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White House panel calls for decarbonizing the economy


From the April 3, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published April 3, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
The Obama administration should continue its efforts "to decarbonize the economy, with emphasis on the electricity sector," a panel of scientific advisors said. That is one of six recommendations on climate change strategy and policy made by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in a March 22 report.

The council also recommended the administration "level the playing field for clean-energy and energy-efficiency technologies by removing regulatory obstacles, addressing market failures, adjusting tax policies and providing time-limited subsidies for clean energy when appropriate."

"Economy-wide, market-based solutions, such as a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system, are excellent ways to incorporate the costs of externalities and encourage technological innovation," the report said. "But given the political resistance to such approaches, there are other policy measures that can also encourage energy transformation and decarbonization."

Other decarbonization measures could include creating new performance standards for carbon dioxide emissions from existing stationary sources; supporting expansion of shale gas; and supporting carbon capture and sequestration, the report said.

The report’s other major recommendations for addressing climate change are:
• preparing the nation for the impacts of climate change;
• investing in research to develop clean energy technologies;
• providing international leadership on climate change; and
• conducting an initial quadrennial energy review.

The March 22 report is available on the White House website.

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