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Carbon Cap — at last


Misunderstanding and willful misinterpretation of capping carbon emissions has prevented a carbon cap in all but three provinces and nationally. Now in Canada, rational discussions are beginning. Let us hope that they are fruitful

Conservative thinkers who oppose a cap don’t seem to realize that their objections also opposes their fundamental belief in allowing the market to direct our actions. Without a carbon cap, the market is prevented from engaging creative investment and market adjustments that will reduce carbon dioxide damage to our global ecosystem.

When carbon caps are put in place as in much of Europe, everyone knows the rules and what must be done. Venture capitalists and industries developing and producing technology to reduce carbon emissions can safely invest. Advances in technology are stimulated.

Krupp and Horn* give an example that makes clear how cap and trade can work to protect the earth. A German power company that emitted 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide, but only had allowances for 1 million tons, would need to buy 200,000 tons of carbon reductions; one of its options in a global carbon market would be to pay Brazil for the carbon credits that Brazil had earned by reducing deforestation. That would cost $6.3 million at 2007 prices.

For Brazil, getting paid to keep forests standing would generate more profit per acre than illegal logging and subsequent cattle grazing.

Having cap and trade in place would generate many such opportunities to conserve the greatest remaining carbon sink on earth – the tropical forests and the next greatest — the boreal forest. Inaction promotes their destruction.


* Krupp, Fred and Miriam Horn. 2008. Earth: the Sequel. Environmental Defense Fund. Norton and Company, New York

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