EDITORS: Deciphering the lingo of cap-and-trade

Do the mere words make you want to click to another page?  Wish you’d taken more economic classes? Or wonder why someone can’t just explain in simple terms what those newly minted words mean. You’re not alone and there’s a cure…

The website OnTheCommons.org just published online a 22-page citizen’s guide to understanding carbon cap-and-trade. Written in good clean prose, Peter Barnes – founder of Working Assets and once a journalist for Newsweek – outlines what the terms mean and how all this relates to tackling climate change. 

Barnes also makes a compelling argument for a carbon cap-and-dividend system, which would give money paid by carbon emitters back to citizens. It’s hard to argue with that plan.  

Make no mistake the phrases cap-and-trade, cap-and-dividend, offsets vs. government-issued credits and auctioned vs. give-away credits will be tossed about with abandon in 2008. The Senate will be debating the merits of the Climate Security Act – the first nationwide legislation to address climate change to make it out of committee – which proposes a carbon cap-and-trade system. 

Barnes’ guide is a pretty painless way to get up to speed and save yourself from night econ-101 classes.  


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