“Cap and Trade.” A mom’s simple definition.

What does Cap and Trade mean? Where do the candidates say they stand on this particular issue and how do their words compare to their voting histories?

Any mom who used bingo chips to barter babysitting hours will understand this analogy immediately. Take a group of three moms. Give each, say 10 bingo chips. One chip = one hour of babysitting. If Dana asks Joanne to watch her boys for two hours, she must give Joanne two chips. Joanne can ask Tania to watch her girls for one hour but she will lose a chip to Tania.
Need more chips? Sacrifice some nights out, offer to watch some kids and rebuild your chip reserve
Of course, there are some differences between the babysitting chip method and the cap and trade system:
1) In general, when political wonks refer to Cap and Trade they are not organizing babysitting schedules. They are most likely talking about an approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants.

2) Babysitting chips cannot be bought and sold (despite my numerous attempts to do so). Within a cap and trade system, companies are given a limit–capped–on how much they can pollute the environment. Let’s say they are given a limit of 25. That’s 25 points or credits (or chips) a company can use. They are licensed accordingly. They will not be given more chips by the government. As they start to near their cap, they must buy credits (chips) from other companies who have an excess of credits. This is the “trade” part. Trading money for credits. How would a company have an excess of credits? By lowering their pollution output.  In effect, the buyer is paying a charge for polluting, while the seller is being rewarded for having reduced emissions by more than was needed. Thus, in theory, those that can easily reduce emissions most cheaply will do so, achieving the pollution reduction at the lowest possible cost to society.

Both candidates are in favor of a Cap and Trade policy. Read on.

This morning–as part of its two-week investigative report comparing the candidates’ answers to 14 Science Debate questions to their voting history–Popular Science takes a look at Climate Change. (Yesterday, the topic was Innovation.) Both candidates agree that global warming poses a serious threat and needs to be tackled immediately with carbon emission reduction. Both candidates want to institute a cap and trade system to make carbon reduction market friendly. But do they have the record to back it up?

In short: the answer is yes. Read the brief, but important, details here.

Tomorrow, PopSci will take a shot at Energy.

  • Scott B

    These arguments seem to be interesting and foolish all at the same time. I think what eveyone (including myself) is forgeting is the convience factor. Taxes are necessary for all things including infrastructure ie, microwave pizzas, and not having to poop in a whole in the woods(I like toilets and pizza). Also law enforcement which can at times be a mess, but is still necessary. Cap and trade is just another law brought up by a congressman or senator , or whoever brings that stuff up, whom at some point in their illustrious career has crossed paths with a lobbiest. We all know what these people do. The reality is if I were a senator or a congressman and somebody offered me a perk to change my mind I probobably, and so would you! I don’t give a damn what anybody says it all comes down to the almighty dollar. If we take a step back and walk in another mans (or womans) shoes for a minute we might be more open to a dialogue that is conducive to kindness and a greater ability to compromise,and find meaningful answers that you ,me, and the planet can live with. Thank You and Have a Good Day!

  • Al

    I am glad that there is sufficient interest in this topic to trigger a healthy, spirited debate. While much of the science referenced in the above postings seems somewhat dubious (half-truths, cherry-picked statistics, misrepresentations) it is clear that, on some level, there is a great deal of suspicion and mistrust of the scientific community. And for good reason. Many academics and researchers subscribe to left-of-center political philosophies, particularly those found on university campuses. But to suggest that their personal belief systems invalidate their scientific opinions is illogical and unfair. Why does the most insistent and unrelenting opposition to the widely-accepted theories on climate change come from purely political pundits and not from the scientific community? I concede that there exists a minority opinion among qualified experts but very few hold up under thorough evaluation – some are employed by the fossil fuel industry, others have somewhat dubious bona fides, and some are simply contrarians, disagreeing simply to disagree. Analysis of polar ice core samples has definitively revealed that the Earth’s atmosphere is changing dramatically. Those of you who insist that the change is simply the result of natural environmental cycles may not be supported by the data. But even if we are experiencing an organic shift, why is it so objectionable to attenuate man’s negative impact on the troposphere? Neither inconvenience, nor expense, nor difficulty are acceptable reasons. Finally, not to be rude, but egregious errors in spelling and grammar make postings much less effective and much easier to discount. Perhaps it shouldn’t matter, but it does.

  • Al

    I am glad that there is sufficient interest in this topic to trigger a healthy, spirited debate. While much of the science referenced in the above postings seems somewhat dubious (half-truths, cherry-picked statistics, misrepresentations) it is clear that, on some level, there is a great deal of suspicion and mistrust of the scientific community. And for good reason. Many academics and researchers subscribe to left-of-center political philosophies, particularly those found on university campuses. But to suggest that their personal belief systems invalidate their scientific opinions is illogical and unfair. Why does the most insistent and unrelenting opposition to the widely-accepted theories on climate change come from purely political pundits and not from the scientific community? I concede that there exists a minority opinion among qualified experts but very few hold up under thorough evaluation – some are employed by the fossil fuel industry, others have somewhat dubious bona fides, and some are simply contrarians, disagreeing simply to disagree. Analysis of polar ice core samples has definitively revealed that the Earth’s atmosphere is changing dramatically. Those of you who insist that the change is simply the result of natural environmental cycles may not be supported by the data. But even if we are experiencing an organic shift, why is it so objectionable to attenuate man’s negative impact on the troposphere? Neither inconvenience, nor expense, nor difficulty are acceptable reasons. Finally, not to be rude, but egregious errors in spelling and grammar make postings much less effective and much easier to discount. Perhaps it shouldn’t matter, but it does.

  • TOM GUERARD

    What I am unable to grasp is that there are people today that believe the earth’s population at almost 6 billion has “no effect on the environment. That our emissions, our waste, our destruction ,cannot be linked globally to climatic changes.

    Of course there are natural cycles but not to have any effect?!
    C’mon people.

    These are the people who are told not how to think but has media show hosts thinking for them.

  • TOM GUERARD

    What I am unable to grasp is that there are people today that believe the earth’s population at almost 6 billion has “no effect on the environment. That our emissions, our waste, our destruction ,cannot be linked globally to climatic changes.

    Of course there are natural cycles but not to have any effect?!
    C’mon people.

    These are the people who are told not how to think but has media show hosts thinking for them.

  • I’m sure this is too simplistic to even be seriously considered: behave as if you are trying to save your own money. Of your multiple vehicles, drive the one that uses the least gas. In the winter, turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater, for heaven’s sake. Use the AC as little as possible – open a window! Use a fan! My little efforts would have a HUGE impact if enough of us make an effort to contribute to the solution. We probably can’t affect China’s poluting behavior, but we can certainly affect our own.

  • I’m sure this is too simplistic to even be seriously considered: behave as if you are trying to save your own money. Of your multiple vehicles, drive the one that uses the least gas. In the winter, turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater, for heaven’s sake. Use the AC as little as possible – open a window! Use a fan! My little efforts would have a HUGE impact if enough of us make an effort to contribute to the solution. We probably can’t affect China’s poluting behavior, but we can certainly affect our own.

  • Simple definition of Cap and Trade: Personal and national bankruptsy.

  • Simple definition of Cap and Trade: Personal and national bankruptsy.

  • Tony Bonfiglio

    Is anyone proposing a cap and trade system on the Earth which produces it’s own carbon emissions due to plate tectonics and volcanism. There have been many many episodes of higher CO2 saturation on the Earth before without the presence of cars, boats and trains. There are at least 3 lakes in Africa emmitting more CO2 everday than probably the US & Europe combined. How do you stop that? What a naive joke!

  • Tony Bonfiglio

    Is anyone proposing a cap and trade system on the Earth which produces it’s own carbon emissions due to plate tectonics and volcanism. There have been many many episodes of higher CO2 saturation on the Earth before without the presence of cars, boats and trains. There are at least 3 lakes in Africa emmitting more CO2 everday than probably the US & Europe combined. How do you stop that? What a naive joke!

  • Steve Spilinek

    I am old enough to remember back in the 60’s and 70’s how we were going to die from another ICE AGE being created by mankind via carbon emissions because the earth was experiencing global cooling. ( ozone depletion etc. ) 10 -20 years from now we will have the children of today’s global warming enthusiasts behaving similarly to their previous generation of global cooling enthusiasts. Just like the earth will experiences the next natural climate change, so will the next global enthusiasts experience the natural change of opinion. As long as they remain a significant voting block, they will be catered to with a significant amount of tax dollars. If I were in the political fray, I would behave similarly, if I were to desire to remain or elevate my position in the same.

  • Steve Spilinek

    I am old enough to remember back in the 60’s and 70’s how we were going to die from another ICE AGE being created by mankind via carbon emissions because the earth was experiencing global cooling. ( ozone depletion etc. ) 10 -20 years from now we will have the children of today’s global warming enthusiasts behaving similarly to their previous generation of global cooling enthusiasts. Just like the earth will experiences the next natural climate change, so will the next global enthusiasts experience the natural change of opinion. As long as they remain a significant voting block, they will be catered to with a significant amount of tax dollars. If I were in the political fray, I would behave similarly, if I were to desire to remain or elevate my position in the same.

  • Al Carey

    Consider that ALL of the other planets in our solar system are experiencing the same climatic changes, in relation to there distance from the sun, as our earth.
    Is our ‘polluting’ reaching that far?

  • Al Carey

    Consider that ALL of the other planets in our solar system are experiencing the same climatic changes, in relation to there distance from the sun, as our earth.
    Is our ‘polluting’ reaching that far?

  • 2wdking

    i am looking at going to be a powerlineman and build power lines i hope it goes through

  • 2wdking

    i am looking at going to be a powerlineman and build power lines i hope it goes through

  • Gerry

    God created the earth in just 7 days. In that time he formed the glaciers and all the frost in the north pole. If God wants it all to melt now that’s his prerogative. He melt it all after the last ice age. So maybe he feels the time is right to melt it all again. I’m tired of all the politicians telling us how to run God’s planet. God will melt and re-freeze things in his own time, not ours. There is certainly plenty of coal to keep us all warm if it does get frozen after he melts it all. Coal is plentiful and cheap. It’s a good thing the United States has lots. This way we can stop depending on all that foreign oil. Windmills are for the Dutch!!!! Besides, I heard they kill birds that fly into them. I hope our politicians hear what we truly want. No more taxes and plenty of coal to make electricity and to heat our homes. Thank God Ohioans know how to use coal. We’re tired of those crybabies in the East complaining about acid rain. (Another fiction that the government created to stop us from using our most plentiful and cheap energy resource: coal)

  • Gerry

    God created the earth in just 7 days. In that time he formed the glaciers and all the frost in the north pole. If God wants it all to melt now that’s his prerogative. He melt it all after the last ice age. So maybe he feels the time is right to melt it all again. I’m tired of all the politicians telling us how to run God’s planet. God will melt and re-freeze things in his own time, not ours. There is certainly plenty of coal to keep us all warm if it does get frozen after he melts it all. Coal is plentiful and cheap. It’s a good thing the United States has lots. This way we can stop depending on all that foreign oil. Windmills are for the Dutch!!!! Besides, I heard they kill birds that fly into them. I hope our politicians hear what we truly want. No more taxes and plenty of coal to make electricity and to heat our homes. Thank God Ohioans know how to use coal. We’re tired of those crybabies in the East complaining about acid rain. (Another fiction that the government created to stop us from using our most plentiful and cheap energy resource: coal)

  • sarah

    I’m not a fan of cap and trade. If some areas are allowed to trade or purchase more “chips” couldn’t those same areas become very highly polluted while other areas remain pristine?

    There is a lot of talk of Global Warming being a scam and being profitable for people. What businesses would profit from an increase in hurricanes, bad air quality, bad harvests, droughts, and the like?

    I feel there is a great distrust of scientists. It’s unfortunate and to our society’s detriment that some people feel that they have to make a choice between God and Science. Newton, Darwin, and
    a number of other scientists considered themselves to be men of faith as well as men of Science.

    I think there is a certain amount of scientifically illiteracy
    right now and that is a problem when discussing these kind of issues. For instance, the comment about the “planting trees because they turn Co2 into oxygen”. That is true(and information
    we learned from scientific study), but how oxygen do they make?

    It requires 22 trees to produce the amount of oxygen consumed by one person. (An acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people). This data comes from the Northwest Territories Forest Management site: http://forestmanagement.enr.gov.nt.ca/forest_education/amazing_tree_facts.htm

    Couple this with the fact that we are deforesting in order to make room for humans to live, to farm, and do business AND we’re emitting all kinds of CO2 besides our exhalations into the atmosphere…well, just planting trees and plants is not going to correct this.

  • sarah

    I’m not a fan of cap and trade. If some areas are allowed to trade or purchase more “chips” couldn’t those same areas become very highly polluted while other areas remain pristine?

    There is a lot of talk of Global Warming being a scam and being profitable for people. What businesses would profit from an increase in hurricanes, bad air quality, bad harvests, droughts, and the like?

    I feel there is a great distrust of scientists. It’s unfortunate and to our society’s detriment that some people feel that they have to make a choice between God and Science. Newton, Darwin, and
    a number of other scientists considered themselves to be men of faith as well as men of Science.

    I think there is a certain amount of scientifically illiteracy
    right now and that is a problem when discussing these kind of issues. For instance, the comment about the “planting trees because they turn Co2 into oxygen”. That is true(and information
    we learned from scientific study), but how oxygen do they make?

    It requires 22 trees to produce the amount of oxygen consumed by one person. (An acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people). This data comes from the Northwest Territories Forest Management site: http://forestmanagement.enr.gov.nt.ca/forest_education/amazing_tree_facts.htm

    Couple this with the fact that we are deforesting in order to make room for humans to live, to farm, and do business AND we’re emitting all kinds of CO2 besides our exhalations into the atmosphere…well, just planting trees and plants is not going to correct this.

  • Steve

    Two sayings come to mind. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Any tax increase will eventually cost all of us and make government larger. Be careful what you wish for. A larger government equals more government workers requiring more taxes, more government controls , less private business, less freedoms. If government was 100 percent efficient and infallible we wouldn’t have UPS or Fed Ex. Let yourselves be the power to change emissions by you what you buy and how you live.

  • Steve

    Two sayings come to mind. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Any tax increase will eventually cost all of us and make government larger. Be careful what you wish for. A larger government equals more government workers requiring more taxes, more government controls , less private business, less freedoms. If government was 100 percent efficient and infallible we wouldn’t have UPS or Fed Ex. Let yourselves be the power to change emissions by you what you buy and how you live.

  • verdemontresident

    It should just be a cap. No trading. Incentives for the amount under the cap.

  • verdemontresident

    It should just be a cap. No trading. Incentives for the amount under the cap.

  • JOrdan

    so in effect c and t will double my power bills

  • JOrdan

    so in effect c and t will double my power bills

  • Carbon credit is a generic name, which means that the value is to replace or reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. A carbon offset is an emission reduction of greenhouse gas carbon or done to compensate for or offset emissions elsewhere. Carbon credits are measured in tonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide and may represent the six major categories of greenhouse gas emissions. A carbon offset represents the reduction of one tonne of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions.
    http://www.globalwarming360.net/carbon-credits-carbon-credit-definition.html

  • ralph lauren polo

    Hi, Thank you for sharing your opinion about the topic.This has been a very significant blog indeed. I’ve acquired a lot of helpful information from your article. Thank you for sharing such relevant topic with us.

  • You’ve created a really nice collection. Some of these sites really stand out, and are great additions to this list.