Thursday, December 21, 2006

Panel wants carbon pricing

A panel of energy and environmental experts say the U.S. needs a price on carbon dioxide emissions in order to effectively cut global warming pollution. Regulation would not only slow global warming, but spur clean energy technology, opening up new economic markets more quickly.

Panel members included Dan Reicher, President of New Energy Capital and former Energy Department official; Stanford University climatologist Stephen Schneider; Sierra Club President Carl Pope; and Duke Energy Chairman Paul Anderson.

According to Reuters,

Anderson said the lack of a clear signal over what form government action may take could delay plans among energy companies to invest in new technologies.

He said a company was unlikely to build a power plant with a 50-year life span if it did not know whether the plant would face onerous new taxes in a few years.

I don't buy the last sentence. There are still plenty of coal plants being proposed around the country, including a few by Duke Energy itself. But utilities know regulation is coming in some form or another, and are of course advocating for the particular type of regulations that best suit their utility. Although I have yet to decide how cynical I am about utility execs speaking out on carbon regulation, building coal plants doesn't make sense for customers, our energy system, or our planet.

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