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The Western Business Roundtable doesn’t care for Cap and Trade (the politician’s tool of choice for reducing carbon emissions). In fact, it is hard to believe that the organization gives much weight to the climate challenge at all. The Roundtable, the website of which does not list its members, but describes them as including representatives of the coal, oil, and gas industries, hired a consultant to explain why the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) is a bad idea. The WCI is a consortium of western states and provinces dedicated to developing a regional carbon cap and trade program with the modest goal of reducing carbon emissions 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
The Roundtable’s consultant issued its report on February 17th. While the Roundtable expresses an interest in developing a “common sense” national climate change policy, its criticism sounds like a classic business attack on environmental protection efforts. According to the Roundtable, a cap and trade program would raise prices, which in turn would “retard” job creation. It would discourage the deployment of new “advanced” coal-fired power plants (defined as including plants with and without carbon sequestration). The report expresses concerns about the effect of the SCI on hydroelectric and nuclear power plants, but it is not clear why. In addition, the report tries to minimize the value of a carbon reduction program by claiming that the WCI, alone, would have only the slightest effect on reducing global temperatures. Read the rest of this entry »