NPRA ’07: Global warming issue threatens chems

26 March 2007 01:25  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--Public policy reaction to the global warming controversy could have major impact on the US chemicals industry, sector leaders said on Sunday, warning that lawmakers could unintentionally cripple manufacturing.


Charles Drevna, executive vice president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA), told a press conference that efforts by the US Congress and other legislatures to deal with the perceived threat of global warming could disproportionately affect some industries more than others.


“Congress must take care not to create winners and losers among our own industrial sectors,” Drevna said, referring to legislation pending on Capitol Hill to impose a cap-and-trade system to limit emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases.


Under a cap-and-trade system, government would impose emission limits or caps on industrial sectors.  Manufacturers whose emissions are less than the cap levels could sell emission credits to those companies whose operations emit more greenhouse gases than allowed.


The impact of a cap and trade programme would disproportionately impact the chemicals and refining industries, Drevna said, compared with agriculture and the electric utilities, for example.  “Utility companies have the luxury of going to their rate commissions to simply ask for a rate increase, and that is a luxury that the petrochemical and refining industries do not enjoy,” he said.


Drevna said European efforts to establish a functional cap and trade system have not worked.  “Congress has to be very, very careful in dealing with this issue,” he said.


“This is a global issue, and we have to keep an eye on what other countries do - or don’t do,” he added, indicating that a US cap and trade programme could cripple manufacturing here while other nations’ industries escape such restrictions.


“The impact of unintended consequences can be exponential,” Drevna said.  “Forcing industrial sectors to switch products or processes could in the end increase CO2 emissions,” he said.


The press conference was held at the opening day of the 32nd annual petrochemicals conference, sponsored by NPRA.

By: Joe Kamalick
+1 713 525 2653

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