Support Builds for Carbon Taxes Over “Cap and Trade”




The Independent reports
that European CO2 emissions are rising not falling, casting doubt on the EU’s touted Emissions Trading Scheme:

Europe’s big polluters pumped more climate-changing gases into the atmosphere in 2006 than during the previous year, according to figures that show the EU’s carbon trading system failing to deliver curbs. Critics said the data underlined the gap between the rhetoric of European leaders, who have promised to cut C02 emissions by one-fifth by 2020, and the reality of delivering reductions.

Yesterday’s figures relate to the carbon produced in 22 nations by big industrial users that accounted for almost 93 per cent of emissions reported in 2005. The European Commission said that carbon output from these sources rose between 1-1.5 per cent in 2006 over the previous year. The statistics suggest the EU is still allocating too many carbon permits to enable the system to work properly.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that an unlikely coalition is coming together in the US to support carbon taxes over emissions trading:

As lawmakers on Capitol Hill push for a cap-and-trade system to rein in the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, an unlikely alternative has emerged from an ideologically diverse group of economists and industry leaders: A carbon tax. A coalition of academics and polluters now argues that a simple tax on each ton of emissions would offer a more efficient and less bureaucratic way of curbing carbon dioxide buildup.

This same argument in favor of carbon taxes was recently put forward by Charles Komanoff of the Carbon Tax Center in a debate on Grist.org with "Dr. Bill" Chameides of Environmental Defense, who favors a cap and trade regime.

  • I have serious reservations regarding Environmental Defense. I acknowledge they have good people and have done much important work. However the group has adopted policies such as support of NAFTA and advocacy of utility deregulation coupled with generous bailouts for nuclear utilities that have placed the group at odds with many grassroots environmentalists. However these policies were in synch with the corporate interests represented amongst the group’s board.

    In the past I’ve written critically about the group at http://www.NonprofitWatch.org. The website has been moribund for some time, but I hope to soon revive it soon and will draw attention to matters related to NYC.

  • Environmental Defense has also been willing to support new freeways, as long as they are tollways. They have focused on pricing policy so narrow-mindedly that they have been willing to back freeways that would clearly induce sprawl, for the sake of getting the right pricing policy.

    Currently, their big campaign is “Clean Cars.” I wrote them saying that there are no clean cars – only cars that are less dirty than most – and that they are ligitimizing unlimited driving by saying that some cars are clean.

  • crzwdjk

    There are many kinds of pollution, and air pollution is merely one of the kinds that cars cause. There is also light pollution and noise pollution. Why not have a concept of space pollution? Cars and the suburban sprawl that they both allow and require are a waste of an increasingly limited resource: space. It is a pollution of the natural environment, a destruction of animals’ habitats. We too are animals, and cities are our habitats, and cars are destroying our own urban environments, polluting our space. Cars that run on a cup of water a day would solve the air pollution problem, yes, but they would not solve the problem of space pollution.

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