The term "cap and trade," in terms of a plan to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions into the air, is one that is heard widely of late as a proposed solution for the supposed problem of global warming. It will be discussed with more frequency as cap-and-trade proposals that failed to pass in the last Congress are reintroduced this year. But many people are still a little hazy about what "cap and trade" actually means. One succinct explanation appeared in an article on the Congressional Budget Office website: "The government would set gradually tightening limits on [C[O.sub.2]] emissions, issue rights (or allowances) corresponding to those limits, and then allow firms to trade the allowances."
Aside from telling us how cap-and-trade programs might operate, the reference to "tightening limits on emissions" gives away the ostensible purpose of these programs: to fight that supposed ominous scourge of the 21st century, global warming.
Those who have accepted the widely promulgated theory that the melting of the polar icecaps and rising of the seas is imminent may believe that any economic cost is worth enduring, if only global warming can be forestalled. However, regular readers of THE NEW AMERICAN, especially those who have read our February 16, 2009 cover story entitled "Whatever Happened to Global Warming?" as well as those who have read any of several well-researched books * disputing both the severity of global warming and the theory that it is caused by man's activities, will not easily accept the argument that a massive and costly government program is needed to prevent a …