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What the US Can Learn From Europe's Pollution Credit System

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the three-euro-per-croissant dept.

Power 425

Al writes "Technology Review discusses what a US carbon trading scheme could learn from the flawed European experience. Advocates of carbon-trading schemes like to point to Europe's cap-and-trade program as a model worthy of emulation, but the reality has been less than perfect. A glut of pollution credits, distributed without cost during both the first, transitional phase of the program and the current working phase, drove down the value of the EUAs. As a result, Europe's carbon dioxide emissions remain priced well below 20 euros per ton. With the price of pollution so low, economists say, industries that generate and consume energy have no incentives to change their habits; it is still cheaper to use fossil fuels than to switch to technologies that pollute less. Establishing a carbon price in the US system now, and tightening the system later, could send a dangerously wrong signal to financial markets looking to invest in new energy technologies."

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First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28548593)

Did I get it?

Re:First post (-1, Offtopic)

el3mentary (1349033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548669)

No one cares.

Huh? (-1, Flamebait)

el3mentary (1349033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548597)

You mean the US doesn't Have one yet? I thought You guys loved Capitalism and the Market system?

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548735)

This particular regulatory scheme employs a market mechanism. That's not the same as The Market.

Re:Huh? (0, Redundant)

el3mentary (1349033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549041)

Yes it is a Market system therefore it is a a Market any utilization of the price mechanism in order to self regulate an industry is a market. I am surprised that one does not yet exist in the US.

I'm still wondering why that was modded flamebait.

Re:Huh? (0, Flamebait)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549171)

Because it's not really about free markets, it's about completely unregulated markets that don't interfere with people getting a lot of stuff and rich.

Then there's the people who call it a tax and therefore an unwarranted interference into the lives of people.

Of course I'll get modded flamebait to, but meh.

Re:Huh? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549225)

I'll not mod you flamebait, but I will grammar troll you if it makes you feel better:

Of course I'll get modded flamebait too, but meh.

FTFY

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

JAZ (13084) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549783)

I prefer to think of it as Indulgence. Like buying a pardon from the Catholic Church for your sins against God, Carbon Offsets are forgiveness from the Church of Al Gore for your sins against Gaia.

Not that the money *can't* be used for good, but it is rather hard to trace.

Re:Huh? (1, Insightful)

caramelcarrot (778148) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549443)

Markets only happen if that which is being traded is scarce. Pollution credits are not a natural commodity, and they are effectively infinite without regulation.

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

ruin20 (1242396) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549795)

no we don't have one. the reason why it's been defeated every time is that the proponents of the bill (typically California, Washington, Arizona, Nevada) receive a large portion of their power from hydroelectric power. So they have renewable sources available. Essentially this is a tax on the breadbasket states who have less clean resources available to them, and who's economies are based more on industry then the states on the coasts. It's been proposed several times, and several times defeated. Cap and trade makes sense if alternatives are more evenly distributed, but unfortunately they're not.

That any government attempt to control... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28548617)

...a huge fraction of the economy will soon degenerate into a free-for-all of special interest group favoritism, graft, corruption, and kickbacks?

Of course, Obama and Congress know all that. That's why they're doing it...

Re:That any government attempt to control... (0, Flamebait)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548687)

Yup.

I particularly like how we're taxing carbon. Carbon is a dirty word now, despite it never harming anyone.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (4, Funny)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548925)

Yup.

I particularly like how we're taxing carbon. Carbon is a dirty word now, despite it never harming anyone.

Unlike the real threat of Di-Hydrogen Monoxide!

Re:That any government attempt to control... (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549357)

oh, man, I am so addicted to that stuff... I can't go 5 days without it

Re:That any government attempt to control... (3, Funny)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549371)

I heard about that... that's some scary shit. Like how if you breath it, it will kill you damn fast. Apparently it feels a lot like drowning.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (2, Funny)

geegel (1587009) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549835)

It's incredibly difficult to remove too. Wash it up with water all day long and it simply refuses to go away.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (5, Funny)

gclef (96311) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549119)

Carbon never harmed anyone?! Are you kidding!? How much carbon is in a bullet? How much of a bomb's explosiveness is due to carbon reactions? I'll tell you: lots. You say Carbon's a dirty word, I'll tell you what: you're right...it is dirty. Have you ever handled powdered carbon, aka graphite? All it does is dirty stuff up. That stuff's nasty. So I think it's appropriate that carbon is a dirty word...it's a dirty, dirty element.

If carbon didn't exist, we'd live in a very different world.

If carbon didn't exist (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28549191)

What based life form are we?

Re:If carbon didn't exist (4, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549757)

We are ugly bags of mostly Di-Hydrogen Monoxide.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28549203)

If carbon didn't exist, we'd live in a very different world.

Indeed. If carbon didn't exist, you wouldn't exist.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (3, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549263)

um... Hate to burst your bubble, but most explosions are due to nitrates not carbon. Bullets are lead*, and graphite is an excellent lubricant.

-nB

*I know, not any more they aren't...

Re:That any government attempt to control... (2, Informative)

jockeys (753885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549765)

Bullets are lead*,

-nB

*I know, not any more they aren't...

actually, they still mostly are, just usually jacketed with copper. you've got your weird steel/bismuth rounds, too, but that's pretty rare. the military also occasionally uses tungsten and depleted uranium, but again, it's pretty rare.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549823)

*I know, not any more they aren't...

Nah, they still are. The copper you see around them is a thin layer only. The core is till lead.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549447)

I strongly suspect that you are one of those worthless sacks of hydrocarbons. Judging by the tone of your post, I also suspect that your particular breed of hydrocarbons comes from that barbaric planet, "Earth". You people just aren't very bright, are you?

Insightful ? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28549633)

I'm pretty sure this guy was joking. If carbon didn't exist, we wouldn't be here.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (5, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549161)

everything is safe in certain quantities, everything is dangerous in excessive quantities. The fact that a small level of CO2 is not only safe but neccessary has no bearing on whether or not higher levels are harmful to the climate. In fact, most of the science points to a rapid change in CO2 being the causal agent for climate change. It's effects are not uniform but to say that it hasn't harmed anyone is most certainly not a truthful statement.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (0, Redundant)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549413)

> In fact, most of the science points to a rapid change in CO2 being the causal agent for climate change.

No, the fact is that the link between CO2 and global temp is a theory. With some pretty good evidence in the historical record to show a link but the big question the ice cores and other evidence aren't precise enough to answer with certainty is which forces the other? Does CO2 (absent human activity) rise with temp or does it work the other way around. Or do they interact in ways we don't yet understand, perhaps in combination with several other factors.

Fact: CO2 levels have risen over the past decade. Human activity is highly likely to account for much of it.

Fact: Solar activity (sunspots) and solar output (light, especially UV) is down over the past decade.

Fact: Global temp has fallen over the past decade.

Can a conclusion be drawn from those three facts? No. But it certainly doesn't make the arguments for AGW stronger.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549641)

No, the fact is that the link between CO2 and global temp is a theory.

so is relativity, gravitational theory, evolutionary theory etc. A theory in science does not constitute a wild guess.

Does CO2 (absent human activity) rise with temp or does it work the other way around.

From the data I've seen, the answer appears to be both. CO2 levels can rise as the result of higher metabolic activity spurred on by higher temperatures and CO2 can also force higher temperatures.

Can a conclusion be drawn from those three facts? No. But it certainly doesn't make the arguments for AGW stronger.

indeed, there's more to the theory of AGW than these facts, that's why people spend years of work doing research on the matter. National policy should be done in such a way as to both limit government involvement and follow the science; not one or the other. Unfortunately, the two sides have become so polarized and fervently supportive of an either or approach that it's unlikely to end well and both ends are outside the realm of sane policy.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (0, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549577)

Science most definitely has found a correlation between temperature increase, and atmospheric carbon increases. Most certainly.

But, to claim that science has established a cause and effect is either ignorant, or dishonest. Ignorance can be cured, though.

The zealots have proclaimed the cause and effect that you just referred to. Scientist on the other hand, have not made such a proclamation. Look more closely at those charts that the zealots like to refer to. Look very closely at the timelines. It looks like temperature increase often precedes carbon increase. Temp increases often occur simultaneously with carbon increase. None of the charts can put carbon increase ahead of temperature increase. This looks like a case of getting the cart before the horse.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549767)

CO2 levels can and do rise as a result of temperature however, that doesn't have anything at all to do with whether or not CO2 acts on its own to raise temperature. The fact is that CO2 can and does raise temperature, not debatable. You can argue to the extent but not as to whether or not it does. Too much science supports the conclusion that CO2 insulates and raises temperature of an atmosphere to ignore.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (5, Insightful)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549295)

Oh, we aren't taxing Carbon. We're supposedly taxing greenhouse gases. But we aren't really even doing that. Cow farts are completely off the table due to agricultural lobbies. Coal-burning utilities and industries are receiving special treatment, since Democrats get lots of votes from coal and steel-heavy regions. Carbon capture will end up being a wasteful boondoggle. It's not even clear yet whether imports of worthless Chinese trinkets will be taxed based on their carbon usage.

Basically the only thing being singled out for special taxes is oil, which is somewhere in the middle of the list of fossil fuels contributing to global warming. The whole thing is a green-washed sham designed to tax foreign oil in favor of local energy production, without incurring the ire of supernational organizations like the WTO. It's not that we don't need more local energy production, but to pretend that the proposed exception-laden US cap-and-trade system will do anything to significantly reduce greenhouse gases is naive.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549157)

...a huge fraction of the economy will soon degenerate into a free-for-all of special interest group favoritism, graft, corruption, and kickbacks?

You mean we don't have that now?

Of course too many people want to make others pay for their own damage.

Falcon

Re:That any government attempt to control... (3, Funny)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549399)

Hey! Lay off of Obama. Or ACORN will bust your kneecaps.

Re:That any government attempt to control... (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549409)

Thank you for saying so! I tend to say such things and get modded down. The truth usually is.

Nevermind the fossil record shows CO2 (exuded by the ocean [75% of the Earth's surface] actually COOLS the scene, not heats it..)

And they think *I* am the blind religious zealot. :>

The thing about a carbon tax... (5, Insightful)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548667)

...is that it's not progressive. So Joe Sixpack bears a much higher load in proportion to, say, Al Gore. An article by Robert Zubrin [rollcall.com] pegs this cost as $1800 for a family of four. This on top of a 9.x% unemployment rate. Huh.

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (2, Informative)

caladine (1290184) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548853)

WTB Mod points. The linked article is great.

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (4, Interesting)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548987)

So pay a uniform "pre-bate" [1]to everyone equal to the "energy tax" they would pay if their income were x% of the poverty level. (Again, that's a uniform prebate to all adults, with no means-testing.)

Then, the only people whose *net* taxes go up are the ones making above the poverty level and don't reduce energy use. And the poor's taxes (by whatever definition you use for x) don't change. And it retains the incentive for everyone, including the poor, to cut back whatever energy consumption they can.

[1] For those of you with low intelligence or born before 1960, read that as "Mail a check".

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549429)

Ok... I question the assumptions in GP's article, but I also question your solution. It would work fine if the tax were progressive, but if the assumption is that the burden on a poor person is the same as the burden on a rich person, then "prebating" enough that the poor guy's net tax is 0 means everyone's net tax is 0.

Now to be fair, like I said, I doubt the burden would be shared equally. And in fact I'll bet the richer you are, the more carbon credits you end up paying for indirectly. (You heat, cool, and light a bigger house. You take more trips. You buy more manufactured goods.) Probably not enough to make the tax progressive, but enough that the raw dollars of impact would correlate somewhat with income.

So now:

1) How will you calculate the amount of this "prebate"? Will it be figured "per man woman or child" in line with the article's assumptions? How much per? How will ou even begin to estimate this?

2) How will you fund the "prebate"? The government is already in debt, and 300 million times anything is a lot of money to loan out while you wait for carbon taxes to roll in.

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548989)

I have a hard time taking anything he says seriously when, by his logic, my electricity should actually cost about 0.8 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549209)

true, although progressive taxation isn't harmless either. THe money has to come from somewhere whether it be from raising prices, firing workers or reducing investment it will indirecty affect others who don't actually pay the tax directly.

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (4, Informative)

dachshund (300733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549223)

...is that it's not progressive. So Joe Sixpack bears a much higher load in proportion to, say, Al Gore

Whether a Cap & Trade scheme is progressive depends entirely on how you give out the emissions permits. Auction them off and rebate the proceeds to the taxpayer (even if it's a flat check to every American), you have an enormously progressive plan.** Give them away and you have a regressive plan.

Now if you want a progressive version, contact your member of Congress and tell them to support that. Unfortunately, the regressive version seems to be what the most conservative members of Congress want, and since the Republicans are opposing anything, then that's probably what we'll get. It's still better than nothing, and if you want better, then stop concern trolling about it and start voting for more progressive Congresspeople.

** Citation, from the CBO analysis. Sadly I have to give the graph excerpted on this blog page, since I didn't have time to hunt for the original: http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/04/making_cap_and_trade_regressive.php [thinkprogress.org] ).

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (5, Informative)

georgenh16 (1531259) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549237)

9.x% - they don't care if it's over 15%!

Even as Democrats have promised that this cap-and-trade legislation won't pinch wallets, behind the scenes they've acknowledged the energy price tsunami that is coming. During the brief few days in which the bill was debated in the House Energy Committee, Republicans offered three amendments: one to suspend the program if gas hit $5 a gallon; one to suspend the program if electricity prices rose 10% over 2009; and one to suspend the program if unemployment rates hit 15%. Democrats defeated all of them.

-Wall Street Journal

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549519)

The program shouldn't be suspended based on unemployment rates. The unemployment rate isn't going to matter if climate is changed enough that we can't grow food or live in the new climates (drastic temperature fluctuations, more hurricans, etc). Natural systems > economy.

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549245)

...is that it's not progressive.

Nor should it be, you pollute you should pay. The more you pollute, and the wealthy generally pollute more, the more you pay.

Falcon

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549317)

Natural systems don't care what our unemployment rate is.

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549445)

You're setting up a false dichotomy. Implemented correctly, a carbon tax could fairly easily reduce the unemployment rate through the creation of "green jobs".

In the short-term, at least. In the long term, we're all unemployed.

Re:The thing about a carbon tax... (1, Insightful)

McBeer (714119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549737)

An article by Robert Zubrin [rollcall.com] pegs this cost as $1800 for a family of four.

The articles argument is flawed. As I read it, the argument went thusly:

1) By 2015 the carbon price will be about $15/ton
2) United States currently emits about 9 billion tons of CO2 per year
3) The United states carbon output will not change as a result of this legislation
4) 2+3 -> In 2015, United States will emit about 9 billion tons of CO2 per year.
5) There will be about 300 million Americans in 2015
6) Any tax on carbon gets passed on directly to consumers who enjoy no financial benefit in return.
7) 4+5+6-> A group of 4 Americans will have an increased liability of $1800 annually as a result of this legislation

Several of these premises are false.

1- accepted
2- accepted
3 - Probably false though debatable
4- true/false depending on (3)
5 - accepted
6 - False. The taxed money isn't simply thrown in a hole and burned. The government will use that money and thereby reduce the need for other taxes or, more probably, use it to offset the rampant deficit spending already taking place. When the government does things (build roads, starts wars, provides social services, etc) that costs tax payers money. Unless a government is building a large surplus for no reason, taxes do not cost people money. Tax systems just determine who has to pay what portion of the money already spent with the aforementioned projects (build roads, starts wars, provides social services, etc). In this case, everybody will pay some, but those whose actions negatively affect society pay an additional price for it and are thereby incentivized to lessen the harmful behavior. This sort of tax pays for the things we bought and encourages sustainable business practices to boot. A real win-win.

If you want to complain about something, complain whenever the government tries to spend money, not when it tries to collect it. Approving every proposed government project and then screaming bloody murder over every government tax is how got to have the budget problems we now have.

Like your Dad used to say..... (1)

S7urm (126547) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548711)

Anything worth doing is worth doing right!

I think it stands to reason that in order to promote change in industries entrenched in Massive fossil fuel consumption, you have to dangle either a very big and delicious carrot, or have one hell of a punishment system for excessive use of said fuels.

The punishment route would have to be ridiculous in order to be effective, and I would think any kind of Carbon credit system would have to offer enough appeal to make the cost of trading in Carbon credits relevant to the cost associated with finding alternate fuel sources, which I think is a task in and of itself, thus the article mentioned above, the EU seems to have failed at it, and if we start it off wrong, we'll be in the same boat they're in, which is an "Epic Fail" and will be very hard to re-vamp in order to make it more palatable.

Re:Like your Dad used to say..... (4, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549143)

The easiest and cheapest way to encourage the growth of green tech is via tax credits. Make solar, wind, hydro and nuclear so attractive you'd be crazy to build any other kind of generating station. Make it so companies buying green power get tax credits. Make it so much more profitable to make and use green energy that the market embraces it. No need for expensive government investment in shaky new tech - the market takes care of all the R&D. Incentives are the way to go. Carbon markets are bullshit.

Re:Like your Dad used to say..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28549233)

please read mrvan above
-----
you already posted, the reign ends now.

Yeah, funny that. (4, Insightful)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548745)

How about NOT burdening each and every citizen with higher energy costs for some forced and flawed utopian ideal which might result in a whopping 0.2 percent carbon emmissions. further wrecking the U.S. economy and industries.

If the new technologies being talked about, worked on, etc. are not economically feasible because of the current price of other energy generation, too bad.

The solution would be to get the "new" technologies to produce energy at or below the cost of current energy generation, not taxing everyone in oblivion to artificially do this.

Sure, do all you can to help clean up the environment and to minimize or eliminate pollution. I am all for cleaner, greener, etc. I am not for more tax burdens on top of the already increased tax burdens I and many many others are now facing in this country.

The U.S. government is (and has been) in the hands of A) lunatics and B) people that couldn't run a business if their lives depended on it (the greatest majority of them, in any case).

Re:Yeah, funny that. (5, Insightful)

mrvan (973822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549027)

In economics, it is generally accepted that the free market only establishes the right price of a good if there are no externalities. Hence, if producing a good is cheap but has large negative external effects (eg pollution, human harm), the market will price it lower than would be optimal for the society at large, because they are paying the price of the externality (eg by cleanup costs, reduced hapiness/lifespan).

The main ways to 'internalize' these externalities so the free market can do its job are (1) explicitly internalizing the externality, eg making employers responsible for workplace accidents, making mining companies etc pay cleanup costs), or (2) taxing the factor causing the externality so the price is about right. The latter option has the drawback of somehow determining the right value of the externality. A Cap-and-trade system does this by creating artificial scarcity, but the amount to cap is difficult to establish and ultimately a political decision.

What I am trying to say is that cap-and-trade is not some sort of socialist contraption. Rather, it is one of the most natural ways of dealing with a negative externality in a free market system.

Ignoring the externality is a fuck-the-others (in this case, fuck-the-children) mentality that has nothing to do with the ideal free market or (broad and/or long-term) prosperity

Re:Yeah, funny that. (3, Interesting)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549293)

And there is plenty of disagreement that there are much negative externalities about carbon dioxide. Besides that, what you say makes sense.

The other problem is determining how much negative externalities actually exist for carbon dioxide if we assume they do exist.

disagreement about externalities (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549547)

And there is plenty of disagreement that there are much negative externalities about carbon dioxide. Besides that, what you say makes sense.

And how many scientists disagree?

Falcon

Re:disagreement about externalities (2, Insightful)

random coward (527722) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549743)

Well there are these scientists [wikipedia.org] to start with.

Re:Yeah, funny that. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28549307)

It's important to note that the costs of externalities are borne somewhere, and this leads to inefficiencies. Internalization is not just for the sake of idealism. Suboptimal resource allocation occurs when externalities are left alone.

In the case of carbon taxation, by reducing the percentage of power generated by coal, we'll see positive effects like lower asthma rates in urban areas east of Ohio. Lower medical costs in these areas should partially offset higher energy costs. If the cap level is properly set, as mentioned earlier, this is a net win for everyone.

Even assuming small harms, we still get something for the tax, you're not paying for nothing. Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels (either by forcing conservation or by developing new energy resources) makes life long into the future more sustainable, for example.

Re:Yeah, funny that. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549675)

In the case of carbon taxation, by reducing the percentage of power generated by coal, we'll see positive effects like lower asthma rates in urban areas east of Ohio. Lower medical costs in these areas should partially offset higher energy costs. If the cap level is properly set, as mentioned earlier, this is a net win for everyone.

citation please.
Also, do you actually think the cap level will be properly set?

Re:Yeah, funny that. (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549477)

A Cap-and-trade system does this by creating artificial scarcity

So if the US has a cap of X tons, and we reach X-1 tons, is the government going to come in and shut down all CO2 emitting devices?

Cap and trade doesn't really create scarcity because the enforcing agency cannot physically enforce the cap without inciting civil (or probably global) war. Essentially it only works if enough of the parties which produce the capped good voluntarily participate.

Re:Yeah, funny that. (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549535)

Except in this case, the externality is made up (just like all of the other made up environmental emergencies, designed to get us to beg the politicians to remove our freedom, except this one finally stuck).

Re:Yeah, funny that. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28549101)

How about NOT burdening each and every citizen with higher energy costs for some forced and flawed utopian ideal which might result in a whopping 0.2 percent carbon emmissions. further wrecking the U.S. economy and industries.

What's flawed about it? How about some specifics. Also, where's your information concerning the .2 data point coming from?

If the new technologies being talked about, worked on, etc. are not economically feasible because of the current price of other energy generation, too bad.

The solution would be to get the "new" technologies to produce energy at or below the cost of current energy generation, not taxing everyone in oblivion to artificially do this.

Although this is the most insightful part of your post, perhaps the start up costs make these ventures too expensive for short term investment, and the long term payoffs will benefit the entire economy. Be a little more open minded.

Sure, do all you can to help clean up the environment and to minimize or eliminate pollution. I am all for cleaner, greener, etc. I am not for more tax burdens on top of the already increased tax burdens I and many many others are now facing in this country.

The U.S. government is (and has been) in the hands of A) lunatics and B) people that couldn't run a business if their lives depended on it (the greatest majority of them, in any case).

Who in the government has been deemed mentally unbalanced? I'd bet you can't cough up one case of a ruling of "diminished capacity" for a government employee, let alone anyone of consequence.

And what criteria are you using for "people that couldn't run a business if their lives depended on it. That's pretty disparaging to a lot of hard working people that you've never met, and it borders on clinical paranoia.

Re:Yeah, funny that. (0)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549707)

** And what criteria are you using for "people that couldn't run a business if their lives depended on it. That's pretty disparaging to a lot of hard working people that you've never met, and it borders on clinical paranoia. **

Oh, and I have met quite a number of Senators and Representatives over the years, thanks.

Are you even you paying attention to what the US government is spending? Are you looking at what the US government is already committing itself to spending now and in the future? Are you aware that recent spending is going to quadruple the National Debt? If not, you might want to look into this.

It is a matter of simple economics. You cannot spend more than you make for very long and expect an all rosy outcome. The problem with the US government doing it, long term is that the US government doesn't pay for it, so what do the people running the US government really care? It all gets placed on the backs of each and every tax paying citizen, their children and even their children.

As for the rest, the information you specifically asked for cites on is out there, you can easily find it, if you care to look. Do your own research, I have done mine.

Re:Yeah, funny that. (4, Informative)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549131)

The cap and trade bill that just passed the house will simply drive all of the industry further to China and the third world where there are scant environmental regulations.

It was really scary watching C-span on Friday where every Democrat talked about how this bill will create jobs and save the planet. That isn't an exaggeration in the least. Then the Republicans would speak and quote from all of the studies showing how it will destroy jobs and our econonmy. Now that the Republicans aren't in power they are allowed to use some sense.

It was very funny how last Tuesday the bill was at 300 pages then on Friday it became up to 1500 pages and then down to 1200 something pages. It was simply impossible for anyone to have read it, let alone comprehend it.

From what I've read of the bill it sounds a lot like the system put in Spain which isn't doing wonders for their economy and also sounds like Agenda 21 of the UN.

Essentially we are screwed. It doesn't matter who you vote for or what ideology you are, unless you're in the big club your face is being stomped on right now.

Re:Yeah, funny that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28549169)

After all the US uses a fucking big lot of natural resources available right now. And why WOULD you use less if you can't care less?

Re:Yeah, funny that. (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549345)

Since the tax is in addition to other taxation I'd agree; a better alternative would be to *replace* the current disgustingly complicated loopole riddled mess of a tax system with one that is simpler; property taxes, flat income tax or some sort of "fair tax" like alternative. The current system is supportive of spending and acts in effect to favor some individuals over others arbitrarily.

Re:Yeah, funny that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28549355)

Let us revolt and kill the tyrants. You cast the first stone though.

Re:Yeah, funny that. (1)

georgenh16 (1531259) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549377)

The solution would be to get the "new" technologies to produce energy at or below the cost of current energy generation, not taxing everyone in oblivion to artificially do this.

I wish I had mod points. Why is this so hard to understand? Tax free R&D for green tech is the way to go.

Re:Yeah, funny that. (2, Informative)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549521)

** I wish I had mod points. Why is this so hard to understand? Tax free R&D for green tech is the way to go. **

It isn't hard to understand.

The *problem* with it is, the people in power (and you can call them Democrats or Republicans, they both are like this) would lose the POWER attendant upon the Cap and Trade nightmare. It is not about "cleaning up the environment, greener technologies" or anything remotely like that for the politicians. It is solely and only about getting in and expanding their power, damn the country and the U.S. citizenry.

Oh, sure, there are a few good politicians that A) genuinely want to help make the country better but B) they are drowned out by the 1) clueless ones, 2) power hungry ones and 3) the totally spineless ones.

But... taxes actually work! (5, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549453)

Sure, do all you can to help clean up the environment and to minimize or eliminate pollution. I am all for cleaner, greener, etc. I am not for more tax burdens on top of the already increased tax burdens I and many many others are now facing in this country.

One of the best ways to reduce pollution is to tax it. Reducing pollution costs money. The purpose of a corporation is to generate profit for shareholders. Given the choice, no corporation would reduce pollution instead of returning a higher dividend. So, for pollution to be reduced, government has to be involved somehow. There are two possible ways:

  • A blanket ban on technologies. Government says what you can and can't use in your business.
  • A tax that charges the externality cost back to the original product and lets the market produce the most efficient solution

I recommend that everyone who is interested in this topic should read The Undercover Economist [amazon.co.uk] by Tim Hartford, particularly chapter "Crosstown Traffic" subsection "Battling pollution on the cheap". The gist of it is that sulphur dioxide emissions were successfully reduced by taxation to the point where the tax is negligible. Initially, the corporations involved in power generation claimed that it would be impossible to do, that each ton of reduction in emissions would cost thousands of dollars. And yet, within 3 years of an auction based taxation being introduced, the cost per ton had fallen to $70.

Isn't this exactly what we all want? A market based solution to the problem, rather than overbearing government regulation?

Re:Yeah, funny that. (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549487)

If the new technologies being talked about, worked on, etc. are not economically feasible because of the current price of other energy generation, too bad.

Yea, because alternative energy sources can't compeat with coal they shouldn't get subsidies. Only coal, and nuclear, should get subsidies. Here's Chevron teeming with the Sierra Club to end coal subsidies [grist.org] . And here's the freemarket CATO Institute reprinting a Forbes article saying Nuclear power is "Hooked On Subsidies [cato.org] ".

The U.S. government is (and has been) in the hands of A) lunatics and B) people that couldn't run a business if their lives depended on it (the greatest majority of them, in any case).

Like the coal and nuclear industries, we even go to war over oil.

Falcon

reminds me of the anime, "Shangri-La" (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548773)

Reminds me of the anime, "Shangri-La". Carbon credits are sold like on a stock market. Kids have the market under their complete control. It's pretty ridiculous.

And one lesson you can learn *before* failing (5, Insightful)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548785)

The other important consideration is making sure you don't just shift the problem. If only a few countries, or even most of them agree to restrictions, the rest of the world will shrug its collective shoulders, and take on the fossil fuel burning and productino that the nicer countries have kept themselves from doing. Specifically, the BRIC block (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).

Any plan for such a global problem MUST take into account the actions of such "defecting" countries, or you might as well not bother. That can mean using auction revenues to sink CO2, tariffing non-compliant countries (though with blanket punitive tariff on all of their products; it's too much work to figure out the marginal CO2 impact of any one product when they're not pricing its cost in), and yes, even geoengineering.

"Unilateral disarmament" is symbolic at best.

Re:And one lesson you can learn *before* failing (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549105)

Specifically, the BRIC block (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).

Not to mention Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, and Oman. The LEGOBRICs will be the building blocks of our destruction.

Re:And one lesson you can learn *before* failing (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549423)

If you've ever taken a look at the estimates for fossil fuel reserves and economic growth of said countries, the falling production combined with increased demand for fuel may solve the problem anyway. From the estimates I've seen, we're at least 80% of peak production and we're due to hit the max in a decade or so. Production falls off in a bel-curve fashion forcing the utilization of alternatives or economic decline.

Re:And one lesson you can learn *before* failing (2, Insightful)

dachshund (300733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549551)

You're not counting coal reserves, which will eventually tail off as well, but could probably see considerable increase in production (particularly as China continues to develop).

In any case, "solving the problem" --- by burning through so much of our reserves that other technologies become cost-effective --- may not be the safest strategy.

Re:And one lesson you can learn *before* failing (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549697)

Any plan for such a global problem MUST take into account the actions of such "defecting" countries, or you might as well not bother.

Absolutely you might as well bother. Do you really think that we're ever going to convince any of the BRIC countries to volunteer for this, if the richest developed nations won't?

Basically if you only support a cap provided that everyone signs on now, then you don't support a cap.

The best strategy right now is for us, richest developed nations, to implement a cap now. Work the bugs out of it. And --- most importantly it to incentivize technological innovation that will ultimately make compliance affordable to developing nations down the road. It might also make us a lot of money.

Re:And one lesson you can learn *before* failing (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549733)

I agree. If just the first world countries use alternative fuels, then the price of gasoline won't go down since the growing economies of 3rd world countries will counter-balance the effect. We need *everyone* to use alternative fuel... so driving my Hummer is cheaper.

What can the US learn? NOTHING (0, Troll)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548829)

The U.S. doesn't learn anything. It "instructs" and it "enforces" but it doesn't learn anything. When the rest of the world moved to the metric system, every school kid was given a metric ruler and a conversion chart for various weights and measures. We were all moving into a newer, bigger, more progressive world... right? Wrong! Business didn't want to retool -- it was expensive and the older minds were unwilling to adjust. The whole idea of prepping the younger generation was for "them" (that would be "us" today) to do the hard work of converting over so that "we" (the "us" of 30+ years ago) would have a plan in place but wouldn't have to actually do anything themselves. But what happened? That's obvious... "they" grew up, got jobs at places of employment who were still unwilling to retool.

The U.S. still doesn't have a difficult time enforcing our will upon others, but the fact that we still haven't updated our game to work well with others is indication enough of how the U.S. doesn't learn anything.

Re:What can the US learn? NOTHING (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549281)

I will merely quote Churchill here:

The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative.

Success depends on the goal (4, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548847)

If the goal is 'saving the Earth' Europe's carbon tax isn't working very well. But if the goal is raising taxes and growing government control then it is a success.

So it should come as no surprise that the US is eager to emulate the success of Europe's 'cap and trade' regime. The green movement is basically a watermelon, enviro green on the outside and red communist inside. The green movement was subverted and taken over back in the Soviet days when almost every group that didn't take overt efforts at resisting such a takeover was borged and used as a front.

But to their credit even Greenpeace was against the atrocity the House just passed. Because they still have enough true believers in environmentalism left that understand what the cap and trade plan moving through Congress really is. Any benefit to the environment will be a happy accident. They give away almost all of the credits in the short and medium term to political allies to allow them to pollute all they want. The point is to slowly gain CONTROL over vast swaths of the American economy.

If we really want to control carbon emissions a huge new government structure that will always throw 'free credits' out anytime there is real pain (i.e. enraged ratepayers, a plant about to close, a huge sack of campaign cash offered, etc.) so there won't be much real reduction.

No, just put a straight TAX on energy sources that you want to discourage. Personally I'm not a believer in AGW but I could get behind such an effort on the grounds of reducing our dependence on oil form countries that want us dead. But I can't support cap and trade because a) it won't work and b) is a solution worse than the problem.

Can someone please explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28548897)

Can someone please explain why we're talking about charging companies more to do their work when we're already dealing with 10% unemployment and signs that it will still take a while to fully recover?

Re:Can someone please explain (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549495)

Trust me if you think that the unemployment rate has anything to do with why they claim that, you've been hittin' the pipe a bit much.

The same folks were saying that when the economy was booming, and trust me on this, they'll be saying it again when we're out of the recession. That's how fascism works. You appeal to tribalism, and fear to advance corporate interests over the needs of the people.

Wind/Solar Only? (5, Insightful)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548915)

Why is the bill worded to demand that only solar/wind be advanced as renewable when for all intents and purposes Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactors are cheaper (these renewable sources are much more expensive barring an insanely good breakthrough/require MUCH LARGER areas to be anywhere near current power plant outputs) and also renewable in the fact that they burn their waste, then burn their wastes waste, etc, all the way down to burning 90+% of their waste with the remaining byproduct only being slightly hot for 5-10 years?

Re:Wind/Solar Only? (3, Interesting)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549353)

Actually, you are quite right. pity I have no points to mod you up. Nuke Energy is indeed the best bet. Wind? when do you need energy to run the air conditioner? When it is hot and still. Hydro? but that hurts the fishes; Tear out the dams!. Other renewable? Show me one ONE ton of steel smelted by "Green" fuel. over the last 200 years, the winner of every conflict has been the country with the greatest production of steel by ton. Yes I know Nuke is evil (TM) but it is the only green tech we currently have. Yes Green. Of course, Alternately, you could learn Mandarin to speak for better treatment from your masters. mucking manure in a rice farm is after all an eco- paradise...

Embarrassing for the time we live in.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28548937)

1. Carbon Dioxide is NOT a pollutant.

2. Global Warming has been exposed as false (Hence
the name alteration to "Climate Change" in the media. And if it was at all about the greenhouse gasses, CO2 is 5% of which we contribute less than 1% of. Good grief!

3. What's next? Are we going to try to fight Autumn?

Re:Embarrassing for the time we live in.... (-1, Troll)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549289)

Obvious troll is obvious.

Flawed? (5, Insightful)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548979)

Politicians grabbing at money via legislation that's difficult to monitor and enforce, so that companies will invest in technologies that are inefficient or don't exist yet?
How is this a flawed system?

The counterpoint (5, Informative)

dachshund (300733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549021)

As this [tnr.com] article points out (with a nice graph), the market has recovered from its initial missteps. Carbon emissions have been trending down (even before the mega-recession began), and Europe is on track to meet the Kyoto requirements (8+% below 1990 levels) by 2011. The major problems had to do with a lack of data about how much carbon the European countries were emitting. Therefore the cap was set too high. There have been several adjustments since then, and the results have become much better.

One hopes that we'll be able to avoid this, since we have much better emissions data. To my mind, the most important finding of the post above is that corporations are finding massive improvements in efficiency, since the cap has essentially set a price on emitting carbon. This, plus technological development, is going to make the problem a lot less scary than conservative estimates would have you believe.

(Now there are various caveats. The really big one being the ability of nations to "outsource" their emissions by importing from nations with no such caps. But I don't think this is an argument for removing the caps --- rather, we should be finding ways to integrate the trading schemes of those nations with caps, and recover some of the carbon cost on imports from the other nations.)

Re:The counterpoint (2, Insightful)

caladine (1290184) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549673)

(Now there are various caveats. The really big one being the ability of nations to "outsource" their emissions by importing from nations with no such caps. But I don't think this is an argument for removing the caps --- rather, we should be finding ways to integrate the trading schemes of those nations with caps, and recover some of the carbon cost on imports from the other nations.)

This is a massive caveat. I don't think that "finding ways to integrate the trading schemes of those nations with caps, and recover some of the carbon cost on imports from the other nations" is going to work either. The long and short of it is that you'd like to impose some kind of "carbon tariff" on imports from said countries. That'll fly as well a bird with clipped wings, and will lead to retaliatory tariffs. This also says nothing about what the WTO would think about such a tariff in the first place.

breathing tax? (2, Interesting)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549045)

Any Idea how they are going to tax breathing?
I know they have not said they are going to do it; but, see option 3 I think the Libs will like it.
The way I see are
1. Flat rate per person
2. Prorated based on the weight of person
3. Just tax the calories in food.
(Carbon production in people is closely related to calorie intake)
Tim S

Buying the right to pollute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28549079)

I'm all for reducing emissions, higher efficiency equipment and all that but this seems like just another attempt to use 'protecting the environment' as merely another tool to bring in more revenue for the government while at the same time creating an artificial industry that would not exist in an actual free market at all. The industries keep polluting the same except now they are paying more tax for it.

The same goes for the 'pay as you drive' GPS tracking system. Bring in a system like this now under the name of protecting the environment while most cars still burn petrol and have a guaranteed revenue stream for when everyone is driving electric cars. This carbon trading and carbon offsetting business is all bullshit and a great way of making money out of people who don't know any better

Soon you will see companies building pipelines and sending the smoke down to a country that charges less for the emissions. What if you pump it into a chimney 12 miles into the ocean? what if you buy an old rustbarge and set up your factory in the high seas? for some businesses this might be worth doing, but we're all pumping out carbon into the same atmosphere so it doesn't really matter a damn how much you pay for it.

If you really want less pollution and more money push up the price of the fuel, the odds are that the stuff will be burned at some stage after being bought and all this saves the trouble of bringing in a separate system for measuring and trading emissions. This carbon trading stuff seems too bureaucratic altogether - do I get paid for removing carbon dioxide from the air and putting it into bottles, if i have a plot of land with a few trees do they pay me? they should. but they probably don't, ya know why? because it's just a money making scam. a stealth tax if you like

Only dealing with symptoms, not the problem. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28549083)

This is only dealing with the symptoms, just like any other environmental protection scheme.

There is only ONE environmental problem, which is the root cause for all other environmental issues. Solve that problem and all others will automatically disappear.
That problem is overpopulation. massive overpopulation.

Please go on ignoring the problem while jumping to the conclusion I want to kill 95% of the population, probably applying some eugenics on the way, and mod me -1, Nazi .

better question: (1, Troll)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549207)

who gives a shit? this is political/financial news, not news for nerds. TFA never mentions new tech, emerging tech,or existing tech in ANY light that seems slashworthy.

Cap and Trade Issues (3, Insightful)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549259)

What's irritating is that cap and trade can't even do what it's supposed to do anyway.

Consider this: a government says "Ok, we'll only sell licenses to produce 100 million tons of CO2 per year." Factories produce a net 130 million tons of CO2 that year, even though they were only licensed to produce 100 million. There is no mechanism the government can employ to enforce the licenses. They could potentially fine the "overproduction" but that doesn't actually prevent the production of the CO2.

The "credits" bit doesn't work either, and it's even worse than the inability to prevent overproduction. The way I understand it, if I do some activity that offsets CO2 production, I get a credit. The problem is that word "offset". If it was only for sequestration that would be great, but my impression is that if I create a wind farm that produces the same power as a coal plant that would produce 1 million tons, I get a 1 million ton CO2 credit that I can sell to someone else. But since it's possible to create an infinite amount of things that do not emit CO2, there is no cap here either because it doesn't actually prevent the creation of more CO2 - or whatever the target emission might be.

The only real solution is, even though it's not political, is to simply tax CO2 emissions straight up. Those who don't emit don't pay the tax, those who do pay it. For consumers it's simple - you roll it into fuel taxes because CO2 emissions are directly linked to fuel consumption. For powerplants and such you do the same, and the taxes get passed on to consumers.

This solution, I think, has the best chance of actually resulting in the desired outcome without being overly complicated or reliant on false ideas of caps that cannot be enforced.

The biggest issue I see is that CO2 is a byproduct of simply being alive, so you will get into the mess of "do you tax all CO2 emissions, or only those made by machines? What about if some farmer burns brush in his yard? What about campfires?"

In all, it's really quite a mess when at its core people try to dictate the behavior of others. If you offer an incentive and people don't take it, the solution should not be to beat them with a stick and force them to take it.

Re:Cap and Trade Issues (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549623)

In all, it's really quite a mess when at its core people try to dictate the behavior of others. If you offer an incentive and people don't take it, the solution should not be to beat them with a stick and force them to take it.

So if individuals don't stop doing something that negatively effects others even after being incentivized to stop, what do you recommend?

The Great American Bubble Machine (5, Interesting)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549313)

Matt Taibbi, in his article The Great American Bubble Machine, asserts that the next bubble will be the carbon trading scheme. Perhaps that's how the Government and Wall Street plan on keeping carbon credits artificially high. That is until the bubble bursts and they raid our tax dollar barrel... again.

http://www.correntewire.com/great_american_bubble_machine_0 [correntewire.com]

FTA:
The new carbon-credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that's been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won't even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance.

Here's how it works: If the bill passes; there will be limits for coal plants, utilities, natural-gas distributors and numerous other industries on the amount of carbon emissions (a.k.a. greenhouse gases) they can produce per year. If the companies go over their allotment, they will be able to buy "allocations" or credits from other companies that have managed to produce fewer emissions. President Obama conservatively estimates that about $646 billions worth of carbon credits will be auctioned in the first seven years; one of his top economic aides speculates that the real number might be twice or even three times that amount.

The feature of this plan that has special appeal to speculators is that the "cap" on carbon will be continually lowered by the government, which means that carbon credits will become more and more scarce with each passing year. Which means that this is a brand-new commodities market where the main commodity to be traded is guaranteed to rise in price over time. The volume of this new market will be upwards of a trillion dollars annually; for comparison's sake, the annual combined revenues of an electricity suppliers in the U.S. total $320 billion.

Goldman wants this bill.

Keep it straight and make it a tax (2, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549323)

Why complicate the process? It is a tax, call it one and make it one in a straightforward sense. Tax coal at some rate, imported petroleum at some other rate and exempt wind and solar energies. Simple. right?

20 Euros per ton? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549367)

The SAVING GRACE of the program is that shares are so low. This is simply an artificially placed surcharge on an economy. I hope that cap and trade in the US is similarly ineffective.

If the price is small, companies will continue unchanged, passing the additional expense along, slowing down the economy. If the price is large enough that other (more expensive) alternatives are cheaper, companies will switch... passing the large additional expense along, slowing down the economy even more.

Did I miss something? (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549441)

I haven't heard of any proposed legislation for taxing the CO2 emissions of citizens. And successful cap and trade programs for other emissions have been in the U.S. for a while now(check the wikipedia Emissions trading page for examples). I'll gladly rail against any proposed legislation taxing citizens CO2 usage, but I read through these comments and I feel like I've fallen into a forest of strawmen.

And it's fine if you don't RTFA, I mean this is /., but at least RTFS. The stated problem with the EU legislation is that the trade portion of the program was too generous in awarding credits and let pollution continue be cheaper than improving emissions.

Put me in the "It won't work camp" (5, Insightful)

TheJodster (212554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549545)

I will probably be blasted by all the environmentalists in the group, but this simply won't work. My office is two hundred feet from a coal fired power plant. They are upgrading their pollution controls right now. They are spending over $200 million on it. There is a new plant scheduled to be online in a matter of months right next to it. This is the cheapest source of power in the area. It employs hundreds of people. My company had thousands of people last year. The cost of electricity shut us down. All of my friends are sitting at home drawing unemployment. I don't know what they are going to do when their benefits are exhausted. High electricity costs will drive jobs out of America. Power is the primary cost of many manufacturing processes. All manufacturing where power is the primary driver will be done in China, Mexico, Brazil, Iceland, etc. It will be done where there are no carbon credits to buy and the environmental laws are lax. Business goes where its cheap to operate.

You aren't saving the environment by driving out business. The president cited California as an example of good energy policy. A lot of power consumed in California comes from neighboring states that don't have such strict regulations. The government of California is broke. They may not be able to make payroll next month. Is that where we want America to go? Is that our future model?

We are going to drive our businesses overseas. These foreign countries will build power plants to supply their new found industry. They won't care much about pollution other than to pay lip service to it. By the time we are finished cleaning up America's air, we'll all be sitting on our thumbs with no jobs lamenting our plight. On the upside, the air we are breathing during this wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth may perhaps be slightly cleaner than before. If your goal is to reverse global climate change, you are sadly mistaken if you think this will fix it. Other nations will fill in the production gaps. They don't give a crap about the environment. They want power. You gain power by having a happy, well fed, and prosperous population. This is done through industry and jobs. The pollution will simply be outsourced along with your job.

Cap and trade (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 5 years ago | (#28549653)

With the price of pollution so low, economists say, industries that generate and consume energy have no incentives to change their habits; it is still cheaper to use fossil fuels than to switch to technologies that pollute less.

What part of cap and trade don't you understand ? The point is not to change habit, it's to cap emissions at a certain level. The success of this policy is measured by weather or not the cap is respected and what the impact on production is.

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