Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Business Impact

Regulation Works

It must, if we want things like clean air.

As Charles Fishman reports in our “One Decision” Briefcase (see “Cleaning Up”), Corning is investing heavily in diesel-filtration technology. In the teeth of the most recent recession, Corning dedicated itself to spending half a billion dollars on this technology – even as it cut its overall R&D budget by half.

Regulations being implemented around the world spurred Corning’s decision. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency will require that heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses made for model year 2007 use fuels that contain 97 percent less sulfur than is currently found in diesel fuel. The kind of filtration that Corning is developing will also be mandated for trucks and buses beginning in 2007 and for nonroad engines beginning in 2011.

Three decades ago, in response to the Clean Air Act of 1970, the company invented the ceramic material used in catalytic converters. It has led that business ever since. Corning sees an opportunity to do for diesel engines what it did for gasoline engines: it expects that, beginning in 2008, diesel emissions mitigation will be a billion-dollar-a-year market.

This story is part of our October 2005 Issue
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

There’s a basic economics lesson in this. Free markets generate “externalities” – costs that neither the buyer nor the seller in a transaction will bear, and benefits that neither will enjoy. Air pollution is a textbook example of a negative externality: the bicyclist bears the cost of a driver’s exhaust.

Some negative externalities have no easy remedy. But in cases where the private sector can, given enough incentive, develop a technological fix, the solution is clear: the government must mandate the removal or reduction of the externality. Companies like Corning will take it from there.

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Business Impact

How technology advances are changing the economy and providing new opportunities in many industries.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Online Only.
  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.