Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Cap-and-trade’s last hurrah

without comments

The decline of a once wildly popular idea

Mar 18th 2010 | From The Economist print edition

Gaia lent an unhelpful hand

IN THE 1990s cap-and-trade—the idea of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by auctioning off a set number of pollution permits, which could then be traded in a market—was the darling of the green policy circuit. A similar approach to sulphur dioxide emissions, introduced under the 1990 Clean Air Act, was credited with having helped solve acid-rain problems quickly and cheaply. And its great advantage was that it hardly looked like a tax at all, though it would bring in a lot of money.


Energy bills have in the past garnered bipartisan support, and this one also needs to. That is why Senator Graham matters. He could bring on board both Democrats and Republicans. Mr Graham’s contribution has been to focus the rhetoric not just on near-term jobs, but also on longer-term competitiveness. Every day America does not have climate legislation, he argues, is a day that China’s grip on the global green economy gets tighter.

Read the entire article here.