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Energy Firms Anticipate New Emissions Regulations

Top executives at many of the nation’s largest energy companies have accepted the scientific consensus about climate change and see federal regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions as inevitable, The Washington Post reports (via BlogNetBiz’s Environmental page). Companies have hired lobbyists in the hopes of presenting a unified front and are working on changes in anticipation of regulations.

Many top energy company leaders are backing a proposal that would cap greenhouse gas emissions and allow firms to trade their quotas. Others favor a tax on emissions of carbon dioxide.

“If we had our druthers, we’d already have carbon legislation passed,” said John Stowell, Duke Energy’s vice president for environmental policy. “Our viewpoint is that it’s going to happen. There’s scientific evidence of climate change. We’d like to know what legislation will be put together so that, when we figure out how to increase our load, we know exactly what to expect.”

One reason companies are turning to Congress is to avert the many regulations being drafted by states.

Some businesses are making new hires based on the assumption that legislative activity on global warming will increase in the coming months. Truman Semans, director of markets and business strategy for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, said at least half a dozen of the companies that belong to the center’s Business Environmental Leadership Council have recently hired staff members focused on global warming.

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