- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
A recent Supreme Court ruling made it clear that the EPA does have the authority – if not the duty – to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Although a cap and trade system seems inevitable, there is much discussion about the equality of setting up such a system.
A trade system was instituted to control emissions of sulfur and nitrogen from power plants years ago and that program was declared a success. Various companies and environmental groups are now maneuvering to make certain this new system will be fair to everyone.
The E.U.’s first attempt at setting up a system was only partially successful. They set a high standard and too many companies fell beneath the cap, creating little demand for credits, and values declined. Warm weather also reduced power demands, resulting in lower emissions and less credit demand.
Some organizations are concerned about who can qualify to sell credits. Would it be fair for an existing nuclear reactor facility to be allowed to claim credits to sell as they do not have carbon emissions and have no cost of installing control equipment to earn credits?
Also, clamping down too quickly and too much could force companies to take such actions as totally switching over to gas-fired plants, which would result in a shortage of natural gas for homeowners and businesses, resulting in additional price increases.
Groups such as the U.S. Climate Action Partnership are quickly forming to discuss the problem and most industry experts agree that some proposed solution will be forthcoming within a year.