Cap and Trade Bill
Another curious feature of the is that we are buying and selling carbon emissions like stocks and bonds. If you pollute to much greenhouse gases, you can trade them to someone who doesn’t emit too much. The polluters can trade pollution between themselves, which reminds me of a recent incident on Wall Street, where they were left to their own devices and came up with a scam which still has the world economy in turmoil. The theory was to limit whatever is being capped, like co2 emissions through market forces, however, most economists consider this plan not regulatory, but rather a tax, as in cap and tax. As is stood, the cost of this legislation would not trickle, but flow down to Joe And Jill consumer, and hurt an already unstable economy. With the mid term election now over, and the Tea Party and Republicans back in power, the cap and trade bill is all but dead, at least for the time being.
Not that it matters much, as the cap and trade system to me is just another rich persons financial playground, and they were taking aim on making billions from the deal off of the taxpayers and those whom can ill afford it. Would it have reduced co2 and other greenhouse gases like it’s original intent was before some Wall Street Gambling Addicts got a hold of the concept? Probably not, much like Wall Street, Detroit, and the Banks have regulated themselves, the pollution industry (primarily energy and industrial) will not reduce their emissions, just trade them around in one big, behind closed doors revolving door. Innovation and ingenuity are all fine and dandy, but when the power structure of the affluent and their status quo is threatened, they will not go easily. I imagine we will continue to burn coal and oil till the last drops of both are literally squeezed out of the earth before we finally realize that we are out, just like a junkie trying to get his last fix. The concept that this would, in any way reduce greenhouse gas emissions is preposterous from the standpoint of the current mindset of Corporate America, especially Corporate Energy America, which includes the likes of Exxon, BP, Massey Energy Company, to just mention a few. While some are trying to make changes, I imagine most are happy with the current status quo and will keep doing business as usual, make a few greenwashing adjustments to appease the green movement, but in general, do things the way they have done for the past century.
With the GOP now regaining control, they may try and strip the EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases, like they did earlier this year. The President has vowed to veto any such measures though. In 2007 the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA had the right to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, but it was not mandated to act on it. Regulators openly admit that this alternative is more economically harmful than the cap and trade system. The EPA plans to start regulating greenhouse gases from power plants and oil refineries as of January 2, 2010. Obama and the current EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson have said they would prefer to tackle the issues through legislation and Congress though. Obama stated on November 3, 2010 however, that the EPA “wants help from legislation on this.” The Obama Administration may be signaling a willingness to find alternatives to EPA action, according to Washington lawyer Scott Segal, a lobbyist for some of the coal fired utilities, such as Southern Co. and Duke Energy Corp.. The president however, remains committed to going forward with “common-sense” regulation of greenhouse gases by the EPA, according to Heather Zichal, the Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.
In the business model, they have their own plan, if all else fails and they don’t get their way, which is to tie the EPA up in court, as they did for the last big clean air act, which was held up for a decade due to legal challenges. This is the business as usual model which undermines any considerable hopes we have to make major short term changes to our impact on climate change. So in essence here, cap and tax is dead in the water, at least for now. When you tie finances to climate change prevention, I have serious doubts. Whenever money is involved in any dealings, it becomes more of a battle than a debate, and greed and power become relevant issues. While the initial plan for this trade plan may have been worthy, once lawmakers and financial gurus got a hold of it, the promise of anything good coming out of the cap and tax plan were swept away.
With the current economic status of America, let alone the world, this is as bad a time as any for any measures to financially regulate such a big problem. The President will stand by his pledge as part of the United Nations climate treaty talks, when they meet to negotiate in Mexico next month, to reduce emissions by 17% by the year 2020. The goal is honorable, the means to get to that goal are questionable. With climate change now becoming big business, now everyone wants a piece of the pie, and greed may wind up being the worst enemy of the green movement again, this time in a role reversal. What we really need to evaluate here is our whole economic structure, as it is apparently only working for those with most of the money. They control the government in one way or another, and their isn’t much anyone can do about it anymore. We can hope climate change will go away, hope that it is a myth, hope that it is just a normal cycle, but the bottom line is co2 and other greenhouse gases directly correlate to global warming, whether they be man made or not. To not think that spewing out billions of tons of the crap daily makes us at least partly responsible is so utterly insane that it boggles the mind, and that amounts to 66% of the population apparently, as only 34% think that climate change is linked to human activity. So if you think the worst is over, your in for a big surprise. Things are just starting to rear their ugly head. This is just the beginning of things to come. Maybe we will finally agree on something once Washington is 20 feet under water, but by then it will be too late. We have the power and the innovation to change what we are doing, and it doesn’t have to be about money, power, fame, or glory. What it does have to be about is protecting our homes, like we fight for our nations in wars and threats. We need to take that attitude towards protecting our real home, and that is planet Earth. The cap and trade bill may be dead, which may or may not be a good thing, but the fight has just begun to save the planet!