Understanding what cap-and-trade actually does

I thought I would put together a few snippets to help everyone understand what Obama’s cap-and-trade energy tax actually does.

It’s a massive government intervention in the free market

The Heritage Foundation explains the point of cap and trade.

One of the most contentious provisions in the bill is the use of offsets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, in which “a manufacturing plant in, say, Gary, Ind., that is exceeding its ‘permitted’ expulsion of CO2, could continue to commit this sin against humanity by paying for a Brazilian farmer to plant some trees in the rain forest…. Of course, to guard against some nefarious polluter trying to cheat Uncle Sam and the world by claiming bogus ‘offsets,’ here must be a monitoring mechanism. Enter the ‘Offsets Integrity Advisory Board’ — yet another group of scientific ‘experts’ that would be tasked with compiling a list of qualifying offsets around the globe.”

Cap and trade is a regulatory nightmare that would hand over more power and money to the government with the intention of reducing global temperatures. The problem with that, however, is the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill will only reduce temperatures by an amount almost too small to measure. The bigger problem is that consumers’ pocketbooks will be hit hard by this bill. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis found that by 2035, gasoline prices would increase 58 percent, natural gas prices would increase 55 percent, home heating oil would increase 56 percent, and worst of all, electricity prices would jump 90 percent. After all, the goal of cap and trade is to drive up energy prices so high that people will use less. Yet in Missouri, state legislators are considering a bill that would charge consumers for saving electricity.

That’s enough to scare the snark out of you, but there’s much more to it than that.

The bill provides opportunities for corruption

Consider this National Review Online post, which counts 50 reasons why cap-and-trade is bad. (H/T Club for Growth)

I cannot excerpt the 50 points. I read through them and each one is more horrible than the last. Any of the 50 would be sufficient to cause an honest man to cry like a baby. (The print version of the article is easier to read – please send it to all your friends, too!)

The Democrats didn’t even read the bill

And remember, none of the Democrats who voted for the energy tax actually read it.


Recall the passing of Waxman-Markey by the House, which had 300 pages added 18 hours before the floor vote–almost certainly going unread by most members of Congress. Furthermore, the nonplussed responses from administration backers and Democrats in Congress–when pressed to read the legislation they vote on or support–should be infuriating to anyone in favor of transparency and responsibility in government. As CEI Adjunct Fellow Fran Smith noted, some on the left went as far to claim that members of Congress uncomfortable with voting for climate change legislation in the dark were guilty of “treason against the planet.”

Yes, there’s that vaunted leftist morality again. Cutting missile defense is good, but not passing an energy tax is treason.

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