Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

LISTEN: Can Cap and Trade Save the Planet?

Cap-and-trade was the free market mechanism that was going to save the planet. Forgive me for being skeptical, but the terms “free market” and “save the planet” rarely fit together comfortably. One of the biggest issues, as Mark Schapiro of the Center for Investigative Reporting explains in his piece in Harper’s this month, is regulation. Who exactly is going to be regulating these polluters? And how can we be sure they’re actually doing their job and not falling asleep at the wheel the way the rating agencies that were supposed to be keeping Wall Street in check did?

Schapiro talked about some of the problems with the burgeoning cap-and-trade market in this interview from American Public Media’s Marketplace:

Ryssdal: The cap and trade regime has two purposes. One is actually functioning as a market. The other side of the coin, though, is the questionable part. Whether or not it actually does really reduce carbon emissions.

SCHAPIRO: Yes, let me give you an example. If a major German utility, which monitors the emissions at every one of their utilities all around Germany, and every month that company knows exactly how much over their emission cap they’re going; and so whenever they reach that cap they know they have to go buy five million tons, 10 million tons, 50 million tons, 100 million tons of these things called credits.

Ryssdal: And when they need those credits they go to Brazil or some other developing economy where some entrepreneur has set up a system whereby he can promise reductions in emissions, yes?

SCHAPIRO: Yes, so that utility can then look to a developing country like Brazil, or China, or India to find a project where a developer is saying all right, I would have been emitting X amount of methane, for example. But I’m going to put in a little machine that’s going to capture the methane from the landfill and therefore I’m going to reduce my emissions by X percent.

Listen Now

Read the whole article here, or listen on


Related Articles:

50 Low-Cost, Low-Tech Solutions to Save the Planet

Tired of watching people spend so much time thinking up big solutions to big problems that it has a paralyzing effect on taking action? If you’re like author Courtney White, the answer is yes. That’s why in Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, he takes readers on a journey to show how low-cost, easy-to-implement solutions […] Read More..

5 Common Invasive Species and How to Manage Them

Last week, we asked authors Tao Orion and Katrina Blair to share alternative approaches to managing five different plant species commonly held to be “invasive.” St. John’s Wort, Garlic Mustard, Thistle, Oxeye Daisy, and Kudzu are often dismissed as annoyances at best and the target of aggressive eradication with harmful chemicals at worst. Orion and […] Read More..

What in the World is a Pawpaw?

Have you heard of the pawpaw? A few generations ago, most would say “yes!” You could ask just about anyone and they could tell you what this fruit looked and tasted like, and more importantly, where to find it. But today, the pawpaw remains a mystery to some and entirely unknown to others. In Pawpaw: […] Read More..

Uncovering the Many Uses for Abundant Kudzu

As Invasive Species Week comes to a close, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds,  share alternative approaches to understanding and managing Kudzu. Take a look through our final profile and check out any you might have missed along the way: Oxeye […] Read More..

Oxeye Daisy: A Plant for the Pollinators

As Invasive Species Week continues, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, are sharing alternative approaches to managing and using plants considered to be “invasive.” Take a look through today’s profile on Oxeye Daisy and check out tips for working with Garlic […] Read More..
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By