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Big Business for Climate Regulation
Jamais Cascio, 23 Sep 05

It may surprise some readers to learn that some of the loudest voices calling for strict climate-related regulations come not from activists, and certainly not from government bodies, but from the corporations which would be regulated. This definitely came as a surprise to British writer George Monbiot, who penned an editorial for the Guardian earlier this week entitled, "It Would Seem That I Was Wrong About Big Business." It's definitely worth checking out.

A moment's reflection will reveal the logic at work. The lack of regulation means that, whenever the adoption or production of a greener alternative process or technology costs more than sticking with the old, dirty version -- which is most cases, if only due to basic switching costs -- companies that go green face a temporary set back against less forward-looking competitors. And while some green moves will end up benefiting the adopting companies far faster and far more than they expect, that's not always true.

Companies in the US face an additional issue: inconsistent regulation from state to state. Figuring out how to meet wildly divergent state environmental standards can end up being more expensive than even strict -- but consistent -- national standards.

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