Climate change push in Copenhagen stokes diesel price concern

| 12/18/2009

A late push for worldwide climate change consensus doesn’t change the fact that cap-and-trade proposals in the U.S. would be directly tied to higher diesel prices, one OOIDA official said Friday.

President Obama and other U.S. leaders traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, late this week to call for an agreement between all 191 nations participating in the United Nations climate talks there.

Late Friday, Dec. 18, several news reports said an international climate change agreement had been reached. However, it will take months and possibly years of negotiations and development before the deal “emerges in any internationally enforceable form,” the New York Times reported late Friday.

Mike Joyce, OOIDA director of legislative affairs, said it appears unlikely that differences between developed nations and underdeveloped nations would be ironed out before the end of the Copenhagen conference.

In addition to the difficulties of an international agreement, pressure within the U.S. may make promises at Denmark moot, Joyce said.

“I think that’s going to make it difficult for Congress to pass a controversial piece of legislation during a very trying economic time in our nation’s history,” Joyce said.

Cap and trade would establish carbon emission limits for several business sectors and is expected to cause sharp increases in fuel and diesel prices. A credit system would allow businesses that operate above limits to purchase credits and businesses with leftover credits to sell on the open market.

The House narrowly approved a cap-and-trade bill in July, and Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, and John Kerry, D-MA, introduced companion legislation in the Senate in early October.

Joyce said truck drivers would be negatively affected by cap and trade.

“We’re talking about legislation that would undoubtedly raise the price of diesel fuel to truckers,” Joyce said. “It would raise the cost of doing business.

“We do support further initiatives to provide incentives to truckers to purchase idle-reduction technologies, like APUs,” Joyce said. “

According to the Washington D.C.-based Politico, Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, also traveled to Copenhagen to point out a lack of support in the U.S. Senate for cap and trade.

“We in the United States owe it to the 191 countries to be well informed, and know what the intentions of the United States are,” Inhofe said. “The United States is not going to pass a cap-and-trade law,” he said. “It’s just not going to happen.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer