Cap and trade is an environmental policy tool that delivers results with a mandatory cap on emissions while providing industry sources with flexibility in how they comply. Successful cap and trade programs reward innovation, efficiency, and early action and provide strict environmental accountability without inhibiting economic growth.
The goal of this legislation is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned to create energy. The increase in these gasses over the last century has been shown to contribute to climate change and global warming. The incentive created by Cap and Trade is for industry is to invest in renewable green energies as a replacement for the current dependence on fossil fuels (mostly oil and coal) to produce energy.
Examples of successful Cap and Trade programs include the nationwide Acid Rain Program and the regional NOx Budget Trading Program in the Northeast. Additionally, EPA issued the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) on March 10, 2005, to build on the success of these programs and achieve significant additional emission reductions.
Essential questions for critical thinking (you can substitute or add others):
- What proof is there that global warming is caused by increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?
- How do the benefits of Cap and Trade legislation compare to the costs?
- How is a carbon tax different and also the same as the Cap and Trade legislation?
- Who opposes Cap and Trade and why?
- How can this legislation help to promote the development of green energy?
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Also in SIRS Knowledge Source in the Pro vs Con box select “more issues” then select Global Warming