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Duke Energy on Climate Credits June 3, 2008

Posted by davidzweig in Uncategorized.
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Marc Gunther is one of the best progressive business writers. His blog describes a recent interview with Jim Rogers, the CEO of Duke Energy, on the subject of the Warner-Lieberman carbon credit bill which is likely destined to die in the Senate:

Jim Rogers…opposes Lieberman-Warner because it would require his company and others that aburn coal to spend billions buying permits. That seems fair, on the face of it; these companies are the polluters, after all. But as he notes, regulators urged utilities to build coal plants in the 1970s and 1980s. Their higher costs will be passed on to customers. And the revenues generated by auctioning permits are designated for a long list of Senators’ pet projects, some only tenuously related to climate change. It’s the ultimate in earmarks, he argues. Agree with him or not, it’s a potent political argument.

Nothing in life is simple.

Gunther indicates he is “coming around to Peter Barnes’s (Working Assets) cap and dividend plan, which would either auction permits or impose a carbon tax. Companies would raise prices to cover these costs, thereby providing a conservation incentive to consumers. The funds would be distributed on a per capita basis to citizens, like the Alaskan oil royalty program.

Not everyone is enamored with the plan. In lieu of action, at least there is talk. For now, talk is better than nothing at all.

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