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Climate Change at the Stack: Posturing Toward Kyoto

Fortnightly Magazine - August 1997

equivalent emitted in the U.S. in 1990, but it's a start, Novak says.

Utilities are looking at controlling greenhouse gases more as an obligation, from the CEO down through management, and are considering the issue when building new plants.

"Utilities I work with have substantial programs, including voluntary programs," Hopp says. "We're not talking about hundreds of thousands, we're talking about millions of dollars to improve their environmental management. A lot of that is because of regulation, but a lot of it is because it's common sense and an interest in being environmentally aware.

"The utility industry is way ahead of the rest of the business community on climate change issues," Hopp adds. "And that's probably a reflection of having learned some difficult lessons as a result of the acid rain debate.

"I don't think it's a joke. I think utilities, more than any other industry, are taking it seriously." t

Joseph F. Schuler Jr. is associate editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.

Key Element Positions of the Early Kyoto Protocol

U.S. Utility Industry Other Nations

Credit for Draft protocol is silent on Was promised credit by the Not addressed.

Early Action this issue. Administration for actions to reduce,

avoid or sequester greenhouse gas.

Targets/ No firm position. Emissions Opposes binding targets and timetables, E.U.: Negotiating position

Timetables timeframe should be 2010-2020: but if imposed, not before 2010. calls for 15% reduction in

first target stable, second at up CO2, methane and NOx

to 10% below 1990 levels. below 1990 levels in 2010.

Banking/ Would allow: banking at govern- Believes banking must be mandatory; No countries have similar

Borrowing ment's discretion and borrowing borrowing penalty should not provisions.

for emissions not used, for a penalty. exceed 5%.

Emissions Would allow emissions trading Opposes a cap, notes U.S. proposal Varying support for

Trading and between countries with real ignores countries with economies not emissions trading and joint

Joint commitments and joint imple- in transition. implementation, but also

Implementation mentation between developed opposition.

and developing.

Commitments Proposes policies to push commit- Believes U.S. proposal should add Ignored issue of real

for Developing ments in developing countries, timeframes for inventory and commitments.

Nations especially "no regrets" measures; mitigation actions.

requiring annual emissions inventories

and reports on steps to reduce

emissions.

Policies and Opposes common policies and Agrees with U.S. position, which gives E.U.: Favors common

Measures measures. each country options. policies and measures,

including environmental

taxes, energy efficiency

upgrades for power plants

and tradable permits.

Source: Edison Electric Institute, U.S. Department of State

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