Monday, February 25, 2008

GM's Lutz says Global Warming is a Total Crock...

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Corp Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has defended remarks he made dismissing global warming as a "total crock of s---," saying his views had no bearing on GM's commitment to build environmentally friendly vehicles.

Lutz, GM's outspoken product development chief, has been under fire from Internet bloggers since last month when he was quoted as making the remark to reporters in Texas.

In a posting on his GM blog on Thursday, Lutz said those "spewing virtual vitriol" at him for minimizing the threat of climate change were "missing the big picture."

"What they should be doing in earnest is forming opinions, not about me but about GM and what this company is doing that is ... hugely beneficial to the causes they so enthusiastically claim to support," he said in a posting titled, "Talk About a Crock."

GM, the largest U.S. automaker by sales and market share, has been trying to change its image after taking years of heat for relying too much on sales of large sport-utility vehicles like the Hummer and not moving faster on fuel-saving hybrid technology.

"My thoughts on what has or hasn't been the cause of climate change have nothing to do with the decisions I make to advance the cause of General Motors," he wrote.

Lutz said GM was continuing development of the battery-powered, plug-in Chevy Volt and other alternatives to traditional internal combustion engines.

GM is racing against Toyota Motor Corp to be first to market a plug-in hybrid car that can be recharged at a standard electric outlet.

Lutz has previously said GM made a mistake by allowing Toyota to seize "the mantle of green respectability and technology leadership" with its market-leading Prius hybrid.

A 40-year auto industry veteran who joined GM earlier in the decade with a mandate to shake up its vehicle line-up, Lutz is no stranger to controversy.

As part of a campaign against higher fuel economy standards, Lutz wrote in a 2006 blog posting that forcing automakers to sell smaller cars would be "like trying to address the obesity problem in this country by forcing clothing manufacturers to sell smaller, tighter sizes."

Automakers ended their opposition to higher fuel standards in 2007 when it became clear that proposed changes would become law with or without their support.

In December, President George W. Bush signed a law mandating a 40 percent increase in fleetwide fuel economy by 2020, the first substantial change in three decades.

(Reporting by Kevin Krolicki, editing by Toni Reinhold)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

#6 Bank of America - Climate Change Policy

At Bank of America, our environmental policies are shaped by our conviction that the health of our company is dependent on the health of communities and our society. Understanding that every part of our business has a potential impact on our environment, we commit to integrating environmental policy into our company's operations at every level.

Bank of America's goal is to be the leading financial services company in this country, and to be recognized as one of the world's great companies. We know that these goals come with a responsibility to serve as a leader on issues of great importance.

- Ken Lewis
Bank of America Chairman and CEO

Scientists have concluded that human activities, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels has an effect on earth's climate due to the resultant "greenhouse effect" from the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. If not checked, climate change and atmospheric pollution could alter the natural, social, and economic systems that support a growing global economy and sustain the quality of life for all of us on earth.

As a corporation, Bank of America has the responsibility to address climate change and the service sector has a role in promoting and implementing reductions of greenhouse gas emissions that extends beyond its own operations, including relationships with customers and suppliers.

We, at Bank of America, recognize that climate change and atmospheric pollution represent a risk to the ultimate stability and sustainability of our way of life. Bank of America is committed to addressing climate change issues even more so today, when we believe we can set real and achievable targets for greenhouse gas reductions in both our operations as well as investment opportunities.

- Anne Finucane, Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs Executive
Chair, Bank of America Environmental Council

Bank of America will take the following actions, recognizing that climate change and atmospheric pollution represent a major risk to the ultimate stability and sustainability of our way of life:

  • Assess, set goals and reduce Bank of America's direct effect on greenhouse gases; including benchmarking and reporting on direct emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) from its operations. Bank of America was the first financial institution to become a partner in the EPA Climate Leaders program and has set a target to reduce our GHG emissions 9% by 2009.
  • Assess climate change risk on our business and take necessary action to limit risk and invest in change where appropriate; beginning this process with an assessment and reporting on GHG emissions from the energy & utilities portfolio. The goal is to realize a 7% reduction in indirect emissions in accordance with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change targets within our energy & utility portfolio. Also, Bank of America will commission an independent research paper through one of our environmental alliances using industry expertise to evaluate the level of financial sector risk through the finance of GHG emission intensive industries. Through this research and independent efforts, the bank will continue to evaluate methods of reducing GHG emissions in Bank of America's chain of activities including investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Maximize investment return through energy and resource efficiency.
  • Share our position and build partnerships to work on solutions with customers, government and other stakeholders.
  • Utilize Bank of America's position as a community and industry leader to serve as an agent of change in elevating the public and private sector's commitment and approach to addressing climate change.
  • Take advantage of market-based environmentally beneficial business opportunities.
  • Inform our associates and provide information for how they can take action at work and in their personal lives.

Report on goals, actions and progress, and continue to monitor the issue and as needed make adjustments to our position and actions.

Friday, February 22, 2008

#5 Citi Group - The Carbon Principles

Citi is one of three financial institutions that came together to create "The Carbon Principles"

Three of the world's leading financial institutions today announced the formation of The Carbon Principles, climate change guidelines for advisors and lenders to power companies in the United States. These Principles are the result of a nine-month intensive effort to create an approach to evaluating and addressing carbon risks in the financing of electric power projects. The need for these Principles is driven by the risks faced by the power industry as utilities, independent producers, regulators, lenders and investors deal with the uncertainties around regional and national climate change policy.

The Principles were developed in partnership by Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, and in consultation with leading power companies American Electric Power, CMS Energy, DTE Energy, NRG Energy, PSEG, Sempra and Southern Company. Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council, environmental non-governmental organizations, also advised on the creation of the Principles.

This effort is the first time a group of banks has come together and consulted with power companies and environmental groups to develop a process for understanding carbon risk around power sector investments needed to meet future economic growth and the needs of consumers for reliable and affordable energy. The consortium has developed an Enhanced Diligence framework to help lenders better understand and evaluate the potential carbon risks associated with coal plant investments.

The Principles recognize the benefits of a portfolio approach to meeting the power needs of consumers, without prescribing how power companies should act to meet these needs. However, if high carbon dioxide-emitting technologies are selected by power companies, the signatory banks have agreed to follow the Enhanced Diligence process and factor these risks and potential mitigants into the final financing decision.

"There was full and frank dialogue around the table," said Matt Arnold, director of Sustainable Finance, which helped coordinate the development of the Principles and Enhanced Diligence process. "There was a remarkable amount of debate and exchange of information and views among the banks, power companies and environmental organizations. The dialogue resulted in a rigorous analysis of the carbon risks in power investments, and sets the stage for further discussion."

Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley have pledged their commitment to the Principles to use as a framework when talking about these issues with clients. This effort creates a consistent approach among major lenders and advisors in evaluating climate change risks and opportunities in the US electric power industry. The Principles and associated Enhanced Diligence represent a first step in a process aimed at providing banks and their power industry clients with a consistent roadmap for reducing the regulatory and financial risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions.

The Principles are:
    Energy efficiency. An effective way to limit CO2 emissions is to not produce them. The signatory financial institutions will encourage clients to invest in cost-effective demand reduction, taking into consideration the value of avoided CO2 emissions. We will also encourage regulatory and legislative changes that increase efficiency in electricity consumption including the removal of barriers to investment in cost-effective demand reduction. The institutions will consider demand reduction caused by increased energy efficiency (or other means) as part of the Enhanced Diligence Process and assess its impact on proposed financings of certain new fossil fuel generation.

    Renewable and low carbon distributed energy technologies. Renewable energy and low carbon distributed energy technologies hold considerable promise for meeting the electricity needs of the US while also leveraging American technology and creating jobs. We will encourage clients to invest in cost-effective renewables and distributed technologies, taking into consideration the value of avoided CO2 emissions. We will also encourage legislative and regulatory changes that remove barriers to, and promote such investments (including related investments in infrastructure and equipment needed to support the connection of renewable sources to the system). We will consider production increases from renewable and low carbon generation as part of the Enhanced Diligence process and assess their impact on proposed financings of certain new fossil fuel generation.

    Conventional and advanced generation. In addition to cost effective energy efficiency, renewables and low carbon distributed generation, investments in conventional or advanced generating facilities will be needed to supply reliable electric power to the US market. This may include power from natural gas, coal and nuclear technologies. Due to evolving climate policy, investing in CO2-emitting fossil fuel generation entails uncertain financial, regulatory and certain environmental liability risks. It is the purpose of the Enhanced Diligence process to assess and reflect these risks in the financing considerations for certain fossil fuel generation. We will encourage regulatory and legislative changes that facilitate carbon capture and storage (CCS) to further reduce CO2 emissions from the electric sector.
"Leading utilities and financial institutions understand that the rules of the road have changed for coal," said Mark Brownstein, managing director of business partnerships for Environmental Defense, one of the NGOs that advised with the banks in creating the Principles. "These principles are a first step in facilitating an honest assessment of electric generation options in light of the obvious and pressing need to substantially reduce national greenhouse gas pollution."

Dale Bryk, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council added, "Expectations are rising fast for this industry. Global warming is changing the competitive landscape. Clean power is the name of the game today. Conventional coal facilities are already facing intensive scrutiny. We think the serious money is increasingly going to be on clean, efficient solutions."

Power Industry Comments on The Carbon Principles

American Electric Power (AEP), Columbus, OH:
"A rational set of carbon principles to help guide energy investment strategy is vital to our nation's energy and economic future," said Michael G. Morris, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Electric Power. "Recognizing that energy efficiency, renewables, cleaner fossil technologies and other diverse solutions all have significant roles in addressing climate challenges while maintaining economic and energy security establishes a framework for making the best decisions regarding our nation's energy future."

CMS Energy, Jackson, MI:
"The electric companies that serve America's families and businesses every day understand the need for a balanced approach to meet our country's energy needs. At CMS Energy, our objective is to provide reliable and affordable power to our customers through a prudent, environmentally responsible mix of conventional and advanced technologies that includes renewable energy and to work with customers to help them use energy efficiently. By adopting these principles, Wall Street is making an important and creative contribution to the ongoing effort to address climate change and a contribution that will be welcomed by those in the utility sector with similar concerns about the environment."

DTE Energy, Detroit, MI:
"DTE Energy is proud of its history of environmental stewardship and thus we applaud the Carbon Principles approach by leading banks recognizing that a broad range of energy solutions must be considered to address the climate change issue," said Anthony F. Earley Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DTE Energy.

NRG Energy, Princeton, NJ:
"To move the needle on global warming, clean energy technologies need to be developed, demonstrated and deployed as quickly as possible," said David Crane, President and Chief Executive Officer of NRG Energy Inc. "Given the capital intensive nature of this challenge, we welcome these carbon principles as a sign that America's leading financial institutions are ready to support a massive increase of investment in clean energy solutions. With the support of both Wall Street and public policymakers in Washington, the American power industry can lead the way in achieving the dramatic GHG reductions that are critical to the health of both our economy and our planet."

Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), Newark, NJ:
"The Carbon Principles encourage all stakeholders to recognize that energy efficiency, renewables and new low-carbon power sources are all indispensable to meeting the nation's future energy needs while addressing climate change as one of the foremost policy and environmental issues of our time," said Ralph Izzo, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of PSEG. "PSEG is actively pursuing this overall goal, while recognizing that our efforts must result in a reasonable cost to consumers. We hope that the Principles will contribute to the national consensus that must be reached to deal effectively with these critical issues."

Sempra Energy, San Diego, CA:
"With its mix of energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean conventional generation, the Carbon Principles echo our view that to meet future US energy needs, a balanced portfolio approach must use energy efficiency, renewable energy, and natural gas."

Southern Company, Atlanta, GA:
Southern Company, along with our regulators and other stakeholders, has and will continue to undertake extensive evaluation of all generation resources including nuclear, coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency, to maintain the balanced portfolio necessary to reliably meet our customers' growing electricity needs. We regard bank due diligence as a normal part of our business and we applaud the banks for seeking input from the electricity industry as they developed the Carbon Principles.