Clean technology industry leaders believe cap-and-trade legislation will ultimately help the U.S. economy and aide in the reduction of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, but they are not optimistic legislation will pass in the near term, nor are they particularly concerned. This is according to a survey of clean technology entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other industry professionals conducted by law firm Cooley Godward Kronish at its second annual Clean Technology Conference focused on cap-and-trade legislation, held last week in Redwood City, Calif. (Silicon Valley).
If legislation does pass, 80 percent of respondents believe it will ultimately help, not hinder, the U.S. economy. Seventy-one percent believe that a cap-and-trade system will be effective in reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. However, they are not holding their breath for new legislation. Forty-five percent of those surveyed think cap-and-trade legislation will not pass until the second half of 2010 and nearly 30 percent do not believe the legislation will pass during President Obama’s first term. Only 20 percent believe it will pass in the first half of 2010.
Fortunately, a vast majority of those surveyed — 85 percent — do not think that adoption of cap-and-trade legislation would play a significant factor in their business plans. Instead, the respondents listed raising capital (56 percent) and navigating government affairs (32 percent) among the greatest challenges to the success of the clean tech sector. Twenty-six percent of respondents viewed legislation as a major challenge.
“Clearly clean technology investors and executives have opinions about cap-and-trade legislation and what it means to the U.S. economy and the environment, and a majority believe it will have a positive impact on both,” said Gordon Ho, head of Cooley’s Clean Technologies practice. “However, when it comes to the day-to-day execution of their business plans, the fate of cap-and-trade legislation is not a major factor, nor are they counting on it to have any kind of material impact on their business.”
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