Getting Businesses To Support Cap-And-Trade

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At The Huffington Post, Mindy S. Lubber makes a case for why businesses should support cap-and-trade legislation--that energy efficiency saves money and government subsidies can offset costs:

The cost of switching to cleaner energy and lowering emissions will spur competitive gains, cost far less than claimed, and come more quickly once we set our goals and adjust our incentives.

Lubber is president of Ceres, a group dedicated to bringing businesses and investment groups to the green side of the climate change debate. Last year, they organized a coalition comprised of Nike, Starbucks, Levi Strauss, and Sun Microsystems to support climate and environmental legislation.

We're now hearing of more businesses that back climate legislation: Duke Energy Corp. dropped out of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) over climate policy, and Nike and Johnson & Johnson have pressured the Chamber of Commerce to drop its opposition to change its stance.

As Lubber points out, there are other businesses that agree--including the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, another coalition of big companies calling for climate legislation, ac group that includes ConocoPhillips, Ford, GM, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi, Shell, Siemens, Xerox, NRG Energy, DuPont, Duke Energy, and GE, among others.

That sounds like an unlikely group to support the regulation of carbon emissions--given that some of those companies sell carbon--but they legitimately back the fundamentals of cap-and-trade (see their agreed-upon policy recommendations here).

The work of Ceres and the Climate Action Partnership changes the model of the climate debate: it's not about environmentalists fighting oil companies (or, depending on your view, fighting economic progress): it's about coalition-builders working within the business community to garner green support. If it's already brought some pressure to the Chamber and NAM, it's likely a significant piece of the climate lobbying puzzle.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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