The challenge over the next several decades will be completion of an economically competitive fusion power plant. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor is paving the way.
Climate Change at the Stack: Posturing Toward Kyoto
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.
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
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,
taxes, energy efficiency
upgrades for power plants
and tradable permits.
Source: Edison Electric Institute, U.S. Department of State
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