Current Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Policies
The Sustainable Energy Institute (SEI) held its second Sustainable Energy Roundtable Series (SERS) event on Monday May 12. Participants exchanged views on the latest Bush Administration actions on climate change and Congressional proposals. Approximately 25 industry, government and SEI representatives participated in the session, which was moderated by Alan Miller of the Global Environment Facility and SEI's Executive Board. Ms. Larisa Dobriansky, Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Energy Policy at the Department of Energy, and Tim Profeta, Legislative Counsel for the Environment, Office of Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), shared divergent views on approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Both agreed, however, on the need to encourage breakthrough clean energy technologies. The speakers presented their views on the following: policies for stimulating new clean technology development; the importance of maintaining international involvement and support; the economic costs and benefits of mandatory vs. voluntary GHG reduction programs; the viability of a "cap and trade" emissions trading scheme; and the importance of regulatory certainty in designing any policy to control greenhouse gases. The panel also discussed the issue of timing. A "cap-and-trade" approach, such as that proposed by the McCain Lieberman legislation, represents immediate action, whereas the Bush Administration's choice to invest in clean technology R&D and voluntary programs that are likely to be implemented over time constitutes a more long-run approach.