TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The debate over cap-and-trade climate legislation took center stage at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars Thursday afternoon, and Environmental Defense Fund Executive Director David Yarnold urged industry executives to embrace it.
The Waxman-Markey climate-control bill has passed the House and could come up for a vote in the Senate this fall. If approved, limits on carbon emissions will phase in by 2012 for the greatest emitters of greenhouse gases – primarily the energy, manufacturing and fuel industries.
“The auto industry is not threatened by climate legislation,” Yarnold says. Companies whose carbon emissions fall below the designated cap will be allowed to trade, or sell, their credits to other companies exceeding the limits.
The Waxman-Markey legislation sets modest carbon-reduction targets on the transportation sector, he says.
Yarnold says he understands the doubts many people have about global warming. “It’s clear that public policy will limit carbon pollution one way or another. The auto industry will prosper if the limit is a broad carbon cap like Waxman-Markey.”
He is hopeful the Waxman-Markey legislation can be approved by December, when Copenhagen hosts the United Nations Climate Conference to create a framework for replacing the Kyoto protocol, due to expire.