Yesterday, the GreenXchange Global Marketplace Conference in Los Angeles brought together influential players to discuss how to meet our current environmental challenges. TriplePundit was there to get the scoop.
One of the more notable speakers included Winston Hickox, the former California Secretary of the EPA. In his luncheon keynote address, he provided a succinct explanation of the difference between a carbon tax and a carbon market. With a carbon tax, “You can’t control carbon emission reductions, but you know the cost.” With a carbon market, “You can control carbon reductions, but you don’t know the cost.” Hickox emphasized the need for the U.S. government to develop a carbon policy with either a carbon tax, a carbon market, or both, to address the unprecedented climate risk to the global economy.
John Hofmeister, from Shell, and Gary Lawrence, from ARUP Americas, showed support for a U.S. carbon market in a morning panel entitled, “The Role of the Marketplace: Energy Security and Energy Mix in the 21st Century.” When asked if a carbon market is the wisest policy choice, given the E.U. experience thus far, both contended that a carbon market policy needs to be well formulated to actually cut carbon emissions.
In a Green Transportation Panel, Justin Ward, from Toyota, presented interesting research on the environmental performance of a Prius vs. a Plug-In Prius. Although a Plug-In Prius delivers higher overall gas fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions than a standard Prius, a Plug-In Prius may actually contribute higher amounts of other greenhouse gases, including sulfur dioxide and nitrous dioxide. (This is assuming that the Plug-In Prius is connected to a coal-fired grid. The higher use of renewable energy on an electric grid would reduce these GHG emissions.) This presentation points to the need for further research to reduce the environmental impact of cars touted as “green.” Toyota is also currently working on developing a Plug-In Prius of their own, in conjunction with U.C. Berkeley and U.C. irvine.
Overall, GreenXchange assembled a stellar line of speakers and participants. The discussions that took place demonstrated that businesses must seek out the best possible knowledge available to make and meet their sustainability goals.