Will Cap and Trade Harm Rural States?

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson

Some experts think President Obama’s cap and trade proposal will harm the economies of the nation’s most rural states.

In the accompanying map, the heaviest producers of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main culprit in global warming, are colored dark blue. The lowest producers are light blue. As the map shows, rural states produce more carbon than urban states do.  Obama wants to set limits on CO2 emissions for each producer, and then let those who emit less than their limit sell their surplus quota to those who emit more. This could, some say, mean draining money from rural states and enriching those on the coast, where the heaviest urban populations are.

In the interests of full disclosure I need to say that, while my production of CO2 is confined largely to exhalation, driving when I must, and that which is associated with using electricity and burning wood for heat, don’t like the cap and trade idea very much. I want limits, period. I don’t think rich companies should be allowed to pollute as long as they pay the troll. It offends my sense of economic and social justice.

The only way I’d be happy with this plan is if people who can afford to would buy up the low polluters’ surplus emission certificates and run them through the shredder.  Now, there’s a way to reduce global warming.

Two interesting reports on the subject have been released into the blogosphere. Rather than rehash them, I invite you  to visit The Daily Yonder and The Rural Blog and then tell us what you think.

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