The author suggests cap-and-trade as an extreme and, presumably, necessary step to move us from our destructive path. It is pointed out by the previous letter-writers that cap-and-trade may be interpreted as a tax and thus be required to originate in the House, and if it is taken as a unilateral US action it may merely result in the further off-shoring of our emissions. However, there does exist another emissions reduction model that has been successfully used in the past: personal quotas.
Quotas have the advantage of fairness; if they are not tradable then the wealthy have to endure them alongside their poverty-stricken fellow. While it is true that wealthy households could simply erect very large PV arrays in order to use more energy, that is hardly an undesirable outcome.
Unlike cap-and-trade, quotas would actually encourage domestic production since the total emissions of bringing a product to market would be considered. Just think, we could start making our own cheap plastic crap instead of importing it.
Also, since it was FDR who put in place quotas to deal with shortages during WWII, it would further the inevitable comparisons between the president who nursed capitalism through its previous near-death experience and President Obama. I just hope the current occupant can live up to such comparisons.
May 2 2009 - 11:40pm