Too late for cap and trade?

Posted by SUE CASKEY at Tuesday, November 24, 2015 12:06:04 PM EST

In my discussion posts, it was interesting to watch my own opinion shift before my eyes. i had originally thought I was in favor of cap and trade until I started considering the negatives. I’m still convinced we need C&T to allow business to transition to renewable options. But there are headwinds to using this mechanism to help reduce CO2 to the extent it’s needed now.

Primarily, the objections or problems with C&T that I posted were around the ease with which interested parties can manipulate the trading mechanisms to achieve a less onerous result. Examples are changing the price calculation based on different market interest rates, or how many permits to create, or how they are distributed. with so many inputs into the system, it’s quite possible to set it up so that one can say one has a C&T system in place, yet it does not reduce CO2 significantly, or change market or personal behavior. It’s hard to support a solution which could take a decade or more to begin to ramp up prices and slow CO2 emissions, a system in which we might not know for a decade or more whether the inputs have been calculated sufficient to cause the desired result.

Today it’s not even a question of which system will work best to stop or reduce CO2 emissions. We have all of the ideas, technologies, studies, models, and any other research or ingenuity we need today to begin making a difference – to actually stop the increase in CO2 emissions. It’s not the need for more technology. Whether it’s carbon limits in Paris this year, or carbon taxes that actually cut use of fossil fuels, or a cap and trade system that really does prevent the additional burning of fossil fuels, all of those are already at our disposal. Which of those technologies will force government, industries and people to take serous action now?

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