Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stop emissions growth by 2025?

President Bush stood in the Rose Garden yesterday and tried, once again to speak intelligently about climate change as his presidency comes to an end. He made broad statements about stabilizing GHG emissions by 2025, but did not offer any specifics on how this goal might be reached. These types of statements are some of the most frustrating to my engineering-biased brain... we need solutions... a plan... not just broad statements and ambiguous goals.

He also shied away from any conversation on a carbon tax, but vehemently opposed the cap and trade approach that the Senate is currently considering as a way to curb the emission of GHGs.

President Bush (referring to the cap-and-trade proposal) stated that "Bad legislation would impose tremendous costs on our economy and on American families without accomplishing important climate change goals we share."

This brings us to an important point that I would like to put out in the blog-o-sphere for discussion.

Will the reduction of GHG emissions hurt the economy? Sure, from a surface level view, a cap and trade system on GHG emissions (specifically CO2) could lead to an increase in the bottom line on our electricity bills, etc.

But, looking deeper... will putting a price on these emissions really "impose tremendous [costs].. without accomplishing important climate change goals"?

I argue that more definiative rules of the road with GHG emission legislation, in the form of a CO2 cap-and-trade system (or other) could actually help the economy. Companies will finally know what will be required of them, and can act accordingly, building needed capacity and improving existing capacity (in terms of GHG emissions control). R&D in this area will have a larger funding stream. And that's not even getting into the potential for savings from the health benefits of cleaning up the air a bit....

All right, y'all... your turn....

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