The Kyoto environmental accords failed and little progress has been made on world poverty. The US administration is pushing cap and trade as an alternative to Kyoto and has no defined program to reduce world poverty.
Cap and trade is a corporate program, subject to market manipulation that we’ve seen in other commodity markets, and that is pushing marginal farmers into survival mode in Brazil as corporations buy up large tracts of land for it’s carbon trade potential.
Maria Cantwell has a better idea: Cap and Dividend. It would add a carbon fee on all hydrocarbon products and rebate the collected funds to individuals to compensate them for the increased prices of petroleum products. The only problem is, it’s only a national program. American consumers would continue to buy the products at the same rate if they are compensated for the increase in price.
A better answer is an international program, where rebates would go to many people living on a dollar a day and not using any petroleum products. Such a program would fight carbon buildup while at the same time fighting poverty, a win-win for the world.
Instead of beating their heads against the wall trying to sell climate change to people who won’t get interested until it affects them, environmentalists should be working in a world forum like the UN and the WTO to sell the benefits of carbon reduction in, not only improving the environment, but reducing world poverty.
Petroleum products have a world market. Petroleum producers are multinational corporations. The world is suffering wars in the name of petroleum resources and third world countries are benefiting little from them. It’s time for an international efforts to combat climate change and world poverty in a unified program.