Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone is not enough to produce widely shared prosperity.
Home Essential Documents Themes All Documents Authors Glossary Links Contact Us


Air Trusts

Peter Barnes: Capitalism 3.0 — Chapter 9: Building the Commons Sector (pages 135-154)

While the federal government dallies on climate change, several states are taking action. Most advanced is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, launched by seven northeastern states from Maine to Delaware. Their plan will limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and require utilities to hold emission permits. Still undecided as of mid-2006 is a crucial question: will polluters pay for their permits, or will they get most of them for free?

Dozens of citizens’ groups are calling upon the states to auction emission permits and use the proceeds to reduce costs to consumers. “Historically, polluters have used our air for free,” says Marc Breslow of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network. “But there’s no justification for allowing them to keep doing so. The atmosphere is common property.”

As this is written, some politicians are listening. The Vermont legislature voted to auction 100 percent of the state’s emission permits, rather than give them free to polluters. In Massachusetts, a key committee approved a five-year transition to full auctioning — though the state’s governor, Mitt Romney, abruptly withdrew Massachusetts from the regional initiative. In New York, the state attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, announced his support for 100 percent auctioning. This could be especially significant if Spitzer, as seems likely, becomes governor in 2007. ... read the whole chapter



To share this page with a friend: right click, choose "send," and add your comments.

Red links have not been visited; .
Green links are pages you've seen

Essential Documents pertinent to this theme:

Top of page
Essential Documents
to email this page to a friend: right click, choose "send"
Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper