laurent Beaudoin, the CEO of Bombardier Inc., and Derek Pannell, CEO of Falconbridge Ltd.

“We believe that all government, corporations, consumers and citizens have responsibilities under the Kyoto Protocol,” the letter stated. “We know significant steps are needed to stop the growth in greenhouse gas emissions.”

It encouraged the government to take several actions, but the one that got most people talking was setting long-term quantified objectives for 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050.

I’m not nearly so encouraged by the corporations acknowledging their role in climate change (that’s old news) as I am by their demand for long-term targets. That signals that the business world (at least north of the US border) recognizes that these issues will be a part of their planning process in the long term. While I’m not a huge supporter of an unregulated market, it’s good to see that the notion of “enlightened self-interest” can work…

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