Why CEOs want carbon laws

Executives of Ford, Duke Energy, and carbon trader EcoSecurities are hoping market mechanisms will help jumpstart green tech investments.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By David Whitford, editor-at-large

Laguna Niguel, Calif. (Fortune) -- What do CEO Bill Ford of Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500), CEO Jim Rogers of Duke Energy (DUK, Fortune 500) and CEO Bruce Usher of carbon trader EcoSecurities (ECGUF) have in common? A deep aversion to unpredictability.

That's why Rogers has been begging for carbon legislation for years -- so he can make big investments in renewables. It's why Ford says he wants a gas tax -- so he can invest in smaller cars. And it's why Usher needs a cap and trade bill from Congress -- to jumpstart carbon trading in the U.S. and catalyze big investments in green technologies. Before it's too late.

"Market mechanisms not only work," Usher said during Tuesday's carbon finance session Fortune's Brainstorm: Green conference. "They work incredibly fast."

Usher does international deals under a cap-and-trade structure imposed by the Kyoto Protocol that makes polluters pay for burning fossil fuels and rewards investments in green technologies. In many ways, the political and social climate for doing such deals has never been more favorable. But here's the rub: Kyoto expires in three years. Carbon finance projects typically take two-and-a-half years to develop. Bottom line: Usher's deal flow has slowed to a crawl.

What's needed, he says, is a U.S. cap and trade system, like the one contemplated under Markey-Waxman. Ideally by year's end, he says, although both Usher and Bill Bumpers, chair of the climate change practice in the D.C. office of law firm Baker Potts, say that's highly unlikely. But action can't wait much longer. In December, delegates from around the world will gather in Copenhagen to begin planning a successor agreement to Kyoto. Where does the world's biggest economy stand on cap and trade? Other countries need to know. To top of page

Company Price Change % Change
Dollar Tree Inc 55.82 1.60 2.95%
Apple Inc 97.94 0.27 0.28%
Family Dollar Stores... 74.17 13.51 22.27%
General Electric Co 25.51 -0.28 -1.09%
Facebook Inc 74.92 -0.27 -0.37%
Data as of 10:07am ET
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,879.50 -81.07 -0.48%
Nasdaq 4,414.40 -35.16 -0.79%
S&P 500 1,967.41 -10.93 -0.55%
Treasuries 2.47 0.00 0.16%
Data as of 10:22am ET
More Galleries
Best-loved cars in America These cars and trucks topped J.D. Power's APEAL survey, which measures how much owners like their new vehicles. More
America's most powerful cars A new 'horsepower war' has erupted among U.S. automakers and these are the most potent weapons in their arsenals. More
A sampling of beers being made with traditional Latin flavors A small but growing number of craft breweries are including passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and other traditional Latin flavors. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.