Views and debates on climate change policy
Home | Panelists | Staff Blog | RSS


Cap-and-trade alternatives

If the Senate moves away from a climate bill that includes cap-and-trade -- a strategy, which allows companies and organizations to buy and sell pollution credits to meet a national limit on greenhouse gas emissions -- what alternatives should be included in the bill instead?

Posted by Washington Post Editor on March 5, 2010 6:00 AM

Make a Comment  |  All Comments (25)

thgirbla Author Profile Page :

Here's an idea................ about less polution by the Fed. Govt. into the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer/Citizen/Voter !!!

raydh Author Profile Page :

The use of oil in internal combustion engines is an inefficent use of energy. It is also a major national security issue because it funds countries and organizations that don't like us. It has been a major cause of wars in the past 100 years.

I propose a simple per gallon tax of $1.00 per gallon increasing at a rate greater than inflation. However, this should not be a revenue grab by government. Instead, it should be refunded back equally to each taxpayer who files a return since fuel usage is generally not a function of income.

Unfortunately, it is likely that coal will be required to generate the electricity needed to charge electric cars to replace oil powered cars. However, theere are significant non-climate related reisks related to water and land quality during mining, acid rain from burning, and waste disposal of the ash. Improving these practices would benefit the local environment around those locations. Increased regulation would increase the cost of coal which would further encourage energy conservation.

larycham Author Profile Page :

Some of these comments reflect an easy cynicism and skepticism--and you seize on the misdeeds and (very few) false statements in the IPCC reports. But, the basic science remains unchanged. It may seem tainted by those who wish is were not true, but warming is occurring and its consequences are becoming evident more quickly than ever. There are implications for our survival in the long run, and in the short term there are implications for national security as water and food become more scarce in a scorched Earth. Politics can wait; action is required now.

ChefRobert Author Profile Page :

Why won't the bureaucrats call cap and trade by it's real name. "Tax, Loot and Rob the working people of the USA. I would like someone explain to me how the New Messiah is going to stop this old earth from rotating and the climate from cycling? I find those in Government, totally arrogance, fully incompetence and totally corrupt, so how can I trust them when they are bought and have sold their soul.

makom Author Profile Page :

Spread the word people. The mark of the beast on your forehead is when you accept the Anti-Christ through blind faith. The mark of the beast on your hand is when you accept the Anti-Christ through gifts. People Obama is the Anti-Christ that you have all read about. You have been warned. The future is not set and can go in two very different directions. Get involved and help stop this massive take over.

meinsenkaye007 Author Profile Page :

I remember when being "green" was just a marketing ploy targeting environmentally concious consumers.
When it became a psuedo-fanatical movement designed to extort billions of dollars from global economies, it seemed to change into a form of class warfare, pitting nation against nation and economy against economy.
With the disclosure of false evidence and exaggerated effects, the whole movement has become tainted.
It will be hard to revive without indisputable evidence and a global commitment that is driven by a desire to improve the quality of life for all humans, not just for financial redistribution.

cooprego1 Author Profile Page :

the key to moving us away from a carbon based economy is to reward those with new energy ideas, not to punish those without them. With how hot companies create new apps for phones and new car technology, we should be able to come up with something if we convince the inventors that they will be the next big "it" thing. That stroking of their egos should be enough to get the ball rolling... Tell them they can't possibly be smart enough to invent something, they'll bite.


The recent “Climategate” incident of climate science manipulation has shaken the foundations of both the science and politics of global warming. And when seen by those for whom environmentalism is a religion, Climategate reporting is blasphemy, herecy and sacrilege. Climategate has environmentalists and climate change crusaders scrambling to defend the crude and unsettled science of global warming proliferated by the U.N., E.U., Obama’s E.P.A. and the thousands of eco-nonprofits around the world that have leveraged gratuitous green lies as a routine fund-raising tactic.

As with most religions, environmentalism also has its false prophets, and its extremist followers. Here the ecologista claim moral authority by requiring your adherence to the cause of environmentalism. Your personal commitment and sacrifice for their fanciful and costly climate change imperatives provide your path to environmental enlightenment, purity and ultimate green redemption. Al Gore, one of environmentalism’s false prophets, has prospered mightily from the global warming hysteria he has promoted. Gore is not only a climate campaigner and partisan political operative, but also a green profiteer positioned to capitalize on government climate regulations such as the cap-and-trade carbon tax systems and renewable energy programs. He also operates a $300 million global propaganda campaign to eliminate coal and oil use in favor of unproven renewables.

E.P.A. regulations designating carbon dioxide a "pollutant" have prompted numerous business and government interests to challenge E.P.A. findings in court, and stop the costly new carbon cap-and-trade controls. These trials will ultimately require E.P.A. to prove the scientific cause and effect involving manmade greenhouse gases and global warming – the theories of global warming would be put on trial.

Corporate enterprise has also withdrawn its investments and ad campaigning for green policy priorities and products. Except for those for whom environmentalism is a practiced religion, eco-themes and incentives have been largely exhausted in our fickled popular culture. Speculative spending to fix eco-issues for political expediency during economic recession will only hasten and lengthen a global economic collapse, with far greater human suffering, conflict and pollution than any of the worst-case scenarios being proliferated in environmentalism's 21st-Century climate crusade.

Given recent climate frauds, it is clear that partisan ideologies and cultish environmentalism have replaced prudent science and economic realities in climate policy. What is also clear is that environmentalism no longer offers any product or service in support of our future security and prosperity. Militant environmentalism and green-obsessed bureaucrats have become an “axis of antagonism” that we can no longer afford. Yes, the Green God has died from its own hubris and corruption. May it, and its extremists, rest in peace.

kwdawg Author Profile Page :

Will someone please tell us or show us where it can be found, the numerical data and calculations of the worldwide reduction of emissions and over what period of time as well as the sources of emissions reductions that would in each case bring the CO2 concentration to 350PPM or prevent the rise to 450PPM. For now, just assume these are the critical concentrations under consideration. If there is an answer to these questions then we can begin to see the size and scope of the presumed solution to the hypothetical problem and work with that for a while.

The blizzard of back and forth about the models has become noise and it would seem helpful to have a better idea of just what would need to be done and when with some big numbers but no more than three significant figures to consider.

Example: If the worldwide emission of CO2 is reduced by 4 metric gigatons by 2020 and held at that level for the next 80 years this would result in an atmospheric concentration of CO2 of 420PPM by year 2030 and 380PPM by 2100. The emission reduction by country at year 2020 would be USA, 1.4 Gigatons, China 1 Gigaton, Western Europe 1 gigaton,etc. Then by country that could be further broken down.

With numbers like this, you could work on a plan. Or you could begin to determine the probablity that any proposed plan would be successful. With respect to the concept, what would be the effect of a Cap and Trade bill and how in detail would that work?

Pilot1 Author Profile Page :

As each week passes the so called science is exposed for what it truly is, manipulated data to support a political attack on freedom. The American people and the world know it is all a farce, it is just the members of the cult of global warming who don't get that they have been played as the fool.

Common sense measures that make sense such as replacing all coal fired plants with Nuclear, Hydro and Geothermal plants need to be taken. Quit wasting billions of taxpayer funds on wind and solar which are nothing but a political payoff for the left's darlings and will do nothing to help with energy issues.

Use the coal to make fuel for our vehicles. It is very clean and again a proven technology that will provide us with cheap fuel, low emissions and independence from folks like Chavez.

HEGARTY111 Author Profile Page :

Causing every product to cost more wouldn't benefit the economy or help those who have little money now.

bbwk80a1 Author Profile Page :

I am in the mood for just one more important law. Here's how it should read:

For every new law created in Washington, five old ones should be eliminated. For every new dollar spent, two dollars should be saved by government.

demcapu Author Profile Page :

Cap-N-Trade: I'll trade you three dirty whores for one clean virgin. With cap-n-trade, we don't reduce CO2 sinning, we just spread around the screwing of Mother Nature.

highkey11 Author Profile Page :


1) Nuke Power & improvements
2) Improved coal emission systems
3) Laboratory expenditures on future power

**Like Reagan not launching Stars Wars systems - the technology isn't close to operational as far as storage for hydrogen or the platforms

KimTN Author Profile Page :

Move forward with the cap and forget the trade; let's not create yet another market to for the insiders to manipulate. If the true goal is reduction in carbon emissions and pollution - then set the caps and move on with it -

We can't worry about what other countries will or won't do, we have to do what we know is right to protect human/animal health and our planet's precious land, air and water.

Cap, cap and cap according to realistic industry available technologies - start with clean and green technology incentives and tax rebates; implement industry specific graduated caps; and then on with graduated further reductions in those caps. After that, out the companies for non-compliance and their disregard for their impact on human health and the environment - Finally, fine, fine, and FINE and make the fine a sizable percentage of revenue - so that companies that won't adjust or comply, will eventually fail.

For the worst, necessary polluters without alternative technologies available, in development, or on the horizon allowances must be made - but not in terms of human health - We must mandate that those industries have rotating teams of EPA managers on site to closely oversee the management of carbon/toxic emissions and discharge - to minimize the environmental impacts.

Just like American workers have been forced to adjust and learn new skill sets because of worker replacement technologies, we need to force industries to do the same with clean/green technologies, regardless of the

twm1 Author Profile Page :

There appears to be no one on this panel with credentials as an actual environmental scientist. I don't understand this. There are representatives of industry, the legal expert on environmental policy at NYU, etc., which is OK. The appearance of Ben Lieberman is especially puzzling, since he has no credentials of any sort concerning the environment. He is an accountant and a lawyer. His only claim to be included is as a spokesperson for the right wing Heritage Foundation, but there are far more respectable and more qualified organizations and individuals to express the conservative position on this issue.

Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness Author Profile Page :

Let's look at this logically?

1. Anybody in favor of taxing the "fizz" in soft drinks?

2. What will the plants consume as food, if there is no CO2?

3. With all of the moola that Al Gore has dumped into "Green Technologies" and the vast amount of wealth that is waiting, with "Cap & Tax," isn't there a conflict of interest?

4. Realistically speaking, who stands to benefit from a new tax scheme?

This "Cap & Tax" bill should be known as the "Tax Everything Under the Sun Act of 2010." Does King Obonehead plan on creating the "Green Police" and "create or save jobs" in this manner?

Remember, Republicans say, "The more you work, the more you keep."

Dummycrats say, "The more you make, the more we take."


thiggi Author Profile Page :

There is bound to be a lot of bloviating in these comments - but, if you are sincerely interested, please read this pdf, a detailed explanation of how an ideal CARBON TAX would function, complete with economic forecasts.

It is a policy that lets the market choose winners and losers, let's consumers choose exactly how much they are willing to emit, and reduces taxes on the money you earn.

Metcalf, Gilbert E (2007) A Proposal for a US Carbon Tax Swap.

jyalan Author Profile Page :

Wasn't the whole point of all this to quell the fever that we toxic bacteria are causing in our planet host? Cap and trade would result in virtually no reduction in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It would simply be more enormous cash handouts to corporations who simply do exceed their pollution limits. Cap and trade is simply more PR packaged neo-liberal conniving.
The only real solution is a cap system with perpetual incremental reductions coupled with penalties and fines extreme enough to act as a real and non-negotiable deterrent.

thelaw1 Author Profile Page :

The fact that human emissions are treated differently than natural emissions shows that this is purely political.

I mean this is the argument: Humans cause global warming. The debate is over. All the scientists in the world agree.

Facts that are troubling have never been correlated to the above arguments:

Mt Pinatubo in one eruption produced the full complement of human produced gasses since the dawn of the industrial revolution. That must mean that human produced gasses some how have a different greenhouse effect than their natural counter parts.

You are being asked to believe that one volcano can make all the emitted gasses from humans in 200 years, and yet it is humans that cause global warming.

Add to this inconvenient fact, one more. For the last 100 years we have had warming and cooling periods that did not relate to CO2 concentrations. Why where the 1930's hotter than now?

Why did the 1890's produce large storms not blamed on global warming? When today's large snow storms are being blamed on AGW?

It is such an outrage that we have a president and a political party that wants to the AGW hoax to provide economic justice by redistributing wealth.

Common sense and logic may re-enter the debate, but not with the out of control congress and administration we have currently.

Beeper812 Author Profile Page :

We should cap the mouths of the proponents of this hoax and trade them to anyone who'd take them for anything we could get for them. I suspect the diminished hot air would lower the temperature.
BEep BEep BEeper812

jyl1st Author Profile Page :

Robert has it right. The alternative to Cap & Trade is a carbon tax- the government needs to set price signals for "bad" energy and "bad" behaviour (activities that emit carbon into the atmosphere), encouraging industry/businesses and people to move to "good" or clean energy and non carbon emitting behaviour. However, since GCC is a global problem, the congress and the state dept still need to move towards either a global agreement or a multi-lateral agreement with the BRIC at least (Brazil, India, China and Russia), along with the EU. The agreement must address the issue of North/South Equity.

12thgenamerican Author Profile Page :

it's a freaking hoax aimed at a united nations power grab. bye bye dems and rino's.

alance Author Profile Page :

It is foolish and fuelish to try to save the world. We should concentrate on our own hemisphere - North and South America - with emphasis on North America with reforestation and energy conservation.

We need new national building codes mandating adequate insulation, site orientation, insulated windows and passive solar energy designs to save energy.

We should concentrate on natural gas and explore for it where ever it may exist. Existing homes should be retrofitted for energy savings.

magnifco1000 Author Profile Page :

Cap and trade is dead because it is simply not going to be accepted by the world we all live in. Any attack on global warming has to be tackled globally. It does little good if the USA installs a few windmill power generating fields while China and India are bringing coal fired electrical generating plants on line. And, that's why cap and trade is dead. China has millions of rising consumers, hungry for cars, computers, and HDTV's. So does India. And we haven't even gotten to the millions who live in Indonesia and Africa yet. Global warming, existing or not, it's a lost cause and America attacking it alone cannot possibly work. We only sink our own economy. All we can do is hope that we are lucky and global warming ends up being much ado about nothing.

Contact Us
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company