Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The scoop on Cap-italism and Trade

We’re hearing more and more about cap and trade as the newest, latest greatest way to clean up the environment.

Few can argue that the environment doesn’t need love and attention. Our kids can’t swim in the same creeks we did growing up. Landfills are overflowing. We’re spewing pollutants into the air.

Cleaning up our collective act is a good idea.

But, cap and trade? What is it really all about?

For starters, it’s government regulation based on financial incentives and disincentives. You will be assigned so many pollution “credits,” be it for your company, home or vehicle. If you’re a heavy polluter, you’ll need more. If you’re environmentally friendly, you won’t need all you get.

The objective is to “reward” the environmentally friendly folks with what amounts to extra credits and allow them to sell the credits – for a profit – to the piggy polluters of the world.

Make money if you protect the environment. Spend money if you don’t.

Pretty simple concept – until you look at it a little closer. Who is going to handle the swapping and selling of the extras?

Brokers. Traders. Middlemen.

Yes, my friends, we will be buying and selling emission credits on the “open” market. There is money to be made. Speculators will find a way to weasel in on the action – when do they not?

And the green machine will be turning. The problem is that it will be the wrong green machine.

Companies needing credits will most certainly pay – dearly – for them. That additional cost will once again be passed along to me and you, the consumers.

With all of this money being made, how much of it is designated to be spent on the environment? After all, it is the reason why we’re doing all this capping and trading, right? Not so much of a plan in that area just yet.

If financial disincentive is the only means to effectively reduce environmental damage, then let’s go with the cap only system. No trade.

If you don’t need more credits, you get a tax break. If you need more credits, you get hit – hard – in the pocketbook.

That cuts out the middleman who drives up unnecessary costs to consumers. (Remember fuel speculators and the summer of $4 gas and $5 diesel?) It rewards the environmental stewards and punishes the offenders. No games. Cut-and-dried.

Keeping it simple will keep out artificial inflation and cut back on harmful emissions – without all the money-making games cloaked in feel-good green.

4 comments:

  1. Clean up the environment? Sounds like a noble cause to me BUT who is driving this show and how much MONEY are they going to make? Just as with any other government program, you need to follow the money!

    I think it is interesting that there are those who are willing to jump on board in the name of "environmental cleanup" when no one, not even the experts who study the cause and effect of pollution, can agree on how to effectively control the problem or even worse, can‘t agree on what is really causing it! Case in point: CA has enacted all these pollution requirements for vehicles, especially the trucking business. I receive emails from several experts who are scientists and live there, who say all the current regulations do is cause an additional burden on the vehicle owners and has little or no impact on pollution problem . . .the real winners are the companies who are providing the retrofits for vehicles and sell new the new ones!! Does that surprise you?

    For those who say we are not doing enough, maybe they need to take a road trip! There are windmills popping up all across the US generating electricity which has to be converted for domestic use. There are more and more options being developed every day to become more energy efficient in our homes, with our vehicles, and with our businesses. Progress has been slow but steady - these changes may not be happening quickly enough to suit some, but inroads are being made towards a better environment and a healthier way of living. And these changes were NOT initiated by the Department of Energy . . .they were initiated by our local providers! If you travel in CA you will see windmills by the thousands, and many of them are NOT moving - does anyone besides me wonder why?

    For those who accept that we HAVE to have "Cap and Trade", perhaps you should ask yourself what effect we can reasonably have on the rest of the world if we tax ourselves into oblivion, and the rest of the world continues on its present course of pollution and disregard for the environment. We can't MAKE the rest of the world become more eco-friendly without their willing cooperation. How will we lead by example if we have totally obliterated our country's standard of living and destroyed our democracy in order to attempt to save the environment?

    With all of the government spending and indirect taxing that is being discussed, why should we TRUST any of them to do what is BEST for us? Who will pay our bills when we owe Uncle Sam $6 our of every $5 we no longer earn? The answer, ladies and gentlemen, is NOBODY because we are not important enough to warrant their attention and concern.

    So am I in favor of "Cap & Trade"? No because this isn't THE solution, it is only the beginning of another way to control us, and once we let them open that door the government is going to require more and more from us until we no longer are able to comply.

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  2. As the writer of this blog you certainly are optimistic if you think for one moment that government is not CREATING this program to make SOMEBODY a lot of money. And just so you know for sure, it ISN'T us!!!

    You make it sound like you think this is the "One Big Solution" for all our environmental problems, the best thing since sliced bread! Well, after people like you pay your increases in utilities, gas for your car, and lots of other things you haven't even thought of, you write again about how wonderful you think Cap & Trade is!!

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  3. The REAL problem is that it will most certainly but the brakes on our economy. And drive the costs of everything we as consumers buy up, and in some cases significantly. People that cannot afford either the energy credits or the punishing taxes will have to shut down. While I don't have a problem with America leading the way on setting standards, I think that are other countries that should clean up their act before we impose punishing measures on our businesses and the whole US population.

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  4. Hey, anonymous dude who posted at 7:22 a.m. on June 12 -- I think you got the whole point of the blog wrong.

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