How Corporate America Would Go About Being Green

Increasingly, industry, government, and environmentalists, who have often clashed over environmental rules, seem to agree that regulations are too expensive and inefficient.

Now, in a report released on Apr. 20 entitled What Price Clean Air?, the Committee for Economic Development, an independent research and educational organization of some 250 business leaders, has agreed on the principles U. S. industry would like adopted. The group endorses cost-benefit analysis as the basis for establishing environmental standards. It also supports market-based mechanisms, such as taxes on polluting emissions, as preferable to command-and-control methods of regulation--such as those that mandate pollution-control technology and set emissions levels. The group also recommends including the social costs of pollution, such as the degradation of natural resources, in the costs and prices of goods and services.

"It's the first time a cross section of U. S. industry has agreed on those principles," says one executive. The report also proposes policies for dealing with global climate change, improving energy efficiency, and curtailing vehicle emissions.

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