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Environment

The Coming Cap and Trade Debate

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyFebruary 26, 2009 1:00 AM

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Obama really laid it down last night, no? He clearly said that even with the economy crushed, he wants a cap and trade bill to cut greenhouse gases this year. I know it's a campaign promise and all, but I seriously wouldn't have been surprised to see some de-emphasizing of this priority in light of the current financial situation. I've done a major article about the prospects for a cap and trade bill that's coming out soon, and don't want to tip my hand yet, but suffice it to say--this is going to be a hell of a battle. A lot of senators are going to be very worried about the economy, and hard to convince to get on board with a bill that will raise energy costs. But at the same time, Obama or the bill's proponents can structure it so that the cap actually gives back to citizens in the form of "dividends," and that could be quite popular. In short, it's a huge political risk to try to pull off cap and trade this year--yet really ingenious policymaking might just manage to make it possible. What do people think: Is Obama nuts, or can we really pass cap-and-trade legislation in 2009?

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