Letters to the Editor
Readers write about "cap and trade" and an international body of democratic nations.
'Cap and trade' provides effective economic incentive
Regarding Justin Danhof's July 16 Opinion piece, "Why cap and trade could backfire": The piece proposed that cap and trade efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions might end up increasing emissions by reducing guilt.
While applicable to voluntary emission markets, Mr. Danhof's article does not recognize the centrality of the "cap" in cap and trade. With an emissions cap, if people increase their emissions because they have a reduction in guilt, the price of emissions allowances increases.
With a mandatory cap, the price of emissions must rise so that the cap is not exceeded. Efficiency gains and development of alternative energy sources would lessen pressure to increase emissions. Revenue generated from auctioning allowances can be directed at lessening some impacts of higher energy prices.
Danhof's citing 2005, the first year of the European emission market, is not a valid example for several reasons. The first three years were trial years for working out various problems such as, it turned out, allocating too many emission allowances.
Daniel M. Ihara, PhD
In response to the recent Opinion piece on cap and trade: Is there any thought of rewarding those of us who use substantially less energy, gas, water, etc. than the average? What about benefiting those of us who are a part of the solution, rather than making provisions for those who are part of the cause?
Big businesses consume and waste large amounts of electricity by paying less if they use more electricity. They get a bulk bargain – incentive to waste – while my price for electricity went up for conserving and using less!
The need for a body of democracies
Regarding your July 16 editorial, "Peace before justice in Darfur": You rightly write, "The UN Security Council has been unwilling to enforce peace in Darfur." You could have added Zimbabwe, Kosovo, Rwanda, and a number of other nations. In fact, because of its dictator members, the Council is not only unwilling, it has been – and will continue to be – unable to enforce peace in Darfur and elsewhere.
Continuing dreams of the United Nation's reformation and empowerment to deal effectively with such horrors are destructive fantasies.
But a league of democracies would be able and willing. Assume this new league would be composed only of those democracies, worldwide, that are willing and committed to intervene in such instances where a government is committing genocide against its own people. Then it could well be the international organization, so desperately needed, that could support the International Criminal Court's rulings and also act to prevent both war and genocide and thus substantially accelerate our planet's progress toward peace.
Chairman, Ashburn Institute for the Global Study of Federalism and Democracy
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