Policy Options for Mitigating Climate Change
There are at least five main ways a government can help move us toward reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions:
1. Regulations, sometimes called "command and control" measures by which government tells businesses what they can, cannot, or must do, and how. Example: EPA regulations on carbon emissions of power plants or mileage targets for automobiles.
2. Subsidies for low-GHG energy sources or for reductions in GHG emissions by fossil-fuel companies.
3. Cap-and-trade systems. Stipulate the total GHG emissions for an economic sector, assign "pollution permits," and let companies sell and buy permits.
4. Carbon taxes, also call carbon fee and dividend. A tax is placed on carbon emissions at the source (e.g. a mine or a import port-of-entry). Oil companies have voiced their support for this approach. And over 150 corporations have signed "The Carbon Price Communique" that calls for carbon pricing.
5. Supporting scientific research and new technologies that promise to mitigate our contribution to global warming.
Each of these have advantages and disadvantages, successes and failures. Click on links to find out more about each. (site in progress)