DALLAS — The U.S. polyurethane industry can expect greater involvement, additional regulations and incentives from the federal government in an effort to halt global warming during the next decade. But curbing global warming will be a difficult task.
That's the word from Dirk Forrister, chairman of the White House Task Force on Global Warming, and two other experts speaking at Polyurethanes Expo '98, held Sept. 17-20 in Dallas.
Government will work with industry to reduce emissions through research and development, procurement specifications, regulatory incentives and targeted tax cuts, Forrister said.
He said the government may use credits for early action and public recognition as two other incentives to get PU businesses to comply with new policies.
But it's unlikely many regulations or incentives will arise in the near future, an expo spokesman said.
Forrister was one of three expert panelists who dealt with the global-warming issue at the expo. Joining him on the panel were Michael MacCracken, director of the Assessment Coordination Office for Global Climate Change, and Kevin Fay, executive director of the International Climate Change Partnership.
Climate change ``creates a dilemma for society,'' MacCracken said. ``On one hand, fossil fuels provide tremendous benefits. On the other hand, their uses do cause environmental changes.''
He told those at the global-warming session that the Kyoto Protocol — drafted last year when representatives from countries around the world met in Kyoto, Japan — along with other incentives aimed at curbing global warming were only the first steps in dealing with the issue.
MacCracken warned that countries are going to have to prepare to deal socially and economically with significant environmental change.
Cutting back too quickly and too drastically could hurt economically, MacCracken said, but if businesses move too slowly the environment could be hurt.
The rate of change is the problem, Fay said.
``Everyone is afraid of the short term and the first budget period,'' he said. But that will be nothing compared to the long term.
Still, the Kyoto Protocol negotiations were successful — an important first step, Fay said. ``Unfortunately, that's like saying the Titanic's maiden voyage was successful because they left the dock on time.''