Chances dim for climate-change legislation
Business coalition splinters, and without widespread corporate support, the bill headed to the Senate is almost certainly doomed.
By Marc Gunther, senior editor
Last Updated: May 30, 2008: 6:59 PM EDT


NEW YORK (Fortune) -- An influential coalition of Fortune 500 companies and environmental groups that was formed to support climate-change legislation has splintered over the Lieberman-Warner bill that is headed next week to the Senate floor.

The U.S. Climate Action Partnership formed last year won't take a position on the bill, although nine of its members - including General Electric (GE, Fortune 500), Alcoa (AA, Fortune 500) and four utility companies - signed a letter to senators backing the legislation.

The letter, also signed by big environmental groups and obtained by Fortune, says: "Prompt action on climate change is essential to protect America's economy, security, quality of life and natural environment."

But other members of the coalition known as U.S. Cap, most visibly Duke Energy (DUK, Fortune 500), a coal-burning utility, are strongly opposed. "It's going to translate into significant electricity price increases," says Jim Rogers, Duke's CEO.