Maybe there's hope after all.
That the legislature received the presentation is itself progress, but the specifics are noteworthy:
Regular readers will note a strong similarity to the measures I've been advocating. The only real difference is that the permits would be sold at auction, so the economic benefit of savings fluctuates with the market. This could lead to slumps in the efficiency industry during economic contractions, with a consequent reduction or halt in improvements. On the flip side, the permit auction eliminates the protected status of entrenched industry and the net effect on consumers would be small and even positive for low emitters. It amounts to a tax on "bads", not "goods"; on the whole, it's an excellent idea.
The legislators are not convinced. State Rep. Albert J. Perry is quoted as saying "I don't see any immediate opportunity in Vermont. I'd need to see how it's set up, get a more concrete presentation of how it would work." This was seconded by the executive VP of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association: "The concept of trading carbon credits is probably something that's in our future. The $64,000 question is `What's it going to look like?' Some of the best ideas get lost in translation, between concept and implementation."
Two things are for certain:
It's a proposal from a visionary, not a bill submitted by an elected statesman. But the ideas are a long way from what seems like their natural home in California, which makes it a hopeful beginning.
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