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Ozone levels are falling

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at

The EPA says that cap-and-trade helped make it possible

The NY TImes is reporting that nitrogen oxide emissions are down, and that has resulted in a drop in the ozone levels. I found this part of the article interesting.

Jeffrey R. Holmstead, who is stepping down on Friday as the agency's assistant administrator for air and radiation, said that "this is a very significant reduction of ozone concentration" and that it offers reassurance "that what we're working on is the effective way to go."

Mr. Holmstead was referring to the cap-and-trade approach to emission reduction, which is favored by the Bush administration, rather than the Clinton administration's absolute cap, which remains favored by environmentalists.

In a cap-and-trade system, a plant can exceed its permitted level of emissions by buying credits from a plant in the same region whose emissions are below what is allowed. Environmentalists argue that such an approach fails to achieve the lowest possible emissions, because it does not require all plants to use "best available control technology."

But Mr. Holmstead said cap-and-trade worked more efficiently, since plant owners, without enough money to make all the necessary improvements at once, had incentive to install controls on the biggest emission sources first.

While not a perfect market driven approach, it seems to have worked better than previous attempts.

I wonder what would happen if industrial sources had to pay people whose air they polluted? Would there be a bidding war? Would it drive research into non-polluting technologies? Who knows? An article like this certainly makes me curious.

Posted: Fri - August 19, 2005 at 08:00 PM

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