- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — Hundreds of investors controlling $20 trillion in capital came searching for answers yesterday on how to put a price on carbon emissions blamed for global warming and create a new — and lucrative — economy based on cleaner sources of energy.

Business leaders asked how they could blunt the economic cost of cutting carbon emissions — chiefly carbon dioxide from burning oil, coal or natural gas — when cheap and carbon-intensive energy is powering growth around the globe.

“As soon as people believe carbon has a price, it’s going to have a price,” said Vinod Khosla, a venture capitalist who was one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems.

Peter Darbee, chairman and CEO of PG&E; Corp., an energy-based company in San Francisco, said cleaner-burning utilities should be rewarded and “those that burn coal should have to pay for clean energy.”

The gathering of 480 investors and other Wall Street types was organized by groups supporting U.N. efforts such as the U.N. Foundation, Ceres and the U.N. Fund for International Partnerships.

Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres’ investor coalition, called it the largest meeting of financial leaders ever to focus on climate change and said it would illustrate how the marketplace is starting to transform.

“Investors will be looking at clean energy opportunities, including energy efficiency, as Wall Street wakes up to the scale of the climate challenge and what actions it will require,” she said.

Tim Wirth, president of the U.N. Foundation and former Democratic senator from Colorado, said the next 50 years would bring a unique chance to adopt energy sources that emit less carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases. He said that shift would prove to be “as important as the computer revolution in generating new wealth and jobs.”

Such a shift has long been championed by Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, whose group has worked with General Motors Corp., DuPont Co., and other major companies in calling for U.S. limits on greenhouse gases to combat global warming.

The coalition is pressing Congress for so-called “cap-and-trade” legislation to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. There have been a number of climate bills introduced that call for mandatory limits on greenhouse gases, which many scientists fear will cause a warming of the Earth if atmospheric concentrations are not stabilized by midcentury.

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