Some economists believe a simple tax on greenhouse gas emissions makes more sense than the elaborate cap-and-trade regime for carbon dioxide envisioned by Evolution and other players in the nascent market. After all, a global market would be hard to police, and even in the United States authority might be spread among several agencies, from the EPA to the SEC. And the EPA is moving forward with regulations that may simply mandate a cut in greenhouse gas emissions. "There's a fair chance that if EPA moves forward, it will be command and control," said Josh Margolis, CEO of environmental brokerage CantorCO2e. "I got into this business in the mid-1980s and there was no cap-and-trade program; it was a program that focused on people who could create reductions and needed them to expand or build new facilities."
But trading allows the market to work its efficient magic on the reduction of air pollution, from Hochschild's and Evolution's perspectives—and that remains the national negotiating position of the United States: Companies that can make reductions do so because they have a financial incentive. Companies that cannot afford to do so can buy compliance for a reasonable price. In their minds, a deal is good for their finances and the environment.
As the old Evolution slogan went: "Saving the planet, one trade at a time."
This article originally appeared at The Daily Climate, the climate change news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.