Commentary: Cap and trade is a sensible compromise

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star.

A carbon tax would be the most effective way to change the behavior of industries that belch large amounts of greenhouse gases into America's air.

The tax would cause coal-fired power plants and many other large polluters to invest in modern equipment that would reduce emissions. The tax would make it more expensive to produce power the old-fashioned way, which would encourage investment in cleaner and renewable energies such as wind and solar.

But there is, admittedly, a large problem with a carbon tax: Congress doesn't have the spine to pass it, given the immense opposition from a wide variety of U.S. industries.

So President Barack Obama and many politicians, environmentalists and even some industry groups are coalescing around the next best idea.

It's a cap-and-trade policy, which would allow the government to set a ceiling on total greenhouse gas emissions. Then, polluters would buy and sell permits as they attempt to meet the overall emissions goal.

If done properly, cap and trade would be a responsible compromise as the federal government attacks the problem of global warming.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.