...Places like Mountaineer are where reality collides with rhetoric about fighting global warming. Lacking any clear guidance from regulators, AEP is hedging its bets. It's working on some innovative technologies, but has yet to tackle the kind of top-to-bottom overhaul that many say will be required to make a serious dent in greenhouse gases.
...Yesterday, AEP endorsed climate-change legislation introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, and Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. It calls for a reduction to 1990 emission levels by 2030. Environmentalists say the bill doesn't go far enough and would allow coal burners to buy their way out, at nominal cost, if compliance proved difficult.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently examined what would happen if Congress mandated that emissions in 2050 be 50% to 80% below 1990 levels. Initially, the polluting allowances might sell for $30 to $50 per ton of carbon-dioxide equivalents, which could lift wholesale power costs by two to four cents per kilowatt-hour, the study found. That would lift consumer bills by some 25% to 50% in coal-burning regions. The study was conducted by MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.