Businesses in the United States and United Kingdom are increasingly flinching at the prospect of complying with government targets to reduce carbon emissions.
U.S. climate legislation could put smaller manufacturers and other businesses at risk of litigation over their carbon emissions, said Regina McCarthy, who has been nominated to be EPA’s Director of Air and Radiation.
In its proposal to require reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA has said only about 13,000 of the largest emitters, including refiners, smelters and cement plants, stand to be regulated.
Some legal experts, however, say that Clean Air Act statutes may extend application of the rule to facilities that emit more than 100-250 tons a year, such as hospitals, schools and farms, reports WSJ. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates there are 1.5 million facilities that produce in excess of 250 tons of emissions. Large office buildings with their own boilers, for instance, may exceed that amount.
In the UK, 83 percent of businesses feel that government plans to reduce CO2 emissions 80 percent by 2050 are “unrealistic,” reports EPR Energy News. Citing data from Npower, the article states that only 31 percent of businesses think they can generate new commercial opportunities as a result of having a lower carbon footprint.
Still, 68 percent of UK businesses say the UK should take a leading role in reducing global emissions. This number is down, however, from 88 percent in 2008.
Meanwhile, more than half of UK bosses say their companies have not begun any efforts to reduce their carbon footprints, according to New Civil Engineer.
More than 40 percent say they need assistance in understanding how new carbon emissions regulations affect their businesses.