For Now, Cap-and-Trade All We've Got to Save Planet

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), July 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

For Now, Cap-and-Trade All We've Got to Save Planet


Byline: Bob Doppelt For The Register-Guard

As flawed as it appears, the Senate must pass the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade climate protection bill approved by the House last Friday.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 is the best chance the United States has to demonstrate its commitment to reducing climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions. Without such a commitment, there is little chance that world leaders will strike a new global emissions-control accord in December in Copenhagen.

The debate surrounding the Waxman- Markey bill has illuminated many of the limitations of cap-and-trade. It also raised the visibility - and limitations - of a carbon tax as an alternative, proving there is no silver bullet in climate legislation.

Just as people drove less when gas prices reached $4 a gallon, a carbon tax seeks to raise the price of activities that emit carbon dioxide high enough to stimulate the production and use of low- carbon alternatives.

In cap-and-trade, government sets a limit, or cap, on the total amount of CO2 that can be generated, allocates the right to emit a specific fraction of the total among different polluting entities, and then ratchets the cap downward over time. Users that cannot reduce their emissions to meet their cap must buy allowances from those who generate less. Essentially, they must pay to emit CO2, while the seller reaps financial rewards for reducing emissions below their cap.

One of the most informative debates I've heard about the two approaches occurred at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in March in Copenhagen. Nicholas Stern the former chief economist of the World Bank who favors cap-and-trade, squared off against William Nordhaus, a noted Yale economist who supports a carbon tax.

Nordhaus argued that a carbon tax could apply to all entities that emit CO2, from large energy producers to individuals, that cap-and-trade would not directly affect. It also would set a clear and predictable price on the emission of carbon for years to come, while cap-and-trade would obscure the price and produce highly volatile spot prices.

The revenues generated by a tax would stay in country and could be invested in new technologies or rebated to the public in some way. In addition, a tax could be easily and quickly implemented, because the collection mechanisms already exist, while it will take years to deploy an emissions trading system.

Further, Nordhaus noted, a tax would avoid many of the risks inherent in cap-and-trade. For example, corporations would not be able to game the system by paying a third party in another country to "offset" their emissions without actually reducing their own. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

For Now, Cap-and-Trade All We've Got to Save Planet
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.