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Air Quality

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.

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