Thursday, April 23, 2009

Defazio on Cap & Trade

There are a lot of things I like about Congressman Peter DeFazio. For one, when he speaks you have little doubt about what he means and thinks. I appreciate that in a politician, because it is very rare.

On the issue of Cap & Trade, he sees clearly (and criticizes) what others either fail to see, or what they actually see as a benefit.

He spoke to Willamette Week recently, and said this:

"It [Cap & Trade] is just infinitely game-able," he said, relating how Europe is now trading in "carbon futures" that give industries additional emission permits now in exchange for, say, trees that may or may not be planted in the future.

"These financial people, I mean, they are very smart people and they can figure out a way to monetize anything and it would just be nuts to go down that path."

The congressman is absolutely right about the games that would be played with a carbon credit trading system. The rent-seekers would be out in full force, and there would be plenty of opportunity for all of them.

Starting with the original baseline emissions measures, which would form the cap level. You think there might be some shenanigans by all the regulated entities when their reported emissions from some baseline year is used to determine how many carbon credits they receive, some of which will be granted to them rather than auctioned?

You think there might be some games played with the offset market? We ALREADY have ludicrous examples of phony offset schemes, the effect of which are never measured or monitored.

Guess who was the biggest proponent of Cap & Trade back in the 1990's when the Kyoto Protocols were first debated and agreed upon at the UN Climate Conferences?

Enron.

They KNEW there would be billions to be made by making a market in these credits. They lobbied Clinton hard, spent millions in DC trying to get the treaty signed and a C&T system in place.

Defazio says if we want to reduce CO2, just limit it like we do other pollutants. I disagree with him that it is desireable to limit CO2 in the first place, but he is absolutely correct that establishing a Cap & Trade scheme to reduce CO2 is really just paying off the moneyed interests that have sucked off of government regulatory schemes forever.

3 comments:

OregonGuy said...

Good pickup.

Defazio has never represented my system of beliefs--yannow, capitalism and its benefits--but he's never hidden behind a wall of words that don't represent his views in a false light. Take his stand on bail-outs...opposed because they didn't mandate greater control over markets.

But he sees clearly the problem of the pirate class. Even though many of those pirates vote their pocketbooks. Took some hair to do this. Something we'll never see from our junior senator.
.

OregonGuy said...

"or rather do"

(types too fast sometimes.)
.

Sabo said...

So, you would be willing that the issues of Cap & Trade and Global Warming can be separated? That a concern that humans are a major contributing factor to Global Warming doesn't necessarily mean that we accept all the solutions proposed?

You leave a different impression in the bulk of your posts.