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Most surveys on environmental impacts of power generating companies usually have only bad news to offer. This time, however, the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) survey of power utilities spread across US, presents a more eco-friendly picture of these industries.
Releasing its first 'environmental liability rankings' for all important power companies based on their reported carbon dioxide emissions per dollar of electricity revenue in 1995, NRDC lists Bonneville Power Administration and Pacific Gas and Electric as the top low-emitting companies.
These companies and a few others, therefore, face the lowest financial risks from possible controls on greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions. The rankings were part of the report titled Risky Business: Hidden Environmental Liabilities of Power Plant Ownership .
While the survey undertaken in joint collaboration with the New York-based Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility listed 119 power companies, regular updates involving more such concerns are being planned. "The lower risk utilities can and should take far more commercial advantage of their relatively low emissions," said Ralph Cavanagh, energy programme director at NRDC and the co-author of the report. "The good news for the higher risk utilities is that much can be done to improve their position in this and future rankings."
The studies are important in the light of increasing global awareness on climate change. US has announced that it is in favour of legally binding targets on ghg emissions and it has also ratified the UN Convention on Climate Change. Ongoing international treaties and calls to seek alternates for polluting gases have all sought to toughen emission controls and mitigate environmental degradation.