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The push in the United States to establish a mandatory climate policy is accelerating, and it appears likely that a national market-based approach for dealing with climate change is on the horizon in the near term. The government has attempted to implement various regulations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as the Clean Air Act and the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. (Driscoll et al 536). The article outlines a program that, if implemented by all nations, will help to address the global issue of climate change. This policy is the cap and trade system which was one debated in the Congress but did not pass as a law after it was rejected by most Republicans and even Democrats. A carbon tax directly creates a price on greenhouse gas emissions and industries, plants and companies are charged pay for every ton of emissions they produce but on the other hand, a cap-and-trade system allows for specific emissions each year, and the allowance can be in the form of auction where the highest bidder is allowed to emit carbon. The system welcomes integration of reduction chances from external domestic and international sources and allows for an institutional framework for creating a nationwide emissions permit market. The policy would promote economic efficiency because of the recognition of a broad range of features designed to soften economic impacts (Keohane, Nathaniel, and Olmstead, 5). The policy reduces greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by increasing the cost of their productions. Companies that produce this as are therefore demotivated to emit more carbon because they would pay a high amount of dollars.
Global warming is one of the most serious environmental challenges to facing the planet today. There have been many human and natural factors causing the climate to deteriorate. For instance increase in population has increased cars, factories, and power plants and they are changing the climate. Since the 1800s, humans have been burning massive quantities of these fossil fuels to power the global civilization and the developing technology (Jones, 256). This causes an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of the release of carbon dioxide trapped in the fuels in the form of energy-rich organic particles back into the atmosphere. CO2 absorbs heat Carbon dioxide concentrations in the air are now the highest in 150,000 years since it is beyond the required level of 2 degree Celsius. In the year 1998, the temperatures were the highest and people started to study measure that could lower the increased temperature in the 1990's (Pachauri et al 88).
Power plants and transportation sector are currently largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States (Pachauri et al 100). Increased coal burning has raised the amount of carbon which leads to increase in global warming. Transportation is among the largest sources of global warming emissions which endangers individuals health because it has severe impacts such as rising sea levels, severe droughts and flooding, and increased high temperatures. In the United States, cars, planes, freight, and trucks contribute one-fifth of emissions because it releases 24 pounds of global-warming gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These gases are released during fuel extraction, production, and delivery, but the largest gas comes from car’s tailpipe. According to the annual World Energy Outlook published by the International Energy Agency road freight contributes about a fifth of world oil consumption and the most consumed one is diesel. Since 2000, vehicles account for about sixty percent of the increase in international diesel demand since 2000. Freight will be even more important to the oil market in the future. International demand for energy in transport has reduced by 2% annually since the year 2005, and it is responsible for 28 percent of world energy consumption (Pachauri et al 289). There are three primary entry points for renewable energy in the transport industry, and this would be achieved by of biofuels blended with conventional fuels or the use of 100% liquid biofuels. Natural gas vehicles would also be a method of reducing global warming gases to the environment. The most applicable is the use of electrification of transport, where vehicles can use hydrogen or batteries produced by renewable electricity. There is no time, and human needs to tack actions now to reduce the threat global warming poses to people’s livelihood and many species and habitats, and to people's livelihoods. Fortunately, governments have been trying out various to reduce emissions, for instance, the former U.S, President Obama proposed the Clean Power Plan in In June 2014. It requires all states to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, to 30 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. The Environmental Protection Agency would make sure that it is implemented in all states but this will entirely depend on the willingness of states (Jones 278). Each state must adopt and enforce effective carbon emissions reduction procedures for its electricity industry.
The cap and trade policy is straightforward for any government to implement since it only needs to set an overall limit also known as a cap on emissions and then issue tradable permits or what is also called allowances to regulated sources. Companies producing carbon in the greatest position to decrease emissions reasonably can over-comply and sell excess allowances to companies with higher reduction costs, enabling these them to evade investing in high-cost compliance measures and decrease the overall cost of emission reduction (Keohane, Nathaniel, and Olmstead, 8).
The Clean Air Act (CAA) is the current policy that deals with the climate change issue by regulating air pollution. It is a federal law that regulates air emissions from mobile and stationary sources. CAA law gives EPA power to create National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public welfare and public health and to control emissions of hazardous air contaminants (Driscoll et al 536). The Act requires that every state should set and achieve NAAQS by 1975 to address the public welfare and health risks posed by certain prevalent air pollutants. The establishment of these pollutant standards was accompanied by directing the states to establish state implementation plans (SIPs). The plans were to be applied to the appropriate industrial companies in the state to achieve these standards. There are several amendments made to the Act which includes 1977 and 1990 mainly to set a new deadline of the goals for achieving accomplishment of NAAQS since many regions of the nation had failed to meet the deadlines (Driscoll et al 537).
The Clean Air Act restricts the emissions of air pollutants, and therefore it helps in protecting the health and safety of the environment and humans. For example, the Act bans excessive coal burning which increases carbon in to the atmosphere and consequently raising sea levels. This policy ensures that the air is clean and safe since without it individuals and businesses might do whatever is most cost-effective and convenient for them, rather than acting for the good of the environment and society. The Act increases innovative technological measures that are friendly to the environment (Wijen, 216). The Act has also increased sustainable technology because individuals and companies must comply with this stricter environmental regulation. It has also led to the development of research to come up with strategies to abate the climate change. Entrepreneurs have also developed products that do not pollute the air to comply with the government policy. Ultimately, this policy has made most sustainable technologies, more accessible. The act fails to regard the causes and effects of pollution, and it only aims at reducing air emissions. To effectively reduce pollutants emissions the Act should consider the sources of these emissions and the appropriate measure to control them.
Although the Clean Air Act has been successful in controlling pollutant emissions, it is faced with some demerits. The costs of executing the act were very high, and some states took a lot of time without setting up NAAQS which governs and limit air pollutants emissions. Most companies especially power plants are still producing the greenhouse gases, and therefore the Act has failed to control air pollutants that cause climate change (Driscoll et al 539). The law failed to include local people during its establishment, and therefore it lacks local support. People continue to produce these emissions because the government policy is not locally accepted and it is not strict to follow every pollutant in the country. Although some amendments have been done in the act, it still needs to be updated to incorporate the changes of the 21st century.
Cap and trade is as an economically preferable alternative to more costly command and control requirements. The program has been tried in reducing sulfur oxides in the Clean Air Act by the government, and it was successful. It was first introduced by George H.W. Bush administration during the development of the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990 and ultimately became the focus of the new acid rain program in Title IV of the act. Its implementation was a success because research show that utilities participating in trading reduced emissions of sulfur dioxides (SO2) rapidly, and at reduced costs. The policy also generates from the sale of allowances, and this gives the government an opportunity to innovate new technologies to control pollution. The method should be debated again in Congress and both the Democrats and Republican should support it just as they built the acid rain program by applying cap and trade on a local scale to reduce regional transport of both nitrogen oxides (NO2) and nitrogen oxides SO2 emitted by power plants (Keohane, Nathaniel, and Olmstead, 3). The policy would develop robust markets for trade allowances which would develop rapidly under this policy and emissions would decline significantly without measurably increasing electricity costs. I propose the burn to be to be applied even on companies that produce gasoline cars and even drivers who produce a lot of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The policy would accelerate the production of electric cars that are conducive to the environment. The return of cap and trade would help in the deterioration of climate, and therefore the government should return it to operation.
The losers of the cap and trade policy are the power plants, vehicles manufacture, and motorists. Power plants must burn coal to provide electricity to meet the current increased demand for power. The power plants will increase their costs of production because they will have to pay the government an allowance to be permitted to emit carbon. Car manufacturers will also have to pay to manufacture gasoline vehicles that emit carbon and other greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Motorists will also lose because they will have to pay extra for gasoline cars due to the increased cost of producing them. The winners of the proposed policy include the society and the government (Bento, Freedman, and Corey, 616). The government will receive more revenue after selling excess allowances to the highest bidder and permit them to emit carbon. The government will use the funds to establish new technological innovations that are conducive to the environment, and this includes wind and solar energy. Wind and solar energy can replace the dangerous coal burning, and they are sustainable to the environment. The government can also invest in the production of electric cars that do not emit these gases. Most companies have realized that gasoline trucks cause a lot of carbon to the environment and now want to produce electric cars that use electric batteries instead of petrol. The society will benefit from this policy because they will live in a clean environment with normal temperatures.
Cap and trade policy will improve the overall welfare of the society because it will reduce the total gases emitted to the atmosphere. Power plants and transportation sector will have to look for alternatives to avoid paying for allowances. Power plants will shift from burning coal to more environmentally friendly sources such as solar and wind energy.
The government would also use the money it charges companies that want to produce these emissions to set up more innovative technology such as the production of electric cars. The electric car manufacturers should work together with the state officials to hasten the new car revolution. These associations will hasten the electric cars initiatives because the government can invest a huge amount of money to boost the transport industry. The government can install charging stations across the country where drivers can boost their battery when traveling. The majority of mainstream manufacturers are investing in the production of electric cars, and many companies have released few in the market, and the near future electric cars will replace fuel cars and reduce the amount of fuel consumed by fuel cars. The government can support the Cummins, and Tesla companies since have officially released their electric truck, and they are working on boosting their electric charge to improve their battery capacity to extend the distance truck can travel. Jaguar, for instance, is manufacturing its first electric car with the I-Pace SUV and Nissan is planning to strengthen its capacity so that it can develop self-sufficient systems for the electric hatchback. Electric cars and trucks cut down transport costs spend on fuel and also improve the environment by reducing gases emissions that cause global warming. The governments can also join this revolution by making sure that electric vehicles are tax-free and also donating money to companies producing them so that they could lower their transportation costs.
In conclusion, global warming is one of the most serious environmental challenges to facing the planet today, and it is time to act to control this disaster. Power plants and transportation sector are currently largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States due to the increased coal burning. Almost everyone owns a car that emits air pollutants through the tailpipe. Cap and trade policy will be an effective measure to curb global warming by setting an overall limit on emissions and then issuing tradable permits to regulated sources. Companies producing carbon will have decrease emissions reasonably can over-comply and sell excess allowances to companies with higher reduction costs, enabling these them to evade investing in high-cost compliance measures and decrease the overall cost of emission reduction. The policy will bring social welfare by reducing emissions of pollutants from different sources. I would recommend that car manufacturers continue producing electric cars and the government should install charging systems across the country. The success of electric cars depends heavily on the global population, and I hope that through environmental education and mass marketing programs people will feel empowered and incentivized to drive electric-powered trucks. Both the government and cars manufacturers should commit to make a difference and ensure that by 2040 all gasoline cars will transform into electric cars and by doing so, we shall achieve a clean environment.
Pachauri, Rajendra K., et al. Climate change 2014: synthesis report. The contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC, 2014.
Jones, P. D., et al. "Observations: surface and atmospheric climate change." Climate change (2007): 235-336.
Driscoll, Charles T., et al. "US power plant carbon standards and clean air and health co-benefits." Nature Climate Change 5.6 (2015): 535-540.
Bento, Antonio, Matthew Freedman, and Corey Lang. "Who benefits from environmental regulation? evidence from the clean air act amendments." Review of Economics and Statistics 97.3 (2015): 610-622.
Keohane, Nathaniel O., and Sheila M. Olmstead. "Introduction." Markets and the Environment. Island Press, Washington, DC, 2016. 1-10.
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