Friday, October 30, 2009

Hard Realities of Hard Caps

Earlier this month, President Obama issued a directive to federal agencies to set a 2020 target for greenhouse gas emissions. Federal agencies have ninety days from October 5, 2009 to establish “a percentage reduction target for agency-wide reductions in greenhouse gas emission in absolute terms….” The order also calls for zero-net energy use in all new federal buildings by 2020 and “advanced sustainable acquisition” procedures such that 95% of procurements (except for weapons) are 1) energy and water efficient, non-ozone depleting, contain recycled content and are non-toxic.

Private business has not needed an executive order to begin take the same actions. Business does not have any choice but to seek cost savings in recycled and energy efficient purchases. When a price tag is finally placed on carbon emissions private business will also face that hard reality with changes in fuel use and production processes.

Yes, the cost of carbon emissions will ultimately show up on the price tags consumers see in stores and car lots. However, a hard cap on carbon emissions imposed uniformly across all business will keep the playing field level for all and keep competition fair for all. This is just economics 101.

No comments: