Fossils that helped develop the first geological map, originally uploaded by brewbooks.
In a 2007 executive order, Gov. Charlie Crist set a goal for the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. His panel on climate change subsequently developed an exhaustive plan calculated to surpass the governor's goals, reduce the state's dependence on fossil fuels and help build a "green economy." To that end, the Legislature last year required the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to develop a statewide cap-and-trade program.
DEP is now in the middle of that job, which includes figuring out whether a state system should target all emitters, some of the biggest or just the biggest--which would mean power companies only.
Some experts involved in the research, including Ted Kury, director of energy studies at the UF'S Public Utility Research Center, believe that the federal government, not the state, should tackle those decisions. The federal Waxman-Markey bill prohibits individual state schemes on capping carbon, meaning federal standards will trump whatever Florida may devise. The experts say Florida could better spend its money on energy-efficiency programs and investments in the most promising alternative fuel technologies.
DEP Secretary Michael Sole says the state's work is important regardless how the federal debate turns out. For example, part of the project analyzed the potential for carbon sequestration on state lands--a possible revenue-generator for the state. (The agency paid Lykes subsidiary Eco2 $93,425 for that portion of the research. To the university researchers working on the cap-and-trade analysis, it is spending another $144,000.)
Sole says when DEP's initial work is completed this spring, the agency will be able to show lawmakers and taxpayers specific data on how cap-and-trade will work in Florida, outlining both costs and benefits to businesses and taxpayers. "The low carbon future does exist, in the nation as well as the world," says Sole, "So it's important that we take a progressive stance."
"Was this trip really necessary? Florida mounted its own effort to constrain carbon. Will a federal law make it all moot?" Florida Trend Nov. 2009: 48. General OneFile. Web. 4 Jan. 2010.
Gale Document Number:A212276991