|Centre does its part for cleaner air
RELEASED: March 10, 2005
DANVILLE, KYThere are 240 fewer tons of toxic sulfur dioxide in the air, thanks to Centre College professor David Anderson and Vectren, an Evansville, Ind.-based energy company.
According to Anderson, the outcome of a recent lawsuit required Vectren to surrender 240 sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission permits, each for the release of one ton of acid rain-causing SO2. Vectren wanted to donate those permits to a nonprofit organization. When they came across Anderson's name as a permit owner, they decided to donate them to Centre College. The agreement stipulates that Centre must in turn surrender the permits to the Environmental Protection Agency. Anderson, who has written extensively about environmental policy, had purchased one permit in 2003.
Tradable emission rights have become a popular and effective strategy for limiting pollution in recent years. They feature prominently in the recently implemented Kyoto Accords, which the United States does not participate in.
The practice involved in the Centre-Vectren collaboration is known as "cap and trade." The "cap" aspect limits the quantity of a pollutant (such as SO2) that can be released. The "trade" aspect involves allocating allowances for releasing that pollutant to companies that pollute. These companies can then trade the allowances on the open market. If a company wants to release a controlled pollutant into the atmosphere, it must limit the pollution to its allocated amount. If it wants to go beyond that amount, it must buy additional permits. Conversely, a company able to reduce its emissions to less than its allocation can sell permits and profit from its pollution reduction.
"We teach about emission trading in our environmental studies program," says Anderson, "but it is an unexpected pleasure to play a direct role in real-world emission reductions."
In addition to environmental studies, Centre also offers courses in American environmental history, environmental economics, sustainability, and global environmental politics and policy.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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