Young Economics.

Big Oil whines on Waxman-Markey’s Cap-and-Trade

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As you may have heard, the US is getting close to passing legislation to help curb greenhouse gas emissions.  The Waxman-Markey bill would require polluters to purchase emission permits from a capped aggregate pool, with the total available falling over time.  It’s essentially a cap-and-trade idea.  For a little background, here’s an opinion piece by Paul Krugman:  The Perfect, the Good, the Planet.

I have always been skeptical about the ability of government to take active steps to help reduce our emissions.  It seems that the public sector is enamoured with successful industries that can provide money, jobs and growth ( just consider the free ride the US is giving to some of its major banks).  This time, however, it looks like the real deal.  You can tell a bill will do something when you start to hear the whining out of the major polluters.  Check this out:  Oil Industry Blasts House Climate Bill.

Now it’s just up to the political process to hold firm in face of the lobby effort.  Whether or not they will is anybody’s guess, but no matter what happens, this moment should prove to be an inflection moment for our planet.  In the words of Al Gore, this bill is “one of the most important pieces of legislation ever introduced in the congress.”


Written by jk

May 18, 2009 at 1:10 pm

One Response

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  1. The skewed distribution of the free permits is probably inefficient (the government should probably auction all of the permits), but politics is politics. Perhaps the government wants to avoid major increases in the prices charged by publically-owned power companies, while they hope that any increases in petroleum prices will be blamed on the evil oil companies who have been enjoying ‘obscene profits’ for so many years.

    Hopefully they can get this up and running faster than the Europeans have been able to do.


    May 19, 2009 at 11:31 pm

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