AbeBooks.com. Thousands of booksellers - millions of books.
Feed on

Cap and Trade

´╗┐We will be hearing more and more on “cap and trade” and it will be sold as being just super dooper for the environment.

There are lots of variations of this scheme which, sadly, is being pushed by President Obama.

The theory is not complicated – those whose industry reduces greenhouse gases will get credits and those who damage it will have to pay. Those who get the credits can sell them to the polluters and thus reduce their penalties. For this to work, obviously the credits must cost less than the penalties.

Sounds pretty good?

Let’s talk about that.

Why should those who don’t pollute or in fact produce energy without polluting be rewarded? Isn’t this a bit like rewarding a person for not robbing a bank?

The companies say, backed up by governments, that what they’re really doing is replacing a polluter – that by producing hydro power they produce “green power” which replaces “dirty power”. This presumes, of course, that private power is “green”, which it clearly isn’t. As always, the devil is in the details.

If you simply say “we use a river without affecting the resource,” that sounds great!

But what if you say, “I will use a renewable resource but at the same time, too bad for the ecology that the river sustains”, you get a very different picture.

In essence the very best that can be said is that encourage one sort of polluter by rewarding him for permanently destroying rivers and the ecologies they are the food baskets for.

The plain fact is that so-called “run-of-river” is not “run-of-river” at all but is a river diversion that takes up to 95% of the river for several kilometers. Resident as well as anadromous fish like the Pacific Salmon are affected all the way from badly to fatally. One also overlooks the rights-of-way that are provided by clear-cutting forests sometimes for 100KMs or more. If you calculate the “greenness” of the watershed it’s not positive at all but heavily “ungreen”.

The result is that those who pollute get credits for not doing so for sale to others.

The result is bizarre, when you think of it. General Electric will receive credits for polluting the hell out of our rivers and can use them to reduce its environmental penalties in the Tar Sands!

In fact, what happens is that a new “stock market” develops so that “green credits” are bought and sold, brokers deal with “futures” and the environment suffers.

As we can see, the fundamental issue is “what constitutes ‘green'” for which we will depend upon Gordon (Pinocchio) Campbell, Barry Penner and similar lovers of the environment.

Leave a Reply