Climate change is a divisive issue that is effecting all of us. It appears as though much of its divisiveness comes from how much it would cost to halt and reverse its effects, and not necessarily if it is real or not. Many people are not aware of the multitude of policies that could be used to limit emissions. Most people are only familiar with carbon taxes, because they are talked about the most by legislators, however carbon taxes might not be the way to go.

Many Democratic lawmakers have fallen in love with the theory of carbon taxes as a way to cut corporate emissions. They tout this policy as the only way to save the planet and for others to prove that they also believe in climate change. The problem with this policy is that all it does it charge corporations more taxes, which just means that all they must do is raise their prices just enough to afford the carbon they need. Carbon taxes have been successful in a few countries, but can take a while to truly restrict the carbon since they take a while to get strict. While carbon taxes are supposed to limit pollution, it appears as though the main premise is to make money from the pollution.

Cap and trade is a great way to not only make money from emissions, but to also lower them. When the government makes an emissions cap, that means that companies can only use that set amount. If a company ends up needing more to produce more emissions than they are allowed they have the option to trade with another company. These would be companies that have used the cap as an incentive to lower emissions and make money from putting their emission allowances up for sale. This allows for a market place between the companies where supply and demand can take effect and set the price for the carbon emissions. As time goes on, the caps for emissions would get smaller and, in theory, companies would be incentivized to have a little greenhouse emissions as possible.  

The emission allowances would not just be given out at random, but through government led auctions. Companies can save any of their allowances to use for the next year to save themselves money, if they do not want to put their extra allowance up for sale. This allows for a bit more wiggle room for companies than carbon taxes, would allow. However, cap and trade does offer a guarantee that carbon emissions will be reduced, unlike carbon taxes.

Climate change is happening and we shouldn’t ignore it, but that does not mean that we should just go with the first solution we hear. Cap and trade is a very plausible policy that has been hailed by economists and scientists alike. The sooner we stop letting the Democratic party be the only side trying to fight climate change, the sooner we can utilize policies that will cut emissions while incentivizing companies. There is a big possibility that you do not actually disbelief in climate change, but that you don’t belief in carbon taxes as the way to fight it. Take a few minutes out of your day to truly research climate change, carbon taxes and cap and trade, you may be surprised at how your opinion may change!

Tabitha L
CONTRIBUTOR