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THE QUESTION

Will offsets benefit cap-and-trade systems?

In order to meet proposed curbs on greenhouse gases, policymakers are considering letting industries offset their emissions through everything from conserving tropical forests to capturing methane and no-till farming.

To what extent are these measures equivalent to cutting emissions outright? And what does this say about the benefits or problems of a cap-and-trade system compared to a carbon tax?

Posted by Washington Post Editor on October 21, 2009 7:00 AM
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ALL COMMENTS (29)
Lighthouse99 Author Profile Page :
 

1. Offsets don't work, along with all the other reasons Cap and Trade is wrong,
whether or not one believes that action is needed to specifically reduce CO2 emissions
http://www.ceolas.net/#cce5x
Emission Trading (Cap and Trade, Waxman-Markey Bill):
Basic Idea -- Offsets -- Tree Planting --
International Trade: Manufacture Shift -- Fair Trade -- Surreal Market
-- Allowances: Auctions + Hand-Outs -- Allowance Trading --
Companies: Business Stability + Cost -- In Conclusion

2. You suggest Carbon Tax as alternative = also wrong, either as tax on fossil fuels or as emission tax on power stations etc

Fossil fuels are not the problem - their emissions might be.
Since emissions can be dealt with by carbon capture and storage (even
developed for cars, at Georgia Tech)
- then a neutral solution is simply to allow whatever fuel people
want to use, within defined emission limits, limits that can be
defined by emission tax (cars) or emission limit regulation (power stations).


3. This points to the right way forward:
If CO2 need to be dealt with,
industrial emission limits should simply be set, as with mercury or other substance emissions.

As it happens,
Electricity and Transport sectors alone (80% of CO2 emissions) are sufficient to meet emission reduction targets,
with measures advantageous in themselves (including energy renewability, and that emissions contain much else, whatever about CO2),
long term funded for reduced consumer price impact,
without energy efficiency regulations, without industrial carbon taxes and without cap and trade schemes
http://www.ceolas.net/#cc1x
.

 
alance Author Profile Page :
 

Congress can now be seen on the "Sci Fi" network in addition to C-Span. Whatever happens in nature is now being attributed to global warming, like the current drought in Kenya, according to the LA Times.

Weather patterns and ocean currents are changing all the time. Yet, now, whenever we have a drought - bingo - it is the fault of global warming.

What did FDR do after the Dust Bowl of the 1930s? He put people back to work building dams with the Tennessee Valley Authority, Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River. He started the Civilian Conservation Corps and planted millions of new trees to help prevent drought and erosion.

We desperately need to explore and drill for natural gas and oil in our coastal areas and build refinery capacity so we are not at the whim of Chavez and the Saudis and need to fight foreign wars over supply.

Not to secure our nation's energy needs as soon as possible is crazy. It should be a national priority. Cap and trade is absurd.

 
rktraeg Author Profile Page :
 

Greed will dominate actions
Cap and Trade will not reduce GHG
Lawyers will profit
Gore's business will rake $ in

 
tiktin Author Profile Page :
 

We have a fundamental problem in our society that technological decisions are being made by persons with no comprehension of technology, based on the opinions of a public which has no comprehension of technology either. Most of the pontification on this subject is coming from so-called opinion makers, who don't know anything about it either, but who,nevertheless, feel qualified to pontificate. The technological solution to this problem is easy and obvious, and that is a massive program of building nuclear power plants and dams, converting existing plants, especially coal fired plants, to nuclear power, and converting all our ground transportation (cars, buses, trucks and trains) to electricity. All that is really necessary to accomplish this is for the government to get out of the way and start helping instead of hindering this process. Cap and trade is nonsense. Solar energy is nonsense. Wind power is nonsense. America has a choice: you can go on listening to Al Gore, the "environmentalists", and various other assorted English majors, or you can listen to competent scientists and engineers who know what they are talking about. Take your pick.

 
mb11 Author Profile Page :
 

O'Keefe is correct, offsets,and even caps and trades will create more problems than benefits. In fact, it might even make climate worse. A carbon tax is more transparent and simpler. It will not be easy to control this beast, because the nature of our economy is pollution-intensive. Frankly, in order to effectively cut emissions, we need to transform our economy and behavior radically. It can be done. The industrial revolution took a relatively short time and caused profound socioeconomic and cultural changes. We are due for a Green Revolution, with the corresponding changes.

 
Jimbo77 Author Profile Page :
 

Carbon offsets haven't worked in Europe or Australia! Check the facts. Only cost consumers big bucks and make a few like Al Gore rich!!!!!

 
victorio1 Author Profile Page :
 

These so-called experts have there heads
under water and can't see or hear anything.
To reduce something, you have to reduce it.
Get real.

 
gss49 Author Profile Page :
 

For Kavalair
"Conservative estimates put costs at $1700".
Republican estimates is more like it.
Do a little fact checking and you will find, "The Congressional Budget Office estimates that under the House-passed bill 'the average per-household loss in purchasing power would be $90 in 2012 and $925 in 2050 and would average about $455 per U.S. household per year over the 2012–2050 period.' In the year 2020, CBO calculated, the average would be about $160."
Your $1700 figure has been discredited many times, yet Republicans still continue using it. Why?
Is it because your side loses if the truth is known?
The true costs will start at 25 cents per day per household, and eventually reach $1.25 per day in 40 years!
Fact Checkers:
www.snopes.com
www.factcheck.org
www.politifact.com

 
aswnylaw Author Profile Page :
 

There is no global warming, this is the Big Lie. It's intended to (1) shift massive amounts of wealth to certain groups and (2) provide a pretext for increased governmental control over our lives. Period. Carbon offsets are the modern-day equivalent of 15th century indulgences.

 
skunkdad7 Author Profile Page :
 

These same people gave us the ethanol scam.
Food prices soared and gas mileage went down by 30% .

 
skunkdad7 Author Profile Page :
 

Green technology is not the technology of the 21st century and we are not behind China of all people . Hong Kong today is having pollution problems abound .
This is a scam to tax people and take their money under the premise of helping the earth.
There is no scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and in fact we are in some record cold right now .
Keep drinking the global warming koolaid people ! You will glow in the dark and we can spot you a mile away to avoid your idiocy.

 
kavalair Author Profile Page :
 

Just another bonanza for Wall Street. They'll be making BILLIONS more while the middle class will be annihilated with the excessive taxes that will be imposed on everything they buy--food, energy, gas, clothing etc, etc. Conservative estimates put the annual cost (at a minimum) at over $1700/year. Yet another administration plan to further control our lives.

 
jonfrankanderson Author Profile Page :
 

Like it or not, Green Technology is the basis for the 21th Century world economy. The U.S. is already far behind China, Germany and Japan. This is why we are stuck in a Great Depression.

 
chastb1 Author Profile Page :
 

Over looked by the "liberal" media is a simple fact: it's been proven that only a big lie stated over and over again is nothing but a big lie. This resembles the big lie promoted by Adolph.

 
biglio Author Profile Page :
 

I work in a company that is developing a technology to take CO2 directly out of the air, which means exactly that Al Gore in his plane (and you in yours if flying, or driving or heating your house) and the industries in the Us or elsewhere can reduce their carbon footprint buying credits from us that take CO2 out of the air in Indonesia or elsewhere, but the point is not this, the point is that we are providing a tool to manage the climate risk (can we afford to be right about climate catastrophes? not to have a tool to control the temperature if the direst forecasts should turn true?), a source of CO2 to combine with the hydrogen in the water to get octane, so to be able to have carbon neutral cars, planes, power-plants without changing the technology and finally we will be able to finally have a way to control emissions from the myriad of puntiform sources that will be too hard to control at the source.

 
nosam32 Author Profile Page :
 

This is nothing but a lie to sign over the sovereignty of the United States! The fascist, Obama, is intent on do that very soon! This is a MUST SEE:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMe5dOgbu40

 
BellaLiberty Author Profile Page :
 

The global warning or changing the climate in this planet depends not on CO2 emission it depends more on the our Solar system weather or space weather such as sunspot cycles, solar activity, completion of chief planet's Orbit cycles and their combinations and aspect to the Earth and especially changing the earth climate depends more on Earth's pole and its directions. Earth's Polaris axis precesses very slow over a period of about 25000 years. The term of Precession simply refers to a change in the direction of the axis of rotating object. As this occurs the pole of Earth inscribes an arc in the heavens called the precessional arc. Earth's pole will aligns with different pole stars throughout its precessional period. Polaris is earth's current North pole star.
As Earth's pole precesses, so to does Earth's equatorial plane and subsequently vernal axis { moving in a counter clock wise motion }. Thus the vernal axis " the vernal equinox points " move around the ecliptic at a rate of precession which is currently measured to be about I degree in 72 years making one complete precessional cycle in about 25000 years.The precessional movement the vernal point is called the " Precessional of Equinoxes."
So according to the precessional term and its measurement rate today mostly assumed to be close to 24 degrees and undeniable current our planet Earth's Pole direction is slightly shifting that is the true cause and fact of global warming or climate changing in our planet. Which is also natural disaster and no one can stop it except precautions.

 
BellaLiberty Author Profile Page :
 

The global warning or changing the climate in this planet depends not on CO2 emission it depends more on the our Solar system weather or space weather such as sunspot cycles, solar activity, completion of chief planet's Orbit cycles and their combinations and aspect to the Earth and especially changing the earth climate depends more on Earth's pole and its directions. Earth's Polaris axis precesses very slow over a period of about 25000 years. The term of Precession simply refers to a change in the direction of the axis of rotating object. As this occurs the pole of Earth inscribes an arc in the heavens called the precessional arc. Earth's pole will aligns with different pole stars throughout its precessional period. Polaris is earth's current North pole star.
As Earth's pole precesses, so to does Earth's equatorial plane and subsequently vernal axis { moving in a counter clock wise motion }. Thus the vernal axis " the vernal equinox points " move around the ecliptic at a rate of precession which is currently measured to be about I degree in 72 years making one complete precessional cycle in about 25000 years.The precessional movement the vernal point is called the " Precessional of Equinoxes."
So according to the precessional term and its measurement rate today mostly assumed to be close to 24 degrees and undeniable current our planet Earth's Pole direction is slightly shifting that is the true cause and fact of global warming or climate changing in our planet. Which is also natural disaster and no one can stop it except precautions.

 
jjcrocket2 Author Profile Page :
 

I am so tired of this psychobabble! Al Gore flies around in a private gulf stream regularly, and no one can stop the emissions on the jet!!!!

 
Beeper812 Author Profile Page :
 

Will carbon offsets work? Of course not. But, for those who are in favor of them, it doesn't matter.

 
Beeper812 Author Profile Page :
 

Will carbon offsets work? Of course not. But, to those who are in favor of them, it doesn't matter.

 
alance Author Profile Page :
 

The president at MIT insulted all climate skeptics, which at last count was forty-five percent of the nation. Obama's intemperate remarks reflect poor political judgment.

We can't bankrupt our nation when we're fighting foolish foreign wars and unnecessary drug wars and watching the value of the dollar fall all over the world. Copenhagen Copenhagen go away, come again some other day.

 
DwightCollins Author Profile Page :
 

nobody should get to be wealthy(al gore) from cap and trade...
because it makes it a scam and a ripoff...

 
Aprogressiveindependent Author Profile Page :
 

The idea of allowing American companies to continue their rate of emissions if they "offset' it somewhere else, probably in a foreign country is a ridiculous cop-out "solution." The government, to have any credibility, needs to enact strict laws, with high penalties for lack of compliance, controlling emissions in the first place. Offsets is another sell-out to greedy special interest groups.

 
michaelmelius Author Profile Page :
 

No-till farming is being proposed as a carbon offset, because it means never digging up the soil, which is said to release more carbon into the air. Even new ground brought into production, such as hay or grassland, isn't dug up, but is sprayed with herbicide early in the growing season, and is ready for grain planting soon after.

Here in South Dakota, the no-till offset is being touted as a necessary condition for our Congressperson's support of the cap-and-trade bill. I've heard the value of offset payments for no-till could ultimately be around $20 billion for U.S. farmers.

No-till is already widely practiced in grain-growing regions of the this country, having been adopted in the past 20 years or so. In SD, it's become the rule. So this carbon offset would certainly be a waste of funds, paying farmers to do what they are already doing.

No-till farming may save soil carbon; I think that's still an open question. It does use less motor fuel, through the decrease in energy-intensive tillage operations. No-till is chemical-dependent, as herbicides are used for weed control. No-till does save soil moisture, so crops are being planted more densely, requiring heavier applications of fertilizers. Yields per acre have gone up as a result.

Is no-till ecologically & economically sustainable? We'll see. Right now, it appears to be quite successful. In South Dakota, we're seeing the last of our prairies disappear under the onslaught of no-till farming to provide the carbs for ethanol. No-till farming is a threat to prairies and other natural habitats around the world.

 
gneubeck Author Profile Page :
 

With the Nation in a deep recession, the Democrats in the House Of Representatives; and, now the Senate, without even knowing the content blundered thru Obama's "Cap and Tax Bill". Legislation that could well topple our economy into a depression. Pure fiscal insanity. For the Kool-aid addicts who believed Obama when he said that he would give a tax break to 95% of Americans, hold on to you wallets and prepare for the largest single regressive tax increase in American history. This "Global Warming" fraud will prove to be the biggest jobs killer ever conceived; and, simply ship millions of America jobs overseas to countries such as China and India. The next time you hear the ranting of an Obamanite, ask them why there is "NO" statistical correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperatures (the latter which actually have slightly decreased over the last decade) -and- why the temperature trend lines on Mars tracks identically with that on earth. ((Hint: the Sun is the only common denominator.)) In brief: global temperature variations correlate precisely with Solar activity. As for the sustained hype over Ice Cap melting and sea level rise, Ice core drilling in the fast ice off Davis Station in East Antarctica shows that last year, the ice had a maximum thickness of 1.89m, its densest in 10 years. The average thickness of the ice at Davis since the 1950s is 1.67m. To emphasize the importance of these statistics, Antarctica contains 90% of the world's ice pack. Now you know why the inventor of the internet, Albert Gore, refuses to debate the issue. If the Global Warming enthusiasts were sincere in their intent to reduce CO2 emissions they would be actively promoting the significantly expanded use of Nuclear Power for America's electrical energy generation. The logic in this dilemma is exceedingly transparent, our Dictatorial Marxist, Barack Obama, simply wants more control over your activities and lifestyle; and, the health of the American economy be dammed. It's essential that we clean house in the upcoming elections. Greg Neubeck

 
GregJolysGhost Author Profile Page :
 

This is the perfect scam. It is totally unverifiable, it's performance can be interpreted any way the proponent wants, It makes the proponents all feel good about themselves, and it steals money from gullible believers. It also confiscates money from non believers. Al Gore, you're a genious. Just make sure your heating system works, I hear it will be a cold winter.

 
Marc-PA Author Profile Page :
 

With fairly recent scientific data coupled with the newest polls, it amazes me that this is still a consideration. While a number of scientists are still holding to the idea that CO2 is a pollutant, Truly empirical data proves otherwise. The only way this "Playstation" weather science holds up is through the constant bombardment of the pied piper media through the politics of the far left. I am all for preserving the environment, but let us be sensible about what changes need to be made, and realistic about a timeframe. There is no sense in shutting down the engine of industry, extending poverty and making life for the average Homosapien harder than it has to be.

 
prossers7 Author Profile Page :
 

Amazing, you people don't even believe in God, yet you believe in carbon offsets.

 
 
 
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