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Cap-and-Trade the Way to Go?

UPDATE (May 28): Senate debate on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act is tentatively scheduled to begin June 2.

The government, having realized something must be done about the environmental crisis (frighteningly belatedly, if you believe this NRDC report that states global warming will cost the U.S. $3.8 trillion annually by 2100), is bandying about several solutions. Perhaps chief among them is the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act.

The legislation, sponsored by Independent Sen. Lieberman of Conn. and Republican Sen. Warner of Va., would create a cap-and-trade system for emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (within this system, the “cap” refers to a limit on overall pollution, as well as to what individual companies can emit; the “trade” refers to the ability of a company to sell whatever room it may have under its individual limit to a company that plans to exceed its individual limit).

If the act becomes law, emissions would be reduced 71% by 2050, so on the surface it seems like a great idea. But we should consider all the details – how much it will cost, whether the environment will suffer in other ways as a result of the law’s mandates – before we conclude this is where we should head. These folks say let’s not go there, while these guys are all for it.

The Senate will take up the bill sometime in the next few weeks. It (or one like it, should Lieberman-Warner fail) could have THE biggest impact on how our country deals with the climate crisis.

So here is your GAG Order (Green Among Gray order, get it?): Go learn as much as you can about this act; regardless of whether it’s this bill or another that makes its way to the president, one of the best things we can do for the environment is simply to stay informed. (And don’t forget to vote in our poll below).





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“Cap-and-Trade the Way to Go?”