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Cap and trade, or bait and switch?

Pretty soon, our industry and others will see a new era of environmental awareness ushered in. At this moment, the current administration is feverishly trying to loosen up environmental mandates, and the Obama era will bring with it more strict environmental rules, especially as they pertain to emissions.

Obama also plans to move forward on a cap and trade system, wherein a cap is set on the allowable amount of pollutants, and those who pollute beyond that point can buy credits from others who pollute less.

I’m thankful for the environmental awareness that's taking prominence, but the cap and trade system is inherently flawed.

At its core, cap and trade is like buying your absolution so you can feel free to pollute with a clear conscience. At the end of these credits, someone should be reducing industrial emissions, but the credits will instead be passed around like currency, and the pollution will continue unabated.

Many proposals for cap and trade have been put forth: some dealing with carbon dioxide, others with just carbon; and typically, each proposal sets a target date where the emissions level is lowered. Still, this merely postpones the inevitable, and many say it will take decades to change our ways under cap and trade. 

And this system also will waylay efforts to invest in cleaner-burning coal technology and alternative energy. Companies will divert their resources and invest money in polluting rather than in technologies and research to curb pollution.

We also have to consider other less regulated countries that cancel out our pollution efforts with their flagrant lack of air quality laws.

Cap and trade is more like a bait and switch, a shell game, some guy on the corner playing three-card monte. Money will not patch up the ozone layer.

Pay to pollute: sounds great if you’re a billion-dollar energy company that doesn’t want to update your equipment and can get away with sullying the air for less money.

Our emissions rules should be direct, not a pay-to-play bartering system. A cap should be set on the whole cap and trade philosophy. We should instead focus efforts on non-fossil fuel energy now, not in 10 or 20 years, when it will likely be too late.

Comments




  • It was not my intention to flag the cap and trade post as inappropriate, as the author makes many valid points.
    ho3pp28y, 6 years ago | Flag
  • A shell game inherently flawed! This article explains the problems with cap and trade. Well done.
    ho3pp28y, 6 years ago | Flag

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