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Poll: Global warming awareness grows in U.S.

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The graphs are apparently starting to sink in, as more Americans acknowledge the reality of global warming.

Regulations favored over market-based approach to controlling greenhouse gas pollution

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A new poll shows that market-based options for limiting greenhouse gas emissions need to be better explained to gain acceptance. Even though a growing number of Americans acknowledge climate change as a serious issue, most don’t much  knowledge about the possible use of a cap-and-trade system, according to Duke University researchers who conducted the poll.

Recent weather events like Superstorm Sandy, as well as President Obama‘s renewed focus on climate has put climate change back on the table as a high-profile issue, with more Americans supporting  regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and requiring utilities to switch to lower-carbon fuel sources.

Overall, 64 percent of Americans strongly or somewhat favor regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, factories and cars and requiring utilities to generate more power from “clean” low-carbon sources. Continue reading

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Save the whales … with ‘cap and trade’

Three humpback whales surrounded by birds in NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.

Economics, marine science professors team up to offer a market-based solution to whale conservation

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A marine science professor and an economist from California say a market-based approach to whale conservation could help sustain populations of the cetaceans and also help whalers who make their living from killing the  marine mammals.

Anti-whaling groups like Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, and the World Wildlife Fund spend at least $25 million per years on a variety of activities intended to end commercial whaling, yet every year, commercial whaling not only continues, but grows.

Instead of spending that money on anti-whaling activities, the groups could use the money on an open whale conservation market to purchase a share of the quotas, thus saving whales directly.

Under the current, largely unregulated system, the number of whales harvested annually has doubled since the early 1990s, to about two thousand per year and many populations of large whales have been severely depleted and continue to be threatened by commercial whaling. Continue reading

Commentary: Carbon tax needed to curb CO2 emissions

A map from the United Nations Environmental Programme shows relative CO2 production worldwide.

Leading climate economist argues that carbon tax would reflect true cost of global warming impacts

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The oft-discussed cap and trade model for limiting carbon greenhouse gas emissions is inefficient and ineffective, according to Yale climate economist William Nordhaus, who last week advocated for supplementing or replacing cap-and-trade with a flat carbon tax that reflects the true environmental and societal costs of global warming.

Writing in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Nordhaus describes carbon dioxide emissions externalities, with social consequences not accounted for in the market place. They are market failures because people do not pay for the current and future costs of their emissions, he wrote. A carbon tax could be a useful means to cut budget deficits while meeting environmental objectives, he said. Continue reading

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