Posted by: John Savageau in hr2454, cap and trade on
Aug 11, 2009
Nearly all people agree protecting the environment is critical to our continued prosperity and health. However there are arguments on how to best approach legislation that would either regulate or offer guidance on controlling pollutants and waste.
On the Cap and Trade issue, which is part of the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act (H.R. 2454, or "Waxman-Markey", most of the arguments are related to the potential high financial cost of reducing carbon dioxide. Those critical of H.R. 2454 list many reasons to reject the bill, with some of the highlights including:
- Huge increases in the cost of gasoline (due to higher taxes)
- US jobs will be lost
- The bill will not reduce our reliance on foreign energy
- Similar efforts in Europe have not been successful (under debate)
- Potential to lose control of carbon credits in open trading markets
- Does not force electric utilities using fossil fuels to re-engineer with technology that would reduce carbon
- Economies in coal-producing states could be devastated
- The American people would pay the full price of Cap and Trade with personal tax and cost hits of nearly $2000/year per family (Spectator.Org)
- Belief that global warming due to greenhouse gases is a fantasy
While it is clear much of the debate is based on politics and corporate special interest lobbying, a couple of the above points do justify further study and discussion. The most compelling argument may be the high cost of carbon credits being passed down to individuals, as well as the potential impact on jobs and local economies as fossil fuel-producing industries are forced to either re-engineer, or scale back operations.
Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, is a natural byproduct of nature. Nature produces CO2 in large quantities during volcanic eruptions, geo-thermal events, and other processes as simple as breathing and normal chemical breakdowns of other elements. It is an essential component of photosynthesis, which is the process of plants changing CO2 into oxygen, and an essential component of the "carbon cycle." At proper levels, CO2 is a requirement to sustain life.
When the ratio of CO2 to other elements becomes disrupted, the carbon cycle is also disrupted. The earth's eco-system may not be able to absorb the excess CO2 present within the system, and the cycle is changed to account for disruption in the status quo of nature.
One byproduct of excess CO2 in nature may be excess "greenhouse gases," which may have the effect of retaining heat within the earth's atmosphere. This is widely accepted as being the main cause of global warming, which many scientists believe is causing much of the world's problems with deforestation, drought, and melting of the polar ice caps.