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Market News

 February 10, 2006
Industry giants support US climate plan

 Washington, D.C., USA -- The Pew Center on Global Climate Change has released a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The Agenda for Climate Action identifies both broad and specific policies, combining recommendations on economy-wide mandatory emissions cuts, technology development, scientific research, energy supply, and adaptation with critical steps that can be taken in key sectors.

Alcan Inc. joined Shell Oil, British Petroleum, Cinergy Corp., Intel and others to endorse the plan, calling on the government to act now to create a stable long-term plan for emissions reduction.

The report calls for a combination of technology and policy and urges action in six key areas: (1) science and technology, (2) market-based programs, (3) sectoral emissions, (4) energy production and use, (5) adaptation, and (6) international engagement. Within these six areas, the Agenda outlines fifteen specific recommendations that should be started now, including U.S. domestic reductions and engagement in the international negotiation process. All the recommendations are capable of implementation in the near-term.

The report concludes that there is no single technology fix, no single policy instrument, and no single sector that can solve this problem on its own. Rather, a combination of technology investment and market development will provide for the most cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gases, and will create a thriving market for GHG-reducing technologies. To address climate change without placing the burden on any one group, the report urges actions throughout the economy.

"Some believe the answer to addressing climate change lies in technology incentives. Others say limiting emissions is the only answer. We need both," said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center.

Recommendations:

While actions are needed across all sectors, some steps will have a more significant, far-reaching impact on emissions than others and must be undertaken as soon as possible.

  • A program to cap emissions from large sources and allow for emissions trading will send a signal to curb releases of greenhouse gases while promoting a market for new technologies.

  • Transportation is responsible for roughly one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions, and this report addresses this sector through tradable emissions standards for vehicles.

  • Because energy is at the core of the climate change problem, the report makes several recommendations in this area: calling for increased efficiency in buildings and products, as well as in electricity generation and distribution. Incentives and a nationwide platform to track and trade renewable energy credits are recommended to support increased renewable power. In recognition of the key role that coal plays in U.S. energy supply, the report calls for the capture and sequestration of carbon that results from burning coal. Nuclear power currently provides a substantial amount of non-emitting electricity, and is therefore important to keep in the generation mix. The report recommends support for advanced generation of nuclear power, while noting that issues such as safety and waste disposal must also be addressed.

  • While most of the recommendations focus on mitigation efforts, the report acknowledges that some impacts are inevitable and are already being seen. As a result, it proposes development of a national adaptation strategy to plan for a climate-changing world.

  • Finally, despite the importance of efforts by individual countries on this issue, climate change cannot be addressed without engagement of the broader international community. The report recommends that the U.S. participate in international negotiations aimed at curbing global greenhouse gas emissions by all major emitting countries.

Other recommendations include: long-term stable research funding, incentives for low-carbon fuels and consumer products, funding for biological sequestration, expanding the natural gas supply and distribution network, and a mandatory greenhouse gas reporting program that can provide a stepping stone to economy-wide emissions trading.

View the full report