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co2Another editorial on Cap and Trade. This little debate has been going on a long time, and is not likely to end soon. We should limit carbon emissions and let people pay for it, or just tax carbon?

If your neighbors were making a terrible racket, would you offer to pay them to stop?

Of course not.

Sure, they’ll stop today. But they’ll soon be clamoring for more payments.

One of the major features of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill – the ambitious climate change legislation recently passed by the House – offers just such payments. It pays polluting countries not to pollute. And, as with the noisy neighbor, this will just encourage a continuing racket.

The authors go on to argue that expecting cooperation from countries like China and India is unrealistic, and enforcing cap-and-trade will be impossible.  A tax would be more practical.

But will a tax not require cooperation? And do you really think the US is likely to pass a new tax on things like gasoline and heating oil? It will never happen, especially if other countries are slow to sign-up.

And I am still tired of Americans putting the onus of climate change on the developing world. Americans, per capita, are still, easily, the worst polluters anywhere.

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