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Britain's business chiefs target global warming

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Nov 26, 2007
Britain's leading employers' body said Monday that tackling climate change was an "urgent" priority for business, government and consumers.

The Confederation of British Industry placed global warming at the heart of its agenda as its annual conference began in London.

The CBI will address "urgent, concrete and measurable actions that UK business needs to take to address the risk of climate change," Martin Broughton, the group's president and British Airways chairman, said in a speech that opened the two-day conference.

On Monday, the CBI published a flagship report from its climate change task force, a high-level grouping of 18 chief executives and chairmen from top British companies.

Contained in the report were a series of pledges by the powerful lobby group aimed at helping companies to adopt greener practices.

"Firms will have fundamentally to change their business models to meet consumers' and society's needs in an era of climate change," the task force report said.

One key pledge was to "develop new products and services that will empower households to halve their (carbon) emissions by 2020."

Another commitment was to save an extra one million tonnes of carbon emissions among the employees of task force members within the next three years.

The task force comprises bosses from well-known British companies that together employ two million people. They include supermarket giant Tesco, energy majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell, and steelmaker Corus.

"Today the CBI task force has demonstrated its commitment to tackling climate change," said its chairman Ben Verwaayen, who is also chief executive of British telecommunications group BT.

"This is a call to action to the wider business community whose support we need, an offer of partnership with government, and a commitment to empower consumers.

"They are key to any solution because of their power to demand environmentally friendly goods, and their influence on government as voters," Verwaayen added.

Meanwhile, the CBI has questioned the British government's ambitious targets to slash the country's carbon emissions.

"The UK's carbon reduction targets for 2020 are likely to be missed but that 2050 goal, whilst stretching, can be achieved at a manageable cost -- provided a greater sense of urgency is now adopted," it said, citing analysis commissioned by consultants McKinsey.

The CBI includes 80 percent of firms listed on London's prestigious FTSE 100 shares index.

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Washington (UPI) Nov 23, 2007
Since the death last December of Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, interested diplomats and energy company executives from around the world have jetted into dusty Ashgabat airport for meetings with Niyazov's successor, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

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