Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are being joined this afternoon by two-dozen CEOs to talk about climate change and how to accelerate development of clean-energy technologies. Among the CEOs on hand is Lord John Browne of BP PLC, whose Long Beach facilities are hosting the event. Among those not attending: President Bush's top environmental adviser, James Connaughton. The White House is citing a scheduling conflict. In case you forgot, the Bush administration pulled out of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, an agreement signed by Britain and most other developed countries to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.
Al Gore makes it almost sound easy in “An Inconvenient Truth” – just support politicians who want to place caps on greenhouse gas emissions. But a bill in Sacramento that would require businesses to reduce emissions illustrates how difficult it is to change attitudes. The bill, which is being pushed by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, would make California the first state to adopt the Kyoto Accord - and business groups are up in arms. One example used: gasoline refineries, which have to use a special formula to meet state emission requirements. If refineries can’t reduce emissions to 1990 levels, they would have to shut down, which would jack up the price of gasoline. What the business interests don’t say is that they would have until 2020 to make the necessary adjustments – time enough to develop new technologies.