Five and Change: Cap and Trade


Today is November 19, 2008, and this is Five and Change.

Today I have the opportunity to combine the two topics I’ve primarily talked about so far on this podcast. There will be other topics, including Net Neutrality and Public Access Television, but because this news is so recent, I want to capitalize on this event.

Barrack Obama has talked about environmental issues throughout his campaign, and into the Lame Duck session. Yesterday, he released a video on about his energy policy.

He supports a system of cap-and-trade. Hopefully, when my children get a chance to listen to this archived podcast, they will not have known a world where the true cost of CO2 is not reflected in the economic cost of fossil fuels. Under a cap-and-trade system, businesses which produce CO2 as a side effect of operation will receive a finite amount of carbon credits, which will represent a specific amount of carbon released into the atmosphere per year. Businesses that then have extra credits, due to carbon-cutting and efficiency measures, will be able to trade or sell the credits to other businesses. Businesses that do not have enough credits to satisfy their consumption will be fined.

The Government will only make available the credits that represent our desired total carbon output. Essentially, the federal government will be able to define the amount of acceptable carbon to be released by businesses that operate within the US, and cap the emissions via the credits system. If the economy goes over the cap limit, the offending businesses will pay fines.

In addition to cap-and-trade, which is a financial incentive for businesses to scale back consumption, he also supports the transition to sustainable energy sources. The idea is to create jobs by investing in construction of wind, solar, and biofuel farms. As I’ve said before, I sincerely hope that the emphasis is on wind and solar, as they are, in my opinion, the most direct path from sunlight to useable power.

I applaud the call for action on this issue. I wish to see the next four years marked by the widespread construction of wind power here in Michigan – we need to become a leader in this industry as our other industries transition.

So I’ll leave you with this excerpt from as President-elect Obama outlines his plan. This has been Five and Change, I’m Paul DeLeeuw, and I’ll see you on Friday.

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