What the Heck is Cap and Trade?

If many of you are like me, you are casual observers (OK, I’m a frequent observer) of the the news.  There seems to be some new term or program out there.  Who can keep it all straight?  To better inform everyone, I thought it would be useful to explain the Cap and Trade issue.  Don’t know what that means?  Well, I’ll try to tackle that in this post.

I found a decent definition from a “Green” looking website – Ecomii.com

Cap-and-trade is one method that can be used to regulate the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere.  The government sets a cap on pollution, limiting the amount that companies or other groups are allowed to release. The government then issues credits, which allow companies to each pollute a certain amount as long as the aggregate pollution equals less than the set cap.  Since some companies can reduce pollution more cheaply than others, the group engages in trading these permits. Companies that can cheaply reduce pollution sell permits to companies that cannot easily afford to reduce pollution. The companies that sell the permits are rewarded while those that purchase permits must pay for their negative impact. Applied to climate change, this system would theoretically reduce carbon emissions at the lowest total cost.

Co2 Monster - Oooo, Scary!

Co2 Monster - Oooo, Scary!

Confused yet?  As a thinking person ask yourself, “Who does this benefit?”  I can tell you it is not the normal folk in this great country.  This is another boondoggle that is being hoisted on the taxpayers of America to help fund government programs.  How much extra cost will that add to production of a product and ultimately the cost at Wal-Mart? 

It’s so nice that we work hard to institute laws and regulations to tray and tax ourselves into a clean environment.  The fact is that the US is one of the cleanest countries in the world.  Without getting into some nerd-like discussion about the environment, let’s consider things in terms that I can understand.   We can agree that if a country is deemed to be more polluted (lax environment regulations, poor government oversight, third-world / Communist economy, etc.), THEYshould be the ones footing the bill for any supposed problems with the environment.   According to the Associated Press in a story dated from 2006, the most polluted areas in the world are listed below.  Funny, I don’t see the US on that list.   To be fair, I looked at several sources, although many were from sources I didn’t know and didn’t want to list here, but the list was pretty much the same.  

  • Linfen, China
  • Haina, Dominican Republic
  • Ranipet, India
  • Mayluu-Suu, Kyrgyzstan
  • La Oroya, Peru
  • Chernobyl, Ukraine
  • Kabwe, Zambia
  •  

    What does this have to do with Cap and Trade?  Well, I believe it’s all the same issue – Global WarmingClimate Change.  We as Americans are being asked to correct a problem that is really not a problem.  Cap and Trade is just another way to give up our money, to clean the environment when there is no hard evidence that there is a problem in our country – or anywhere else for that matter.  Climate patterns are cyclical throughout history.  The impact that man has had on these patterns is not conclusive and some evidence has surfaced that we are now in a cooling cycle (same as in 1924 & 1974).   In fact, the wonderful edible Cow is responsible for 65 percent of nitrous oxide – much more powerful than Co2.  (Those of you who don’t know, cows fart a lot – that’s nitrous oxide!)

    Bottom line is that I really don’t think it is prudent to further burden our system on theories and suppositions.  I think at this point we’re all in the mood for a little global warming (we’ll wish for global cooling in July and August).

    Of course, that’s just my opinion.

    Rob’s Rant

     

    Sources: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/wm1723.cfm, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=20772&Cr=global&Cr1=environment, http://www.dailytech.com/Temperature+Monitors+Report+Widescale+Global+Cooling/article10866.htm, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15320729/

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    4 Responses

    1. Just a bit of historical facts that may help place Cap And Trade into perspective.

      35 years ago (or so), the US faced a significant dilemma about what to do with toxic waste sites. It created the super fund program where every polluter paid a tax and that money would be spent cleaning up toxic waste sites.

      I’ll tell you who proposed and passed this program below.

      The best chance the US had to stem CO2 pollution was the Kyoto agreement. I know conservatives were against it, but Kyoto forced India and China to meet CO2 objectives. That was back then when the US was on top.

      Today, the US needs China not to dump US Treasuries. This would cause the US Dollar to plummet. The debt, $11T is accumulated debt from Reagan and Bush. It is, of course creeping up. Omaba’s stimulus and all that.

      So today the US cannot impose any deal on China and India, except perhaps through Cap and Trade. Here is how it would work:

      – a polluter will be required to pay a tax

      – that tax could be applied to foreign business on imports

      – a polluter could buy credits from a logging company that maintains forests for growth

      – those firms could be in the US or in any country that has great forests

      I suppose you ask why we need to clean up CO2. CO2 is plant food, but there aren’t enough plants to go around. Regardless of what you may think about CC, CO2 is building up at a rate higher than in the past several million years. It also competes with O2. You don’t want to breathe that stuff in.

      Richard Nixon passed superfund. It was his Administrations idea.

      • 35 years ago (or so), the US faced a significant dilemma about what to do with toxic waste sites. It created the super fund program where every polluter paid a tax and that money would be spent cleaning up toxic waste sites. Richard Nixon passed superfund. It was his Administrations idea.

        Great. Thanks for the info about Nixon. That really doesn’t correlate to the present discussion, but great information. This cleanup was necessitated to clean up waste from polluters. Also, mentioning a Republican President really doesn’t affect me as I’m not one, but I’m glad you let me know. I usually pull the lever for them, but usually as a less than two evils.

        I suppose you ask why we need to clean up CO2. CO2 is plant food, but there aren’t enough plants to go around. Regardless of what you may think about CC, CO2 is building up at a rate higher than in the past several million years. It also competes with O2. You don’t want to breathe that stuff in.

        I not convinced that the Co2 that mankind is responsible for really makes a hill of beans of difference to the overall health of the planet. China has a horrible record in a whole host of areas, but will they eternally damage the earth? Not sure anyone can really answer that truthfully, but I don’t want to throw money at a problem that is most likely not a problem in the first place. I have no idea the amount of total plant life in the world, but I do know that the amount of trees keeps increasing each year in the US due to continued planting. http://forestry.about.com/od/foresthistory1/a/tree_plt_timeln.htm

        I’ve always heard that there are more trees now in North America than when Columbus came to America, but I wouldn’t know how to prove that fact (it would probably be safe to assume the early settlers didn’t replenish the trees when they cut them down)..

        The best chance the US had to stem CO2 pollution was the Kyoto agreement. I know conservatives were against it, but Kyoto forced India and China to meet CO2 objectives. That was back then when the US was on top.

        Kyoto is a farce. It is a punishment on the productive countries (because they can afford it). The countries that have the worst pollution problems (China, India, etc.) really get off well without having to change much. http://harvardmagazine.com/2002/11/problems-with-the-protoc.html

        My favorite word “Boondoggle” comes to mind.

        Bottom line is that I don’t believe in spending money on theories and suppositions. My thoughts really don’t register with the Obama Administration, although they are following my posts on Twitter, http://www.twitter.com/robsrantings, so who knows – but the Cap and Trade idea is probably a for-gone conclusion. The Bush Administration didn’t listen to my thoughts either, although they weren’t quite at technologically savvy as the current Administration. I’m just one pissed-off dude with an opinion – and more than a couple of readers like you. It also allows me to talk (type) with those with a different opinion than me – you don’t learn and grow by always talking to like minded people.

    2. more trees now in North America than when Columbus came [here]

      The reduction in forests is a well known phenomena and cannot be true even if you look at this casually. The midwest was forest and now is farms. NY metro was forest and now is hugely overdeveloped.

      Page 5 of the following independent study provides the radical drop in forests from 1600s
      http://soilcarboncenter.k-state.edu/conference/carbon2/BirdseyPlenary_Baltimore.pdf

      not sure CO2 is a problem to the health of teh planet

      From Harvard Magazine we have this article http://harvardmagazine.com/2002/11/the-ocean-carbon-cycle.html . In it there is a description of how 1/4 of CO2 is absorbed by plants, 1/4 by the ocean, and the rest remains in the atmosphere.

      So what we know is that the planet is not like it used to be. CO2 keeps accumulating in the atmosphere and in the ocean. There is a measurable acidification of the oceans.

      Now in your view, as I read it, these changes are alright with you. You don’t think that it will have an impact – never in a million years I think you once said. Man is too small to affect the planet, is what I think you said before.

      To find out you ask a scientist. Now Inhofe (R, US Senate) has tried to build a list of scientists of repute who would say CO2 doesn’t matter. He couldn’t. Of the thousands of scientists in climate change, his list of 400 came under fire. He added people who were not climate scientists.

      Which means that an overwhelming number of scientists do believe that CO2 is a problem.

      There is a spot in the Gulf of Mexico called the death zone. The zone is where the Mississippi empties into the Gulf. The dead zone did not exist in the 1930s, it just started when the accumulated pesticide use washes down the river and empties into the Gulf.

      So man – just the farms in the midwest has affected the planet. The plant won’t die cause of the Gulf, but that effect – reproduced in other parts of the world add up.

      The point is we don’t live in a world that is so big that people have no effect.

      In my opinion, people who do not take GW seriously are the problem, are the boondogle.

      • The reduction in forests is a well known phenomena and cannot be true even if you look at this casually. The Midwest was forest and now is farms. NY metro was forest and now is hugely overdeveloped.

        I would disagree with your assessment. Yes, trees have reduced in some areas of the country, but since we have made the wonderful tree a crop, there is incentive to take the time to actually grow trees as a viable business. Here is a good quick shot of the crop in the US. The trend chart in this example shows a steep decline from the beginnings of the country but levels off in the 60’s and has started an increase. Land management surely has had some impact on this trend along with timber companies that provide the wood we use in our everyday lives.

        I still believe that we as humans have limited or no measurable affect on these issues. I’ve pointed out the massive emissions of the greenhouse gas methane by the friendly cow. How about volcanoes and their emissions of Co2 and many other nasty elements? This is a great video from Bob Carter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOLkze-9GcI

        To find out you ask a scientist. Now Inhofe (R, US Senate) has tried to build a list of scientists of repute who would say CO2 doesn’t matter. He couldn’t. Of the thousands of scientists in climate change, his list of 400 came under fire. He added people who were not climate scientists.

        To be honest, I haven’t followed Senator Inhofe’s career, but I know he’s a staunch detractor of Global Warming Climate Change. He’s no friend of the greenies. Are you sure this wasn’t Al Gore?

        Bottom line is that the earth is changing on its own. Are we at fault, I don’t believe that the evidence is conclusive enough to spend billions of dollars on the supposed “problem”. I guess in your mind I’m part of the problem, but I can live with that.

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