Monday, January 21, 2008

Climate Controls

It is good to be prepared, something business does particularly well and something government does rather poorly, reminding us that, too often, profits spur action rather than the needs of people.

Climate controls gaining support
But U.S. firms differ on how to fund a cap and trade system.
By Renee Schoof - McClatchy Newspapers
Published 12:00 am PST Monday, January 21, 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. businesses are betting that the federal government soon will put mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, and they're making sure they have a say in shaping a vast new regulatory system.

Some of the country's biggest businesses support a cap and trade system, the approach that Congress is considering. Under cap and trade, the government gives or sells companies allowances to emit certain amounts of greenhouse gases, and companies may sell unused allowances to other companies.

While it may sound simple, the details would be complex and the plan would affect the entire economy and require monitoring for decades.

The U.S. Climate Action Partnership – which includes U.S. automakers, other big manufacturers such as Alcoa and Caterpillar Inc. and energy companies such as FPL Group, Duke Energy and PG&E Corp. – supports a cap and trade system, but its members have questions about key elements, such as how emissions could be offset and how much they'd have to pay for the allowances.

"In the last year there's been a sea change" in business thinking on a mandatory federal emissions policy, said Truman Semans, the director for marketing and business strategy for a group of large U.S. companies at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change's Business Environmental Leadership Council.

The council comprises 44 companies with $2.8 trillion in market capitalization, a sizable chunk of the world economy. Most favor a mandatory market-based emissions policy, Semans said.