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Senate Kicks Off Global Warming Bill Debate

lieberman_warner.jpgWith this week’s Senate debate on the Lieberman-Warner global warming bill kicking off today, some doubt whether U.S. politicians can both develop a global warming plan and satisfy conflicting business and environmental interests.

James Rogers, chief executive of Duke Energy, who supports the curbing of carbon emissions, tells the New York Times that coal dependent companies should not have to pay the most under a national climate policy.

FPL Group, a Florida power company that relies less on coal than Duke Energy does, says companies should have to pay for their emissions regardless of their dependence on coal.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who says he supports the idea of “cap and trade,” appears to be ready to vote against the measure because it doesn’t do enough to boost the use of nuclear power, CNN reports.

Environmentalists oppose the Senate’s plan to set a maximum price on carbon credits, saying it could undermine the goal of reducing emissions nationwide by reducing incentives for companies to cut emissions.

According to a  Newsweek article, the complexity of cap-and-trade allows environmental supporters to decieve public perceptions:

Cap-and-trade would act as a tax, but it’s not described as a tax. It would directly regulate economic activity, but it is promoted as a “free market” mechanism. Finally, cap-and-trade would quickly become a bonanza for lobbyists, who would scramble to exploit the system for different industries, venture capitalists, localities and others. All the influence peddling would undermine the system’s abstract advantages.

A report released in March and conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) said the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill would profoundly affect economic impact on U.S. businesses, consumers and governments nationally and in all 50 states.

Investors entered the ring last month when more than 50, including the nation’s largest public pension fund and the world’s largest listed hedge fund, called on the U.S. Senate to enact strong federal legislation to curb the pollution causing global warming, according to Ceres.

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