The cap and trade system that is currently being proposed is fraught with difficulties brought on by the complexities that are being written into a process that should be relatively straight forward.
Instead, what has been crafted is a scenario that will very closely resemble the kind of financial speculation that caused the financial meltdown from which we are still suffering. Many of the same obscure and complex financial instruments which resulted in the collapse will be present in the cap and trade system proposed under the Waxman/Markey bill. Additionally, corporations are spending huge resources on trying to prevent the bill from doing its stated job, sending hundreds of lobbyists and millions of dollars in an attempt to keep business as usual.
Carbon offsets, which allow polluters to continue to pollute as long as someone somewhere agrees to pollute less in exchange, have been tried by the European Union and found to be very unreliable and highly vulnerable to fraud.
I suggest this you tube video which does a great job of graphically presenting an overview of what is a very complex system http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA6FSy6EKrM
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