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Poll Finds 80% Support For What’s in the Cap and Trade Bill – The One Everybody Hates

Posted Dec 26 2009 10:03pm
Poll Finds 80% Support For What’s in the Cap and Trade Bill – The One Everybody Hates

by Susan Kraemer in

A just released World Wildlife Fund poll shows that there is overwhelming support for virtually everything in both Waxman-Markey and Boxer/Kerry Climate Cap and Trade bills – - that everybody from James Hansen to James Inhofe says they hate. Bizarre? I’ll say!

The WWF (pdf) polled 800 Americans, who were distributed proportionally throughout the country, and demographically representative of the electorate. I show the poll questions; showing the exact wording and approval levels, and the corresponding legislation activity in ACES, the House Waxman/Markey bill, and CEJAPA (Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act) in the the Senate.

Image: ActForClimateJusticeCap_and_Trade

Energy companies mock ACES legislation - but so does ActForClimateJustice

76% support: “A global warming plan that requires energy companies to reduce this pollution by 20% over the next decade”.

In ACES/CEJAPA? Check. After setting the Cap, the House bill requires a 20% (and the Senate version a 17%) reduction by 2020.

88% support: “An energy efficiency plan that includes new standards and incentives to use smarter energy technologies and save energy where we live, where we work, and on the road”.

In ACES/CEJAPA? Check. For example, a business can save energy by installing a combined heat & power energy plant. This would earn them credits they could sell to polluting companies. They then take that money from the polluter company and pay back their investment in saving energy. That’s an incentive to use smarter energy technologies.

75% support “A global warming plan that holds energy companies accountable for their pollution and requires these companies to steadily reduce the carbon pollution from coal and oil”.

In ACES/CEJAPA? Check. In the energy bill before congress now, there is exactly this accountability. It is called a Cap on emissions. To make them keep reducing emissions, the limit ratchets down lower every year. One of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gases is to set a limit. Step 1 of Cap and Trade. (A carbon tax does not place a limit on emissions, nor make energy companies accountable. For the rich, it would be inconvenient, but there would be no limit. For the poor, it would be ruinous: so they would allied with energy companies to prevent a carbon tax passage. This is why energy companies are now clamoring for a carbon tax instead.)

Cap and trade creates the funding from dirtier companies themselves to make the switch.

To pay back for capital investments in greenhouse gas reduction technologies,more energy efficient companies trade credits with dirtier companies, who will need to buy “pollution permits” if they continue business as usual.

This creates a technology race to the most efficient technology, because financial reward is tied to reducing polluting energy faster than your competitor. If companies choose to go on polluting, they can pollute only up to the limit (which is a lower limit every year), but doing so will be costly for them, and they are prevented from passing down the costs to customers.

The “feebate” carrot and stick system funds the  incentives to use smarter energy technologies and save energy by charging polluters more; consequently ratcheting down greenhouse gas emissions steadily. That’s Cap and Trade.

But everyone hates Cap and Trade, right? 

Susan Kraemer is a transplanted Kiwi retired from three design businesses she started from humble beginnings in N.Y.C. and California, who now lives in the Bay Area. She enjoys living in a gorgeous but big passive-solar house her husband designed and built 15 years ago overlooking the San Francisco Bay up in the East Bay Hills, but now they are thinking of something different with their kids gone from the nest. She writes about climate change to publicize the many great solutions we can find if we just put our minds to it.
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