Tom Fanning, our genial CEO host,
said some things I’ve never heard him say before like
Southern Company is
“pivoting towards wind”
and SO’s board soon has to decide whether to go forward with Plant Vogtle
“or not” probably by August.
Fanning gets the
last word in this blog post,
plus a complete transcript of what
I asked and
Tom Fanning’s response,
along with summaries of the other questions and answers.
Please hear me!
I think renewables are exceedingly important in the future.
— Tom Fanning, CEO, Southern Company
Winston Churchill famously said America would always do the right
thing after exhausting the alternatives. The right thing in climate
policy for all the big countries is a carbon tax, which is simpler
and less vulnerable to fluctuations in emissions than cap-and-trade
schemes. For years, such a tax has been a non-starter politically.
But as the alternatives are tested to destruction, it deserves to be
looked at again. Current environmental policies will not keep the
rise in global temperatures to below 2°C—the maximum that
most climate scientists think safe. A carbon tax, if stiff enough,
could. Big polluters should assume that such a tax will one day
arrive, and start planning for it now.
China is taking steps to tackle its huge
carbon output. Today, the country announced the
details of its first carbon trading program, which will begin
in the city of Shenzhen next month. The southern city is one of seven
cities and provinces, including Beijing, which will take part in
the pilot program, set to be completely implemented by 2014.
And according to one local news source, China could
implement an absolute, nation-wide cap on its carbon
emissions by 2016. China’s 21st Century Business Herald
reported this week that the country’s State Council still needs to
approve the carbon cap proposal submitted by the National Development
and Reform Commission, a government entity that controls much of the
Chinese economy. The proposal, which the State Council is reportedly likely
to support, would ensure China’s emissions would
not increase past the country’s target cap, regardless
of economic growth — though it’s still unclear what
that cap would be. The paper reported that the NDRC also predicts
China’s greenhouse gas emissions will peak in 2025, rather than 2030,
as earlier predictions stated.
China will proactively introduce a set of new taxation policies
designed to preserve the environment, including a tax on carbon
dioxide emissions, according to a senior official with the Ministry
of Finance (MOF).
The government will collect the environmental protection tax instead
of pollutant discharge fees, as well as levy a tax on carbon dioxide
emissions, Jia Chen, head of the ministry’s tax policy division,
wrote in an article published on the MOF’s website.