Regardless of whether global warming is a threat, one Washington insider predicts a carbon cap-and-trade system is inevitable because all three remaining presidential candidates support it.
Fred Krupp, the president of the left-wing Environmental Defense Fund and one of the pioneers of the Clean Air Act of 1990, told an audience at the Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., that the three remaining presidential choices – Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) – are likely to make a carbon cap a reality within the next two years.
“As between the states and the federal government, I think we have a wonderful model in the Clean Air Act,” Krupp said March 25. “I believe ultimately this federal government is going to act. I’m so very hopeful now because all three remaining presidential candidates – McCain, Obama and Clinton – are all for this sort of policy I’ve been talking about – a carbon cap, at steep reductions, and trade system. So I think we are going to get a system like this in the next 18 to 24 months.”
“I think that will transform the economic opportunities out there and I think the Clean Air Act provides the model,” Krupp said. “And states that want to have a deeper cut should be allowed to, just like in the Clean Air Act where California is able to set a deeper reduction and other states can go along if they want.”
Krupp’s central theme was that since a carbon cap is inevitable, businesses and entrepreneurs should look at this as an opportunity to profit. However, that might be tougher under a Kyoto Protocol-style carbon cap-and-trade system. The cap enacted in Japan is estimated to cost that economy $500 billion over the next 12 years. The Japanese economy is roughly one-third of the size of the U.S. economy.
Krupp maintained the public was “lucky” to have three presidential contenders with a proactive approach on the global warming issue.
“In my view, each of the three candidates – we are so lucky right now and I could have not said this three weeks ago – but right now, we’ve winnowed down the field, where those of us in this room are going to have different preferences about different candidates and their views on the war and the economy,” Krupp said. “But on global warming, I’m here to tell you each of these three candidates in their own way has taken a courageous position on global warming over time, and they would each represent a very different view than is now represented in the White House on this issue.”