Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Morgan Griffith on Cap and Trade

(New readers: "cap and trade" here refers to a way of writing regulations on pollution that is basically designed to criminalize private people's burning leaves or driving across town, especially in the U.S., in order to allow big corporations to burn soft coal in unfiltered furnaces, especially in China. This web site thinks U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9) could have denounced it more vigorously than he does below. If we want to reduce pollution, we should crack down on the biggest polluters first.)

Cap and Trade
Recently, I was able to attend the Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance (VCEA) and Southern States Energy Board 38th Annual Conference and Exposition. The event was much more upbeat than last year.

Although energy prices are volatile, there has been an uptick in the coal industry with both an improved market and with the regulatory relief and support from the Trump Administration.

The Trump Administration has made clear its intention of abandoning ineffective and job killing regulations. This has given companies more confidence in investing and using coal.

However, this newfound confidence seems to have motivated Virginia’s Governor McAuliffe to attempt to implement a cap and trade scheme here in Virginia. Last week, the Governor announced an Executive Order to begin the process of creating carbon emission limits from power plants in Virginia.

I touched on this at the VCEA event. A cap and trade scheme involving Virginia alone, or Virginia and a few other states, is not going to work. The idea is to clean up the air, but unless you have a worldwide agreement in which every nation follows the same rules, there will be job losses here for minimal gains around the world.

The developing world, particularly those countries with large populations demanding jobs which will provide them with increasing wealth and modern amenities, has no intention of cutting back on their emissions. This was discussed last week, where I explained the Paris Treaty is not the answer.

American communities cannot afford to lose jobs, and families, businesses, schools, and hospitals cannot afford to pay higher electricity rates. Instead of symbolic caps on emissions, we need to invest in cleaner coal technology and making all energy more affordable.