Industry Support for Environmental Progress
The New York Times sums up the progress Barack Obama made this week on two big environmental issues:
The [Waxman-Markey] bill’s passage, on a 33-to-25 vote, served as a bookend to a week that began with President Obama’s announcing a deal with auto manufacturers to impose tough new mileage and emissions standards for all cars and trucks sold in the United States starting in 2012.
Think Progress highlights a White House meeting at which CEOs offered their reasons for supporting controls on carbon emissions. General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, whose support of renewable energy policies I noted earlier this week, took part in the White House meeting. One reason for his enthusiasm is that GE is making big bucks in selling clean energy products:
MR. IMMELT: Mr. President, I think clean energy is the most exciting, fastest-growth industry of the 21st century. We've got about 70 energy-efficiency products, about $18 billion in revenue this year. We have 50,000 jobs between GE and our supply chain, lots of small- and medium-sized companies in this country and around the world.Immelt describes the strategic value of carbon pricing to industrial companies like GE, a point that James Owens of Caterpillar reinforces, even using the same line from Star Trek I used yesterday:
OWENS: I agree with Jeff. I think we have the technology, we have the smarts here, and the product technologies, the economic incentives of what’s needed. And that’s why I think of us in industry support a clarity around a carbon price, because that’s going to drive a lot of innovation and a lot of efficiency and will get with the program of reducing carbon emissions.If the CEO of Caterpillar is on board with cap-and-trade, then we are seeing a real shift in attitudes in American industry. Just as automakers like the certainty of the new efficiency standards, industrial companies like GE and Caterpillar are saying they would like to have the carbon issue settled so they can make capital investment decisions with greater certainty.