It’s a small example of how the economic case for going green is becoming more compelling. Economists view environmental damage as a classic “externality”-a cost that impacts society but isn’t imposed on producers or consumers. But with scientific consensus that carbon emissions threaten our climate, there’s growing political will to curb them, particularly with the global powers set to meet in Copenhagen in December. The Obama administration is pushing for a cap-and-trade system that would turn companies’ emissions into a bottom-line cost. Smart companies are working to better understand-and cut-those emissions ahead of new regulations.

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