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By Kevin McKean (Editor)

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Second, in February 2008 three major investment banks— Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley—announced new environmental guidelines. 60 Through these guidelines the banks will encourage clients to pursue cost effective energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other low carbon alternatives to conventional generation. The banks also commit to analyzing the financial risk posed by the prospect of domestic climate policy. While the significance of the Carbon Principles should not be over-interpreted – they are essentially guidelines that do not in any way constitute industry standards – they are nevertheless a harbinger of things to come.

Therefore, any attempt to make coal-powered electricity generation more climate friendly through consideration of “clean” technologies such as CCS has significant value. However, the economic challenge of constructing a significant carbon capture and sequestration industry in a timeframe to slow global climate change currently overwhelms its promise: w First, CCS will always be a cost-plus exercise where significant political will is required. CCS deployment will be a function of how policy impacts the power producers’ cash flows and in turn how this impacts their least cost compliance strategies.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), often referred to as Superfund, established a tax to finance a fund that addressed liabilities arising from clean up of hazardous waste sites. Specifically, it provided for a cap on clean up costs where contamination costs are greater than estimated. One of the strengths of this approach is its flexibility and the fact that it allows for tailored risk management products. A federal insurance program to indemnify project developers and operators may be appropriate to address long-lived liabilities occurring during the post-injection phase of CO2 sequestration.

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Consumer Reports - April 2011 by Kevin McKean (Editor)

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