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Wesleyan University to Host National Conference on Pricing Carbon Emissions
“Pricing Carbon: The Wesleyan Conference” will run from Friday evening, November 19, 2010, to Sunday noon, November 21. Headline speakers include climatologist Dr. James Hansen, author-activist Bill McKibben, and environmental-justice lawyer and advocate Angela Johnson Meszaros.
“Wesleyan University’s College of the Environment was established in 2009 to help students become better stewards of our fragile Earth,” said the Director of the College of the Environment, Wesleyan biology professor Barry Chernoff. “We welcome this opportunity to co-host a national conference of scholars and advocates intent on re-energizing U.S. climate policy on the eve of the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico, beginning November 29.”
Beside the keynote speakers, the conference will feature Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), Dr. Gary Yohe, Dr. Brent Blackwelder, Dr. Elaine C. Kamarck, Cecil Corbin-Mark, Peter Barnes, Michelle Chan, Laurie Williams, Allan Zabel, and a growing assembly of other Members of Congress, economists, environmentalists, political scientists, student leaders, and advocates for environmental and social justice. A listing of confirmed speakers can be found on the conference website. All have real-world experience in the economics and politics of energy and climate, and understand the need to price carbon emissions to combat global warming. Conference co-sponsors include the Carbon Tax Center, Citizens Climate Lobby, Progressive Democrats of America, and Climate Crisis Coalition.
The U.S. has never enacted comprehensive climate legislation, failing most recently this past July. Among the reasons for American inaction being discussed in this mid-term election season are the multiple flaws of the “cap-and-trade” approach backed by many mainstream environmental organizations and major corporations. The conference organizers maintain that the legislation was too complicated, relied on complex and corruptible financial instruments, and was too generous to polluting companies.
“With the continuing failure of the cap/trade/offset mechanism to gain support in Congress, it’s time for climate policy makers and concerned citizens to rethink carbon-pricing options,” said Laura Bonham, deputy director of Progressive Democrats of America. “This conference will allow a broad spectrum of climate activists to seek a common agenda that will define the basic principles of good climate legislation, beginning with putting a clear price on carbon,” she added.
Economist Charles Komanoff, director of the Carbon Tax Center added: “Only with a predictable and steadily rising price on CO2 emissions—one that rewards sustainable forms of energy without harming Americans—will the U.S. be able to curb our carbon emissions and oil dependence. A direct and transparent fee on fuels’ carbon content will give entrepreneurs and families the incentives they need to put industries and households on a profitable low-carbon diet.”