The Financial Times reports that companies support cap-and-trade schemes so long as they don’t have to pay for them.
A President Obama would discover this truism – that forcing covered parties to pay for their ration coupons is a little harder in practice than in theory, despite pleas from his pals in the atom-smashing business who would gain a competitive advantage that way (they wouldn’t have to buy them like everyone else).
Not everyone is so enthusiastic, and in fact we have seen with companies such as Duke Power that zeal for purportedly planet-saving cap-and-trade turns into cold-eyed pragmatism once the notion of free ration tickets fades. Wouldn’t want to do anything rash. Sen. McCain of course still says he’d give them away to industry for free. The consumer gets the bill either way, the question is whether the wealth is transferred to rent-seekers or the state.
None of this was lost on German industry. Says the FT:
Climate change fears after German opt-out
A German government decision to back an almost total exemption for industry from new rules that would force companies to pay for the carbon dioxide they emit threatens to undermine a key tenet of European Union climate policy, climate campaigners warn.
The decision is a victory for German industry, which feared European Commission proposals for an auction of carbon emission permits would cost billions of euros and restrict its ability to compete internationally.
Now, back to that persistent question of how to quantify the promise to formally promise a 20-percent reduction . . .