“Cap and trade is an environmental policy tool that delivers results with a mandatory cap on emissions while providing sources flexibility in how they comply. Successful cap and trade programs reward innovation, efficiency, and early action and provide strict environmental accountability without inhibiting economic growth.”
Conservatives haven’t supported this approach because it interferes with economic growth and adds costly regulatory procedures to administer. However, the consequences of not having this approach to curb carbon pollution will literally kill the planet and make it uninhabitable.
Some of those who have resisted the cries about global warming are themselves coming around because science supports the claim that this is a big problem that needs immediate action by developing countries.
Besides the US, the big polluters include our largest trading partner, China.
There is a headline in the Washington Post this afternoon suggesting that it is essential for China to get on board at once to develop carbon capture technology. CCT captures the carbon gases created by burning coal and pumps it into the ground where it is theoretically moved to the salt bed to be made inert.
New coal-fired power plants should be required to have this technology, and some older plants that have long remaining useful lives must be required to acquire it too. The problem is cost.
Now, the true problem is all fossil fuels are running out in the supply, and advanced nations must move to renewable energy sources at once. Fossil fuel dependency is just a bad habit that is not sustainable.
Therefore, this is a dilemma.
1. America needs and wants to become energy independent because that will reduce foreign tensions in the Middle East from our having to have a military presence to secure the oil flow.
2. To achieve energy independence in the near term, some argue that exploiting fossil fuel resources is a necessity. That includes mining coal in ways that are less hazardous to the environment and burning coal more cleanly. It includes fracking to mine natural gas.
3. The trouble with mining fossil fuel is that producers are still moving it to foreign customers and that defeats the purpose. In addition, users are failing to invest in the essential enabling technology to keep it safe and clean. That includes considerable government investment.
4. There is also the argument that fossil fuel producers and users are simply obstructing renewable energy development that is ultimately required because they have a conflict of interest. Capitalists want to maximize their return on investment and disregard the consequences.
Therefore, the American energy strategy that is paramount to producing a sustainable economy must be more comprehensive and inclusive of all alternatives and the investment required to enabling technologies. Enabling technologies include all of the infrastructure required to accommodate electricity production, storage, and distribution.
Posing the question about China may be because China is in the position to make the investment, and China is a primary polluter. However, if America forfeits the opportunity to lead in this endeavor, they may surrender economic independence and sustainability in the very near future. In a very real sense, these are life or death issues and decisions that the American government is failing to adequately address.
“Is China the last hope for carbon capture technology?
By Brad Plumer, Published: October 22 at 3:48 p.m.
Remember carbon capture and storage? Five years ago, the idea of grabbing the carbon dioxide from coal and gas power plants and burying it deep underground was considered an essential technology for curbing the world's greenhouse-gas emissions.