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Key Players in U.S. Climate Policy

RFF Key Players in U.S. Climate Policy

The companies listed above are those establishments chosen by Resources for the Future (RFF) research on an executive summary and overview of potential U.S. climate change policy implementations.  The opinions of these companies, along with RFF researchers, provide a wide range of inputs and estimations for appropriate climate legislation in the United Sates.  The array of representatives ranges from oil and gas companies to agricultural and

Words from Participants in the RFF Research

chemical producers.  It is important for these companies to have a say in legislation because it is likely that they will be most affected by changes in policy.  Possible implementations for greenhouse gas emission reductions are market-based approaches, like a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax.  Such policies enforce greenhouse gas emission reductions on those companies most responsible for emitting in the first place.   Thus, the responsibilities, costs, and losses lie with those companies listed above.  I personally believe that including companies most affected by changes to U.S. climate legislation in the process of forming policies is highly advantageous, effective, and imperative.

The effects that different legislations have on companies will vary, however.  Research from the RFF suggests that with certain policies for greenhouse gas emissions, costs will rise.  There is also evidence that argues the fact that without any implementation at all, industrial costs will increase.  Robert Stavins, from Harvard University suggests “Market-based approaches to environmental protection should be lauded, not condemned, by political leaders, no matter what their party affiliation. Otherwise, there will be severe and perverse long-term consequences for the economy, for business, and for consumers.”  Without any regulation in greenhouse gas emissions, companies could potentially be more affected.  The consequences described by Stavins insinuate the possibility for more harsh opportunities around the corner for industrial companies if they do not act soon.

Because enterprises like ExxonMobil, DuPont, and Goldman, Sachs & Co. would be strongly influenced by changes to the market-based system in place, it is vastly essential to include such companies in a decision-making process to find an approach to GHG emission reduction that will effectively slow the anthropogenic effects on climate change while maintaining a successful economy.

Works Cited:

Kopp, R & Pizer, W.  2007.  Assessing U.S. Climate Policy Options. Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future.

Stavins, R. 2011. A Golden Opportunity to Please Conservatives and Liberals Alike. Huffington Post: United States.

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3 Responses to "Key Players in U.S. Climate Policy"

  1. Emily Bowie says:

    I agree with what you’re saying Maggie, I think it is important for all those who will be affected by climate change directly or indirectly (in this case through policy and economics) to be involved in the decision making. The Kopp & Pizer article provided an interesting perspective from the “bad guys” in global warming. I had never really considered the idea of taking their concerns into consideration, mostly just because I dislike them so much.

    But I had some problems with it too. The Kopp & Pizer article, while it appears as though the companies are trying to cooperate and come up with a solution, it really seemed to me, after looking a little harder, that they were kind of covering their bases. They looked at what might happen and chose the potential path the US could take that would benefit them the most and fought for it, the path that would lead to some kind of carbon pricing emission in order to “attach a tangible market value to avoiding or reducing those emissions.” (Kopp & Pizer) I do not think these companies evaluated whether carbon pricing is the best strategy in terms of lowering emissions at the fastest rate, rather, I think they chose it because it was the best economic decision on the table.

    I also think I would have been more impressed if the companies involved had actually in immediate and dire danger from climate change policy. Instead, I think it is common knowledge that a lot of the listed companies have the government in their pockets because of the sheer amount of money they have. If I didn’t know this then it would look as though they were sincere, instead it just makes me feel like they are trying to look good in the public eye while they aren’t feeling threatened.

  2. Christine Burns says:

    Maggie, I would have to agree with Emily on this. While I do agree that the companies that will be affected by legislation do have a right to a say, they absolutely abuse it. Right now government is in their pocket, and the lack of legislations proves that. We cannot let the oil and gas companies continue to run our government. I was absolutely suspicious of a report in which the main authors all had something to loose with increased regulation, and they did not disappoint. They sounded like they were advocates of quality climate change legislation, but what did they actually say? Nothing of consequence if you ask me, and I don’t see quality climate policy coming from any suggestions in this report!

  3. Maggie Rees says:

    Emily and Christine,

    I am wondering if some of your opinions might have changed after our class discussion on Monday. Due to the fact that these corporations had no take in the writing of this report, do you still disagree? I found very little bias in the report, as RFF is quite an important organization. I maintain that the opinions of big-name corporations are highly important in the process. I think that working with these companies is the best way to limit loopholes, pay-offs, and cheating in the system. Keeping these institutions close is the best way to monitor emissions and ensure productivity.

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