CERAWeek: Power and the Climate Change Challenge

Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, said today there is a “pressing need” for more research and development dollars on carbon capture and storage technology despite the current economic downturn.
But the environmental leader acknowledged that private capital on such technology will remain “frozen” until there is a clear guidance from the U.S. government on how carbon reduction will be achieved.
In January, a broad coaltion of environmental groups and major corporations including GE, General Motors, Siemens and Dow Chemical offered a 24-page blueprint to the U.S. Congress on how to enact a carbon cap and trade system.
The blueprint, led by Krupp’s group, is the result of more than two years of discussion among the parties, and calls for an 80 percent reduction in U.S. carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2050.
“We need major reductions, and we need them soon,” Krupp said, adding that any solution must be market-based and transparent.
Krupp predicted the House will introduce climate change legislation this year, given the momentum behind the issue and President Obama’s support for it.
He said remaking the energy system could be a catalyst to keep the country out of deeper recession.
He even compared the transformation to a cleaner power system with Thomas Edison’s challenge of electrifying America. Edison, he said, did not invent the light bulb but took it and other existing technologies to pioneer a broad-based and reliable electrical system.
“Together, we can construct the market system that can unleash you, the entrepreneurs, to rise to that challenge.”