Companies back out of climate group as skepticism grows

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The belief that climate change is a serious problem requiring immediate government attention seems to be on the wane (The Daily Caller highlighted once such ‘sceptic’ yesterday, Gawker’s Nick Denton) since the Climategate scandal broke and more questions have been raised about the accuracy of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports.

Most recently, several large companies, including BP, ConocoPhillips and Caterpillar, have abandoned the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), the largest business group that lobbied for broad emissions cuts. BP and Conoco said that the proposed cap-and-trade legislation now stalled in the U.S. Senate is unfair and won’t meet its stated goals.  The Financial Times quotes BP:

“We will continue to work for passage of federal legislation that … is environmentally effective, reduces emissions across the U.S. economy in a measured and affordable way and which treats all energy consumers and producers in a fair and equitable manner,” BP, Europe’s biggest oil company, said. “We don’t believe legislation currently pending in the Congress achieves these objectives.”

Royal Dutch Shell is now the only large oil company left in USCAP.  The Wall Street Journal puts it in perspective (warning: pay wall):

Yesterday’s corporate defections from the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) won’t be greeted with the same hosannas as last year’s departures of Nike and Apple from the Chamber of Commerce over its global warming stance, but they’re undoubtedly more important. This scales-from-eyes moment shows that some big American businesses are putting shareholders and consumers ahead of politics.

Red State has more information as think tanks respond to the news and also updates on the related topic of legal challenges by US states, including Texas, to EPA regulation of carbon dioxide.