Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Institute a carbon cap-and-trade system for U.S. power plants
With odds very slim that Congress will pass any substantial bill lowering carbon emissions, the President should turn to executive orders to make a dent in our country’s excessive environmental impact. A very good option would be to place cap-and-trade restrictions on power plants, producers of one third of our nation’s carbon emissions. By requiring plants to buy permits for their emissions, companies would have a cost attached to rampant polluting while still being free to decide the best way to meet their targets. This way, no companies are affect more than others, all are allowed to make their own decisions on how to reduce emissions and, best of all, emissions are reduced.
A cap-and-trade program for power plants should be appealing to economists and environmentalists alike. The draw for environmentalists—lower emissions—is an obvious one. For economists, this plan steps back from the” how” and simply places a regulation on how much carbon a power plant can release. Allowing the free market, and these companies, to decide the best way to do the lowering is in the best interest of efficiency. In addition, a company that has found inexpensive ways to reduce emissions can sell their unused permits to companies that would have to spend much more to lower their emissions, lowering the price for everyone.
In the past, the U.S. has lowered levels of acid rain as well as the amount of lead in gasoline through a similar process. It should be added that both of these reductions happened at levels lower than expected. By signing this petition you are urging President Obama to use his executive powers to implement this program, making a necessary dent in our countries carbon footprint.
Dear President Barack Obama,
I am writing you this letter to urge you to implement a cap-and-trade system on carbon emissions for power plants in the United States. The gridlock in Congress makes it is extremely unlikely that any substantial carbon regulations will be made into law, and it is because of this that you should make this cap-and-trade an executive order. Requiring companies to lower their emissions while giving them the freedom to decide how is a fair compromise that should go into effect immediately.
Environmentalists will obviously back this proposal, and by allowing the free market and companies to decide what is the best way to reduce their emissions, economists should be appeased as well. In addition, the ability to sell unused permits—and buy them if that is less expensive than reducing emissions—lowers the cost even further.
In the past, the U.S. has lowered levels of acid rain as well as the amount of lead in gasoline through a similar process, both at costs lower than expected. We must lower our carbon footprint, and the matter is urgent. Please pass this common-sense law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Svartsengi Power Plant via freefoto