November 10, 1997
Return to this forum's introduction.
Questions answered in this forum:
Can the science behind global warming predictions be trusted? Can an effective program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions be created? Should there be a tax on gas-guzzling vehicles? Could nuclear power reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions? Can a system of emissions credits reduce America's production of greenhouse gases? Should developing countries be included in a global climate treaty? Viewer comments
October 22, 1997:
A discussion of President Clinton's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
June 25, 1997:
President Clinton is backing the EPA's push for tougher air quality standards, but critics say they're too costly.
February 18, 1997:
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new clean air standardsthat have been criticized by some industry, state and local officials.
March 6, 1997:
The fastest rise in temperature for perhaps ten thousand years is having a dramatic effect on the brittle ecosystem of Antarctica.
January 4, 1996
British meteorologists report that the Earth's surface temperature was higher than the average in 1995.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of science and the environment.
EPA Web site on global warming
Environmental Defense Fund
The Online NewsHour asks:
President Clinton's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions relies on a trading system of emission credits. Do you support such an approach?
Carl Pope of the Sierra Club responds:
Once you have an adequate system of enforceable emission limits in place, trading is a perfectly reasonable way to introduce some flexibility into the system. But the President's plan does not meet the challenge of reflecting the science, and the trading proposals currently on the table are not enforceable. Let's cap first. Then we can talk about trading.
Karen Karrigen of the Global Climate Information Project responds:
President Clinton's reliance on a trading system of emission credits -- which he distorts as "market-based" -- will not make the treaty "painless" for the American economy. While the "trade" portion of the system may be a "market-based solution" for reducing energy use, it is the "cap" -- as part of the larger trade and cap proposal -- which gives the emissions credit its value. The "cap and trade" scheme is really just an energy quota system, implemented through taxing energy use, while our trading partners do not assume that burden. Emission caps will likely be applied for entire countries, down to regions, states or local entities, as well as industries. So the entire emissions trading scheme is designed to make the populace believe we are not doing what in fact we are doing -- establishing emission quotas, to curb a threat which to date remains theoretical despite significant taxpayer money being committed to proving it -- while allowing our competitors to avoid disamring unilaterally on the energy front.
Dr. Michael Oppenheimer of the Environmental Defense Fund responds:
Yes; my organization is a chief proponent of emissions trading. As part of a national effort to solve the acid rain problem, an emissions trading system for sulfur dioxide was embodied in the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. To date, reductions are 1/3 greater than mandated by law, and the cost is 1/5-1/10 of estimates made before the Act was passed. We think that applying this system to carbon dioxide will produce faster, cheaper reductions than other approaches.
Next: should developing countries be included in a global climate treaty?