Article on the Occasion of COP21 by Sina Gösele
What is Carbon Trading?
How does it work?
Advantages and Disadvantages
Important to mention is, that “cap and trade” is only helpful if there is a strong, regulating cap on the emissions and if the cap is reducing step by step. Therefore, we need governments which are willing to strengthen the cap in the required way for tackling the problem.
However, the industries which rely completely on fossil fuel so far like electricity generation, steel, iron, oil and gas, are provided with the wrong incentives. Our mass consumption of fossil fuels is the main reason for increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and therefore global warming. Carbon Trading allows these industries to delay the structural changes they urgently need in order to improve by buying cheap carbon units. That is not acceptable because we need change now! We have to reorganize how electricity is produced and use modern technology to become independent from fossil fuels.
Politicians often argue that forcing these industries to do these structural changes would be a huge political conflict during nothing would change and it was therefore better to choose to compromise now and find a painless way.
However, is there really a painless way? In my opinion, structural changes will have to take place and putting them off will only make it more expensive on the long run. Therefore, we need this political discussion and yes, it will be painful, but it will probably be less painful for our climate than waiting.