Burtraw said that one surprising conclusion is that he and Woerman project greater emissions reductions under the combination of EPA regulations, continued energy market trends and state and regional efforts than those projected under the passage of the Waxman-Markey legislation.
The reason, he said, is that two-thirds of the emissions reduction pledges could be achieved through international and domestic carbon offsets and by banking emissions reductions. Emissions under the bill might have fallen 8.2 percent and would have pre-empted EPA action on greenhouse gas emissions.
"I think that a cap-and-trade program would have been more efficient, from an international perspective, in achieving greenhouse gas reductions," said Burtraw. "But what we see is that the current regulations can do a good job of IDing low-hanging fruit -- the kinds of things like regulation of mobile sources, renewable energy portfolio and energy efficiency standards."
He added, "Out past 20 years, though, and the fruit is going to be higher up in the tree, and therefore, it may become more difficult to achieve deeper reductions."
Lashof sees no contradiction in the current patchwork of state and federal legislation that has already been implemented and the role of a future national carbon pricing mechanism.
"With what's happening in leading states, with clean air standards and market trends, we're definitely within striking distance of the 2020 targets," he said. But, he added, without a comprehensive federal climate change plan, meeting emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2050 becomes much more difficult to achieve.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500