Cap and Trade makes sense in the 21st Century

Cap and Trade will not hurt the U.S. economy unlike what you may have heard during the recent Republican debate. It may cause some shifts from less efficient to more efficient business practices. It does promise to create a new market based economy where none existed before. It will curb those practices of waste and inefficiency by encouraging businesses to reduce carbon emissions and / or to invest in technological advances that move us toward the goals of reducing waste and inefficiency.

President Obama announced the carbon cap-and-trade program just this past week (http://www.alternet.org/environment/obama-just-created-carbon-cap-and-trade-program). The Environmental Protection Agency took the more holistic approach to emission trading systems and pollution control under its Clean Power Plan set to be final on Monday, August 10, 2015 (http://www2.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/clean-power-plan-existing-power-plants).

Rather than encourage individual actions alone by people and businesses as if they are islands unto themselves, the E.P.A.’s plan built in a cooperative sense to planning. “Instead of looking solely at how each state could reduce pollution from its electricity sector, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new carbon dioxide limits emphasize interstate cooperation.” The E.P.A. realizes that the interstate power grid, under essentially federal control is the backbone to how America will use and invest in alternative energy resources, such as solar and wind. Due to its pivotal role in interstate transmission, the power grid is ideal to wager the progressive necessity toward adoption of renewable energy and the reduction of pollution (pollution is simply defined as the “by products” of doing business and individual activities that are not typically “self-contained” or voluntarily controlled).

The Columbia River Gorge is a prime example of how pivotal of a role the interstate power grid plays in our day to day lives. Many of the more recent wind farm projects along the Gorge have been created with the “highest bidder” in mind. Once the electrons or electricity hit the Grid, it isn’t feasible to say where the source of the electricity originated. However, rather than local economies as the intended beneficiaries, the contract designates the end user as utilities and residents in the State of California.

Someday when we get away from the “highest bidder” mentality or adopt the cooperative way of doing business or in running society, the inefficient transmission of energy along a power grid will be seen as archaic as the dinosaur. Energy lost along the way is by definition “inefficient.” While some may think “think globally, act locally” is a cliche, our survival depends on us doing it.  Cap and Trade is the start into the right direction.

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