Events Calendar

Current Weather

Manatee Road Watch

Eat Here - Gulf Coast Cookery Right column ad Bills Discount Center - New & used Furnature, Appliances and More!

The Bradenton Times Polls

Poll Question: Do you think the labrador mix Padi, who bit and injured a child while the dog was allegedly protecting himself, should be euthanized?

 Yes  No More polls »

The Robyn Report with Robyn Davis Sean Tampa Bay yacht Management

Change Text Size: Larger  Smaller

News Section: Environment


Published Saturday, March 22, 2014 12:01 am

Dear EarthTalk: If “cap and trade” has worked so well in Europe for reducing greenhouse gas emissions there, why haven’t we tried something similar here in the U.S.? -- Sandra M., Bern, NC

“Cap-and-trade,” whereby big polluters must pay to emit greenhouse gases against a capped total amount that is reduced over time—has been in effect across the European Union (EU) since 2005. This so-called Emissions Trading System (ETS) requires 11,000 of the largest electric and industrial facilities in 28 European countries to participate. Some 45 percent of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions are regulated under the system. Proponents say the ETS has succeeded in keeping greenhouse gas emissions in check and making Europe a global leader on climate. The EU reports that, by 2020, emissions from sectors covered by ETS will be 21 percent lower than they were in 2005 and 43 percent lower by 2030.

But critics argue that Europe’s reduced emissions may be more due to the global recession than the ETS, and that the cheap availability of allowances has made it easier for companies to pay to burn coal than to switch to cleaner natural gas or invest more in carbon mitigation technologies. Early in 2014 the EU tightened up its system by cutting the number of new allowances it plans to issue over the next three years by a third while simultaneously creating a “market reserve” to absorb extra allowances as needed.

Meanwhile, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Kazakhstan and South Korea have each set up their own national cap-and-trade programs to varying degrees of success, while regional versions have popped up within Japan, Canada and the U.S.

As to the U.S., whether or not to establish a nationwide cap-and-trade system here has been a hot topic of discussion in Congress. It last came up for a vote in 2010, but never found enough bi-partisan support to become the law of the land. But in lieu of any federal system, two U.S. regions have undertaken their own attempts at ratcheting down greenhouse gas emissions through market mechanisms:

In 2009, 10 Northeastern states came together to create the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade system with the goal of reducing regional carbon emissions from the power sector 10 percent from 2009 levels by 2018. Lower emissions than expected over the first five years of the program—thanks to many utilities switching over to cleaner burning and increasingly cheaper natural gas as well as less overall economic output due to the recession—led RGGI to lower its overall annual cap from 165 million to 91 million tons in 2014, with a 2.5 percent reduction every year thereafter until 2020. Analysts expect this rejiggering will drive the price of polluting five times higher than it has been and thus force utilities across the region to seek cleaner, greener alternatives to coal as an electricity feedstock.

The other major U.S. cap-and-trade player is California, which launched its own ETS in 2013 with a cap set initially at two percent below 2012 emission levels. The cap will then be reduced three percent a year from 2015-2020. Some 600 facilities are big enough polluters to qualify for participation in the system, which will cover around 85 percent of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Given that California in and of itself is the 12th largest economy in the world, its forward-thinking commitment to cap-and-trade gives hope everywhere to fans of marshalling market forces to bring about environmental change.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine ( Send questions to: Subscribe: Free Trial Issue:

Join the conversation post Facebook comments here or on our site at the bottom of article.


  In Addition to Facebook Comments You Can Also Post Comments Below

Non-Facebook Comments:

Click here to add a Non-Facebook comment to this page

 Sign up for our free news subscription - a great way to stay informed!

News World Round UpSports Roundup

Manatee Rural Health Certificate


Name Date
Irene Brothers July 24, 2015
Allene O'Brien June 23, 2015
Dorothy Hill July 28 2015
David Maberry July 24, 2015
Juanita Floyd June 26, 2015
Elizabeth Bennett July 22, 2015
John Lawler July 21, 2015
Marilyn Doxey July 22, 2015
Donald Mills July 23, 2015
All Obituaries

Copyright © 2009 - 2015 | The Bradenton Times | More than just an Online Newspaper |
405 26 Avenue Bradenton, FL 34205
Phone: 941-896-7857 - Privacy Policy - RSS Feed
Template provided by Free CSS Templates