07 June 2014

Obama's Flawed Emissions Proposal: Cap-and-Trade, ''Offsets'' Allow Plants to Pay to Pollute

Saturday, 07 June 2014 10:44
By Gaius Publius, AmericaBlog | Op-Ed

We recently mentioned that we expected Obama's new carbon emission rules to allow a lot of flexibility to carbon companies, include the implementation of "cap-and-trade" as a market-based "enforcement" mechanism.

I put "enforcement" in quotes above, because there's little force in most market-based systems for carbon emissions. Cap-and-trade works better (depending on the implementation) if the goal is to reduce pollution (like sulphur) by an industry you want to preserve (like coal-burning energy facilities). Cap-and-trade works terribly for an industry you want to destroy — like coal-burning energy facilities.

Cap-and-trade is a let-you-down-easy way to regulate, and it generally lets the regulated industry decide how easy.


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