Issue Position: Energy - Protecting Our Environment And Addressing Climate Change
A Sound Energy Strategy Must Include A Solid Environmental Foundation
John McCain Proposes A Cap-And-Trade System That Would Set Limits On Greenhouse Gas Emissions While Encouraging The Development Of Low-Cost Compliance Options. A climate cap-and-trade mechanism would set a limit on greenhouse gas emissions and allow entities to buy and sell rights to emit, similar to the successful acid rain trading program of the early 1990s. The key feature of this mechanism is that it allows the market to decide and encourage the lowest-cost compliance options.
How Does A Cap-And-Trade System Work? A cap-and-trade system harnesses human ingenuity in the pursuit of alternatives to carbon-based fuels. Market participants are allotted total permits equal to the cap on greenhouse gas emissions. If they can invent, improve, or acquire a way to reduce their emissions, they can sell their extra permits for cash. The profit motive will coordinate the efforts of venture capitalists, corporate planners, entrepreneurs, and environmentalists on the common motive of reducing emissions.
Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets And Timetables:
2012: Return Emissions To 2005 Levels (18 Percent Above 1990 Levels)
2020: Return Emissions To 1990 Levels (15 Percent Below 2005 Levels)
2030: 22 Percent Below 1990 Levels (34 Percent Below 2005 Levels)
2050: 60 Percent Below 1990 Levels (66 Percent Below 2005 Levels)
The Cap-And-Trade System Would Allow For The Gradual Reduction Of Emissions. The cap-and-trade system would encompass electric power, transportation fuels, commercial business, and industrial business - sectors responsible for just under 90 percent of all emissions. Small businesses would be exempt. Initially, participants would be allowed to either make their own GHG reductions or purchase "offsets" - financial instruments representing a reduction, avoidance, or sequestration of greenhouse gas emissions practiced by other activities, such as agriculture - to cover 100 percent of their required reductions. Offsets would only be available through a program dedicated to ensure that all offset GHG emission reductions are real, measured and verifiable. The fraction of GHG emission reductions permitted via offsets would decline over time.