This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.
One of the top issues this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland, was climate change. But the business and political leaders gathered
for the yearly event in the Swiss Alps were not the only ones talking about the
President Bush, in his State of the Union message Tuesday, proposed rules to
increase production of renewable fuels, like ethanol from corn. He also said new
technologies are needed to deal with what he called "the serious challenge of
California recently passed rules to require industries to release less carbon
dioxide and other gases blamed for trapping heat. Some companies believe it is
just a question of time before the federal government could do the same. So they
are positioning themselves to have a voice in the policy-making.
On Monday, leaders of ten big companies proposed federal rules to limit the
release of greenhouse gases. The companies are members of the United States
Climate Action Partnership.
One possibility for the country is a trading system like the European Union
has. Companies would have permits to release a set amount of greenhouse gases.
Businesses that stay within their limits could trade their surplus to bigger
Since 1995, the United States has had a trading system for sulfur emissions
that cause acid rain.
But some companies think other ideas, like new taxes on polluters, are a
better way to cut greenhouse gases.
Any new rules would hit some industries harder than others. For
example, 40 percent of the carbon dioxide from American industry comes from
power producers, especially those that burn coal. The United States is the
world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide, followed by China.
On February 2, in Paris, a scientific group established by the United Nations
plans to release a major report on climate change. The report, six years after
the last one, is expected to take the strongest position yet about the influence
of human activity.
The group is said to be at least 90 percent sure that human activity is the
main cause of global warming in the last half-century. The Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change puts most of the blame on the burning of fossil fuels.
And the report is expected to say that scientists around the world believe
temperatures will continue to rise.
And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. Transcripts and MP3
files are at www.unsv.com. I'm Mario Ritter.
runny nose : 流鼻涕