So business leaders weren't surprised when the White House said Wednesday U.S. President Barack Obama would tell a U.N.-sponsored climate-change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, next month the United States intended to cut carbon dioxide emissions by about 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83 percent by 2050, The New York Times reported.
"Industry needs certainty, and without a very strong role played by the administration, they are not likely to get it," Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, told the newspaper.
"Real leadership from the White House is the only way to get a bill through the Senate, and a bill is how we will get certainty," she said.
Major corporations, including General Electric Co., Ford Motor Co. and PepsiCo Inc., are working with environmental groups at the United States Climate Action Partnership to find ways to cut emissions throughout the economy.
Emissions cuts "will create more economic opportunities than risks for the U.S. economy," the partnership says on its Web site.
No. 1 U.S. retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has outlined strict goals to cut energy use at its stores and told hundreds of thousands of suppliers to report their energy use and carbon dioxide emissions, the Times said.
Until now, the United States had been the only industrialized economy to shun hard targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Times noted.
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