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Climate change goals are not met, GAO says

June 5, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 23

Many companies participating in voluntary federal programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change have not made satisfactory progress, and the government lacks policies to sanction firms that have not met their goals, congressional auditors say. In a May 25 report, the Government Accountability Office examined two programs that encourage corporations to set their own emissions reduction goals: EPA's Climate Leaders Program and DOE's Climate VISION (Voluntary Innovative Sector Initiatives: Opportunities Now) program. The report found that, as of November 2005, only 38 of the 74 companies participating in EPA's program have set an emissions reduction goal. "EPA is developing a system for tracking firms' progress in completing these steps, but it has no written policy on what to do about firms that are not progressing as expected," GAO says. Trade groups participating in the DOE program generally had established goals for curbing emissions before joining Climate VISION, and the department expects them to develop plans for measuring and reporting emissions within one year of joining, according to GAO. As of November, the report says, 11 of the 15 participating groups had such plans, but two of the groups still without plans joined in 2003, the program's first year.


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