>19 May 1999
>NEW YORK - Industry efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions will not
>only help the environment, but a former government energy official
>argues in a new book that companies making the effort will also make
>more money. In a soon to be published book, "Cool Companies," Joseph
>Romm draws on five years' experience in the U.S. Energy Department's
>Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to dispel the widely-
>held belief that becoming environmentally "friendly" means becoming
>"This myth that it's going to hurt the U.S. economy to cut greenhouse
>gases is just that - a myth," Romm said. "What has been left hidden, is
>that for the vast majority of U.S. companies, there just are large
>opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a net profit," he
>added. Romm's case studies highlight companies such as Royal
>Dutch/Shell , the world's third largest publicly traded oil company, as
>well as several smaller U.S. companies which are tackling emissions
>early and are cashing in on productivity gains.
>"There isn't any type of company, from retail to light manufacturing to
>heavy industry, that doesn't have large opportunities," Romm said in an
>interview with Reuters. Some examples are dramatic. Toyota was able to
>cut energy consumption by a third, drastically reducing emissions, when
>it modernised production techniques at a car plant in California.
>Another by-product of the technology improvements was a reduction in
>the defect ratio of cars produced at the plant to 0.1 per 100 from a
>prior three per 100.
>"I think it is just very clear that if every company did what the best
>companies do, that we could be able to cut greenhouse gas emissions and
>improve profits and productivity," Romm said. Scientists generally
>agree that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous
>oxide, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons trap heat in the
>atmosphere and contribute to global warming.
>Those concerns led to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a United Nations-
>sponsored treaty in which industrialised countries agreed to cut
>emissions by an average 5.2 percent by between 2008 and 2012. But the
>Kyoto treaty has met stiff opposition from U.S. industry groups which
>argue that cutting emissions will also mean cutting U.S. jobs. Last
>month a number of U.S. senators introduced legislation to replace Kyoto
>with voluntary market-based programmes. Unfazed by the political
>bickering, Romm maintains that the contentious issue of global warming
>is here to stay, and he argues that the technological revolution of the
>1990s has provided industry with numerous options to cut emissions
>without losing money.
>"If you do want to reduce greenhouse gases, it is not hard," Romm said.
>"In most cases it is pretty boring stuff." Much of savings comes from
>using more efficient lightbulbs, better insulation and energy-efficient
>buildings, he said.
>"And what's more, there are so many energy service companies that can
>do this," he adds. Earlier this year Romm set the Centre for Energy and
>Climate Solutions, a non-profit organisation established to serve as an
>independent consultation centre for companies looking to profit from
>reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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