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Jennifer L. Morgan

Jennifer L. Morgan

Jennifer L. Morgan is the director of the Climate and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute. ALL POSTS

A strong climate bill is good for business

Q: As the prospects for a climate bill in the Senate get dimmer, some in Congress have said the solution is not to limit U.S. emissions but instead invest in green technology (wind, solar or earth's natural heat) that might be able to produce the same energy but with less pollution. Is this a good way to go, instead of setting a legal limit on emissions?

First, reports of a climate and energy bill's demise in the Senate have been greatly exaggerated. Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman are drafting legislation that I think will gain broad support of those that care about domestic energy production on both sides of the aisle.

Now, members of Congress who want increased investment in green technology are exactly right -- it was recently announced that China is now the world's leading producer of wind turbines and solar panels, and the United States needs to get moving if we want to compete in this global market.

However, if we're serious about making the United States energy independent and a clean technology leader, creating incentives through an energy-only bill alone is not enough. What clean energy companies and investors need most is stable financing through a carbon price. And the best way to get a carbon price is through an emissions cap.

Businesses, and not just clean energy businesses, must always make long-term decisions about products, technologies, plants and infrastructure, and right now they're uncertain where the U.S. economy is going on carbon. Incentives are not enough: they need a road map that is predictable and long term. Companies that are the engine of economic growth and innovation in the United States -- those that are part of USCAP and include GE, BP, Alcoa, DuPont, Siemens and many others -- are calling for a climate and energy bill because they know it is critical to keeping U.S. industry competitive.

Furthermore, we've had energy bills with renewable incentives in the past. They have not moved the U.S. on clean energy pathway, instead providing short-term incentives to a long-term problem. In addition, energy bills do not answer another critical problem: what to do with existing polluting facilities. A comprehensive climate bill can help heavy industries modernize.

As I write this, more than 200 executives from around the country are visiting members of Congress and urging them to pass a comprehensive climate and energy package. They know that a climate and energy bill is the most effective way to grow their clean energy businesses domestically, and that clean energy can jump start our economy.

By Jennifer L. Morgan  |  February 3, 2010; 9:38 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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One way to ensure the necessary business investment to use the power of government to revalue clean energy. Either by increasing the cost of dirty energy or decreasing the opportunity to use old, unacceptable means of production. Phase them out over time as the Clean Air Act was intended to do. The only way I know that business owners and operators understand universally is taxation.

Creating a carbon tax and distributing the proceeds as economic incentive for capital investment in achievable clean energy production or as a reward for the successful development of cleaner technologies would require performance, and preclude the type of delay that the Bush administration implemented when it granted the coal industry an extension beyond the 25 years which the Clean Air Act had already provided.

I'm tired of seeing dirty politics impede clean operations. Tax the dirty and reward the clean while phasing out the legality of the undesirable.

Posted by: Zingdhao | February 7, 2010 5:35 PM
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You said, "As I write this, more than 200 executives from around the country are visiting members of Congress." According to the article you generously linked to, "The executives mostly represent clean-energy companies." That's like saying that smoking is good for you because reps from the Philip Morris company are lobbying Congress.

Get real.

Posted by: c0lnag0 | February 7, 2010 12:23 PM
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FLASH!!

This Brand New Video Blows a Huge Gaping Hole in Obama's Cap and Tax Scheme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVm5-6H_sH4

Posted by: CommieBlaster | February 6, 2010 6:59 PM
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"Man-caused Global Warming is the biggest scam in the last 100 years."

It's the 2nd biggest.

The biggest scam was Y2K.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 6, 2010 7:38 AM
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Miss Morgan,

How can you be Look yourself in the mirror every day knowing that the science your programs based on is junk? Did you really think the American people were going to let government control all of the energy production in this country? We are not Europe.

Even Obama has admitted that Cap and Trade is dead in the Senate. Congress will only pass an energy bill. That means, we will do it the American way. Drill baby drill! and Nuke baby Nuke!!! LoL... I bet Al Gore and his criminal friends are loving this over at the Chicago Climate Exchange.

Cheers!!!

Posted by: Senator_Salesman | February 4, 2010 1:06 PM
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Cap and Trade is dead in the Senate. You know it, I know it, and the President knows it. Man-caused Global Warming is the biggest scam in the last 100 years. What is it now? Oh yeah, have you heard the one about the Himalayan glaciers? Or the one about those pesky emails? or the one about the severity and frequency of natural disasters being a lie? I think the one about the rainforest by two green activist making it into the IPCC report is my favorite. Lies LIES LIES LIES.

Posted by: Senator_Salesman | February 4, 2010 12:49 PM
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In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama said there was "overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change." In his most recent message to the world, Osama bin Laden said that climate change "is not an intellectual luxury but an actual fact." It's nice to see these two leaders can agree on something.

The hitch is that the man-caused catastrophic global warming theory is dead, and it needs to be buried. Evidence had been mounting for years that there were problems with the global warming model; most telling was that the globe refused to warm up. Carbon emissions continued apace, but the world began cooling. This is why true believers abandoned the "global warming" brand name and tried to shift the debate to the more ambiguous label "climate change," which is something the rest of us like to refer to as "weather."

The dam broke with Climategate when hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit revealed that global warming advocates had for years attempted to hide conflicting data and silence their professional critics. British authorities have determined that the university broke freedom-of-information laws by denying information to scientists seeking to check claims that global warming was caused by human activity.

Evidence is emerging that the data had been rigged all along. Russian analysts noted that British temperature calculations excluded data from 40 percent of Russian territory, much of which showed no increase in temperature in the past 50 years. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also cherry-picked data, cutting Canadian data sources from 600 to 35 and relying on only one monitor for all of Canada above the Arctic Circle. This was done even though Canada operates 1,400 weather stations, 100 of which are in the Arctic.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is having its own scandal regarding a finding in its Nobel Peace Prize-winning 2007 report that glaciers in India were rapidly disappearing. It is now revealed that this dramatic claim was based not on years of patient observation and research but anecdotes from a hiking magazine and a student's master's thesis. IPCC Chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri knew about the erroneous information before December's Copenhagen climate summit but maintained the falsehood. He even denounced a report from India that showed the glaciers were in far less jeopardy as "unsubstantiated research." Last month, Mr. Pachauri published a sexually explicit novel, further diminishing his professional reputation.

Climate scientists have to come to grips with some highly inconvenient truths. World temperatures continue to decline as carbon emissions increase. Chilly Scotland is facing its coldest winter in a century. Arctic sea ice is not vanishing. Polar bears are experiencing a baby boom. Water vapor appears to play as important a role in the climate as carbon emissions. Sunspot activity may be more important than both combined. Meanwhile, climate change fanatics seek to blame capitalism and productivity for global warming, global cooling, too much snow, not enough snow, hurricanes, tornadoes and even the Haiti earthquake.

The simplistic and increasingly discredited theory of carbon-based, man-caused global warming needs to be discarded, and the scientists who sought to squelch skeptics and artificially inflate their own reputations must be disciplined. Alas, Mr. Obama and Mr. bin Laden need to update their talking points.

-The Washington Times

Posted by: Senator_Salesman | February 3, 2010 8:40 PM
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