Entergy volunteers to limit carbon dioxide emissions

Entergy Corp. Thursday said it is the first US electricity company to voluntarily limit greenhouse gas emissions to help combat global warming.

Operating in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi, Entergy said it will hold emissions at year 2000 levels through 2005, and, in the meantime, develop a long-term target which would include additional reductions to help combat climate change.

Entergy’s action comes at a time the Bush Administration is dropping out of the Kyoto Treaty negotiations saying it would harm the US economy and unfairly exempt developing nations from adhering to pollution limits. The treaty is intended to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and other ozone precursors blamed for heating up the earth’s temperatures.

To meet its target, the New Orleans-based company said it will partner with Environmental Defense, a national advocacy group, to develop a program to reduce CO2emissions from Entergy’s US plants that use fossil fuels to generate electricity. Entergy’s nuclear plants are not included in this target.

Entergy CEO J. Wayne Leonard the company expects to achieve at least 80% of its targeted reductions within its own operations. To meet its target, the company said established a $25 million environmental fund.

“The process of intergovernmental debate and negotiation on the terms and conditions to assure economic parity around the world takes time that we may not have,” Leonard said. “Entergy’s program will demonstrate that companies can do the right thing while remaining competitive and profitable.”

Environmental Defense executive director Fred Krupp said Entergy’s lead should encourage other electric utilities to take similar steps to reduce pollution. Emissions from power plants and cars are among the leading man-made sources of greenhouse gases and the US is the No. 1 producer.

Entergy said it will join the Partnership for Climate Action, an international business group, which is working to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Members include the Environmental Defense; Entergy; Alcan Inc.; BP PLC; E. I.DuPont de Nemours & Co.; the French aluminum company Pechiney SA; the Canadian electric company Ontario Power Generation Inc.; Shell International, a unit of Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Suncor Energy Inc.

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