General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

Would people understand "negative resource" more easily than "cap and trade"?

Asked by LostInParadise (24407points) May 30th, 2009

I heard on the radio that the public is having trouble understanding the idea behind cap and trade as a way of controlling greenhouse gases. The idea is really not so difficult. The government sets a limit on greenhouse gas emission. An industry that goes under the limit gets credits according to how far under they go, and these credits can be sold to other industries to offset their emissions.

So here is my alternative way of describing cap and trade. Greenhouse gases are considered a negative resource. The amount of this resource that a company has is found by subtracting the limit from how much greenhouse gases a company produces. If the company goes under the limit then it has a negative amount of the resource, which can be sold to another company. This company adds the negative resource to its emission amount, which lowers its emisssion numbers.

On second thought, the people who don’t understand cap and trade are probably the same ones who do not understand negative numbers, so this may not help. Maybe if we called it a red resource it would help, where red indicates debit on a balance sheet.

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7 Answers

oratio's avatar

People who don’t understand that are people not interested, and I don’t think changing epithet will change that.
Lol, it made me think that negative amounts of a negative resource, is a double negative, and thus positive.

augustlan's avatar

I was going to suggest ‘credits’ and ‘debits’, but people tend not to understand those, either.

bubbleblue's avatar

Thanks for your explanation. I wasn’t aware of the meaning of cap and trade until just now.

marcosthecuban's avatar

how about ” a system of trading emissions allowances where the gov’t limits the total allowance’?

YARNLADY's avatar

No, in my experience, most people don’t want to understand things like that. They just want someone else to take care of it for them, but they want it done free, don’t you dare think of raising taxes.

LostInParadise's avatar

What is nice about cap and trade is that it combines government action with free enterprise, allowing the market determine the most cost efficient way of reducing greenhouse gases.

marcosthecuban's avatar

‘cap and trade’ will raise our cost of living big time. the government is always going to have a hard time keeping the ideas they love in balance & in proportion to costs because it’s not their money!

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