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Cap & Trade Benefits Big Polluters And Even Bigger Banks

2012/02/29

In order to address the challenge of climate change, pricing carbon pollution is necessary. Capping carbon pollution and creating a carbon market has been proposed as a method of doing this. However, it turns out that “Cap & Trade”, as it’s called, will benefit the Wall Street whizzes who brought us the 2009 financial collapse. In this video, Raj Patel, academic, activist, and author of Stuffed and Starved and The Value of Nothing, assesses the effectiveness of cap-and-trade legislation. He argues that the trading aspect of the system benefits “big polluters and even bigger banks” at the expense of consumers, but that placing a legislative cap on pollution has been a success:

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For more on why cap and trade isn’t an answer to the need to price carbon, see “The Story of Cap & Trade” by Annie Leonard:

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More links:

The Story of Stuff Project

Raj Patel.org

Building A Green Economy: The Economics of Pricing Carbon & The Transition To Clean, Renewable Fuels

13 Comments leave one →
  1. klem permalink
    2012/02/29 10:05 am

    Um Christine, so now Cap&Trade is out? I don’t believe this. The deniers have been saying this for years! We fought the US’s Cap&Trade legislation tooth and nail, and we were successful but we heard a lot of whining from environmentalists about the end of the world, that we should be put in jail for destroying our children’s future etc. C&T was a corporate environmental dream. It would pay for solar panels, wind turbines, nuclear power, reduced carbon emissions, no fossil fuels, a clean economy, a clean future, world peace, social justice, shiny happy people holding hands. It would generate huge revenues for governments, banks, green corporations, and the Chicago Climate Exchange was going to make Gore and others filthy rich. It was supposed to generate the first real global tax regime so the UN would become a global government, even the UNs REDD program today is still based on trading carbon. And now C&T is out?

    Without cap&trade, the global ambitions of the corporate environmental left goes out the window.

    Posting that clip might cause some folks to accuse you of being a climate denier.

    I believe environmentalists are starting to awaken. Perhaps some day I can say I’m an environmentalist again, its been a few years now.

    • 2012/02/29 11:27 am

      If putting a price on carbon pollution makes me a denier in your book, Klem, then go ahead and call me (and Raj Patel, and Annie Leonard) what you like. If you agree with me/us that it’s time to stop using our atmosphere as a sewer, then we definitely do have something in common.

      • 2012/03/01 2:32 am

        Dear Christine, this is an excellent Blog, well done (thanks for the introduction Donald). However, I am sorry to see you have Klemitis; although easy pest control solutions are available.

        I tried tried to call time on Richard Lindzen’s hypocrisy, obfuscation and serial misdirection but, unfortunately, poor execution and naivity seem to have outweighed the evidence.

        Keep up the good work, Martin.

    • 2012/03/01 8:02 am

      @Klem
      it’s no surprise to me that the energy corporations, politicians and bwankers* would collaborate to implement a system that served their interests very well, while giving the appearance of dealing with the problem without actually doing so. Providing the false dilemma (to cap-and-trade or not) is very much akin to the salesman’s “do you want to use my pen or yours to sign this deal (with the devil)?”

      * ie the people who knew what was coming years ago, while pretending (then, as now) that business as usual continued to be feasible.

      • klem permalink
        2012/03/05 8:24 am

        Ok, I give up. From this post I can’t tell whether you people believe in the greeness of cap&Trade or not. Is Cap&Trade now considered evil?

        The environemtnal left has a history of back pedalling, reversing opinion and biting the hand that feeds it. Remember years ago nuclear power was evil, now it’s green. Hydro-power was evil, now its green. Fish farms used to be green, now they are evil. Wind turbines used to be green, but I’m hearing rumors that wind turbines might soon be labeled evil. And cap&Trade used to be green, but now I’m not sure if it is still green or evil.

        So is Cap&Trade green or evil?

      • 2012/03/05 3:57 pm

        I think the clue is in the phrase ‘you people’. You clearly haven’t noticed that everyone is different — and some of us have the ability to think for ourselves.

  2. 2012/03/01 12:32 am

    Talking about cap and trade …. some videos, especially the 5th on this link should be watched over and over again :-)

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/video/flv/main.html?pkg=2510&seg=1&mod=1

  3. 2012/03/01 7:40 am

    Is ‘US Policy Reversed’ (dated 2007) the ‘5th on this link’?

    • 2012/03/01 9:57 am

      Video N#6 in this documentary on the global warming issue in America explains how Dick Cheney and a bunch of oil men and other powerful men, and without a single scientist being present at their meeting, decided one day that cap and trade, Kyoto and just about anything else about global warming was no good for America … and they killed it all off … overnight; then the President asked that all Climate Warming Impact Statements be removed from the EPA websites, nobody has seen the reports since. :-(

      However ; let me assure you … some of us can get their hands on just about everything :-)

      http://downloads.globalchange.gov/usimpacts/pdfs/climate-impacts-report.pdf

  4. 2012/03/01 7:53 am

    James Hansen has some interesting things to say about cap and trade in his book Storms of My Grandchildren (he compares it with ‘fee and dividend’, the alternative that is — surprise, surprise — less attractive to energy corporations and bwankers).

    Such as (page 214):

    A perverse effect of the cap-and-trade floor is that altruistic actions become meaningless. Say that you are concerned about your grandchildren, so you decide to buy a high-efficiency ilttle car. That will reduce your emissions, but not the country’s or the world’s; instead it will just allow somebody else to drive a bigger SUV.

    • 2012/03/05 6:31 pm

      A perverse effect of the cap-and-trade floor is that altruistic actions become meaningless.“… This is merely a re-statement of Garrett Hardin’s ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ argument from 1968, the unfortunate consequences of which can only be avoided by collective restraint mutually agreed upon and exercised by all. Otherwise, our atmosphere gets over-polluted just as our seas get over-fished.

  5. 2012/03/05 9:34 am

    Klem, sorry to hear about your confusion. That happens when one finds out that the world isn’t just black and white, but actually contains a whole bunch of shades of grey in between.
    Cap & trade is championed by some environmentalists, but an increasing number of people who want real action on climate change are recognizing that creating a carbon market to regulate the health of the planet is putting our biosphere into the hands of the yahoos who wrecked the economy. Not a good plan for our children and grandchildren.

    Pricing carbon, however, is a different matter. What is the most effective way to do that? Placing a fee on carbon at the source. The money collected could go right to citizens, to help them with the shift to a renewable energy economy, or could be divided into fees to citizens and govt programs. Australia has taken a mixed bag approach to pricing carbon,Europe has gotten into trouble with its carbon market, and the US & Canada haven’t yet priced carbon (although the province of BC has).

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