In a recent NY Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/science/earth/26climate.html), it was noted that the idea of ‘Cap and Trade’ has all but fizzled out as a potential energy policy for the current administration. President Obama, who supported the program in his initial budget, no longer supports it. The reason for this loss of momentum is the combination of opposition from the oil industry, several conservative groups and the recent Wall Street collapse. So, now what? We have no climate change policy.
‘Cap and Trade’ created a structure to gradually decrease, or cap, the amount of carbon emissions allowed by major emitters of pollutants (such as power plants). These companies would need to report the amount of carbon emissions they put into the atmosphere. Each company is given an allowance (i.e.: credit) of emissions they are permitted to release. Those who released less carbon emissions would keep their credits. However, those who exceed their cap must purchase carbon credits from those who have spare ones; in effect, paying for the right to pollute.
Our lawmakers have now decided to put together a program that is more economically diverse. Once again, Washington has done their job of creating more bureaucracy to yet another item this country so desperately needs. Global climate change needs to begin with the United States. Our success is key to getting other countries to buy-in on the idea.
Letting ‘Cap and Trade’ fall apart is wrong. Yes, the program was not perfect and was one more way of taxing our businesses. But, it was something and right now we have nothing. Now we get to wait until lawmakers determine which special interest groups they can serve, instead of doing the right thing and curbing emissions.