DuPont, BASF see gold in a US emissions mandate

19 May 2009 18:58  [Source: ICIS news]

DuPont, BASF see blue skies in climate control mandateWASHINGTON (ICIS news)--A national campaign to address climate change could help revive US industry and drive substantial new demand for chemistry products, top chemical company officials told Congress on Tuesday.

DuPont chairman Chad Holliday told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that “I believe that addressing climate change may be the single greatest opportunity to reinvent American industry”.

Holliday said that a federal climate policy “has the potential to create real economic growth by providing the certainty companies need to increase their investment and accelerate the development and deployment of low carbon solutions”.

A national climate policy, he said in testimony, could “drive innovation in large established companies like DuPont and in start-ups across the US - and these innovations can form the basis for a green export flow to other countries”.

Holliday and other industry officials were invited by the committee to relate research and business development opportunities they see in climate change. Congress is moving forward with what is expected to be a mandatory cap-and-trade emissions requirement to cut US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 83% below 2005 levels by 2050.

While many others in business and industry have strong reservations about anthropogenic global warming or the effectiveness of emissions mandates, Holliday said that “DuPont believes that the science on climate is sufficient to compel action”.

Along with nine other major companies and four environmental groups, DuPont is a founding member of the US Climate Action Partnership (US-CAP) that was formed in early 2007 to advocate a mandatory federal climate change policy.

Jack Armstrong, testifying at Tuesday’s committee hearing for BASF, joined Holliday in outlining a range of potential growth areas for US manufacturers of chemicals, plastics and derivative products.

Armstrong, who heads BASF’s North American construction industry initiative, said that chemistry and chemical products can reduce GHG emissions in agriculture and automotive transportation and create better technologies to advance wind power and energy-saving materials for residential and commercial buildings.

He said that BASF sees “many business opportunities in climate protection policy”.

He noted that the American Chemistry Council (ACC) estimates that each new home constructed in the US consumes about $17,000 (€12,580) worth of chemicals in materials processing or in end-user housing components.

Armstrong said BASF calculates that greater energy efficiencies and insulation that might be required in new home construction as part of a national climate control mandate could generate chemistry consumption of up to $30,000 in each new home built.

Holliday said that “reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also create new markets that demand new technologies”.

He said customer demand for DuPont’s plant-based polymers and fibres has doubled since the company opened its first biobased production line in 2006.

“But business cannot solve the problem alone,” he said. “Federal legislation will help create the marketplace that will drive innovation, economic growth and environmental progress.”

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Joe Kamalick
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