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Free «Cap and Trade» Essay Sample

Note 1

There is a difficulty in defining clear and present dangers which show symptoms that are incontrovertible. The threats associated with global warming are not as visible or as immediate as foreign troops on the border. Therefore, one important aspect of the policies is their exploration of ways in which the nature of risk and threat arising from global phenomena can be presented accurately, and yet simultaneously trigger an awareness of the need for action. The decidedly Cap and Trade history of the international political response to global environmental threats during the last 15 years is illuminating, for it shows both the difficulty of seeking immediate political action on the basis of an assessment of long-term possible threats, and the temptation of “short-circuiting” that frustration by exaggeration and oversimplification So, the main agreements that guide and stipulate Cap and Trade relations are the Kyoto Protocol, Garnaut Draft Report (in Australia), The European Union Emission Trading Scheme (for the EU countries), The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (in New Zealand), and the Clean Air Act (in the USA) (Houghton 2005).

Note 2

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The Cap and Trade policies become very popular today as they permit increased pollution in some regions of the world. From public view, there are two ways of proceeding with this issue. Either one can ignore the “general will” or one can seek to shape it. In the first case, a decision will be taken that a situation is too serious, too complicated and too urgent to risk being taken to the process of public debate and, accordingly, by some form of diktat, actions will be taken in the planetary interest but not necessarily with public assent. This dictatorship would be more that of the philosopher-kings than of the mafia, for the source of legitimation offered would be that special knowledge gave special mandate. Merely to write such a prescription is to underline its deep unattractiveness. Actions taken from the “aristocracy of knowledge” are brittle. They are usually accepted only in contexts of generally agreed clear and present danger (Burney, 2010). Yet one quality shared by many of the planetary threats is that, unaddressed at an early stage, they can reach a point where action is unavoidable and must be draconian (Tietenberg, 2006).

Note 3

The method of achieving a Cap and Trade mandate is, of course, often used already for some of the issues discussed. It is where a government acts on the international stage—the forum is the large international conference at which leaders claim to hear, or to articulate, a general will upon which they then act by treaty. Thus at the global level, the national programs of action which were put in place in many countries after signature of the Climate Change Convention agreed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 followed this route. That example is in itself salutary for, while some countries have achieved reductions in carbon emissions, others manifestly have not and there is no power to ensure compliance. Another more familiar form of delegated authority is at the regional level, where nations routinely pool authority within, for example, the European Union. That, too, has demonstrable limits because of lack of powers to enforce compliance. The second form of direct mandate is the one which does produce political action more reliably (Houghton 2005).

Note 4

The main countries “for” the Cap and Trade are developing countries including Japan, China, India, Mexico, etc, Examples of this already exist at both regional and global levels. At the regional level, the management of the so-called “mad cow disease” problem in some European countries is illuminating, showing the limitations on the ability of traditional political mechanisms to alleviate public fears (Burney, 2010). Step-by-step, what appeared to be reluctant measures were introduced after the extent of the problem had become publicly apparent, and with each further revelation public confidence eroded. Also at the regional level, fear has produced a patchy, reactive international response to the uncontrolled forest fires that swept South East Asia in 2005. At the global level, fear has undoubtedly propelled AIDS research. Noteworthy in all these cases is the fact that public fear typically shows itself in concentrated bursts rather than continuously. When a reluctant response of the power structure is driven in this way, equally sporadic effort may result (Houghton 2005).

Note 5

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The main problem, as noted earlier, is that most of today’s global threats creep up upon us slowly and are pervasive. Consequently, they do not generate a lively, urgent fear in response. Clearly, each category is empowered in different ways, but, being empowered, has the means to construct new forms of global politics by fostering a political agenda. Such pressure-group politics follows in the footsteps of activists against slavery or for women’s suffrage. Never a majority, such groups nonetheless change the norms of political culture. This manner of seeking to create a legitimate mandate for action, by the indirect approach, is close to one of the emerging strands of legitimating of political action that has become part of mainstream political discourse in the West in recent years, namely, the “stakeholder” approach to the reconstruction of national civil society. It has become widely accepted in both Eastern and Western Europe that, albeit for different reasons, alienation is on the increase in many sectors of society (Burney, 2010).

Note 6

The stakeholder approach has in its favor the fact that it builds incrementally upon old-established roots. In common law, it is property and the possession of property that gives individuals standing. Indeed, some of the most creative new thinking about how to address the problems of the global commons approaches directly from that foundation; for, as Kevin Gray has argued, there is much in the existing laws of property which permits extension into the field of global commons (Tietenberg, 2006). There is much to be said in support of this approach. It promises a more immediate mobilization of legitimated political action than other forms of mandate and it also offers a gradual pathway into the new agenda of global security from the familiar agenda of national security. This form of mandate is not the final state of political evolution necessary to respond to the challenges of the twenty-first century. It is no more—and no less—than a readily achievable position pro tem (Houghton 2005).

Note 7

Historically, the development of common law through precedent is the main example of an “extension” within the nation-state. In future, the planetary interest concept will no doubt operate in the same way. For, as noted earlier, the prerequisite to a self-sustaining mobilization of the planetary interest in global politics will only come from a transformation—indeed, an awakening—of a new form of global social consciousness. This global consciousness alone can ensure that new institutions and mechanisms, designed to protect the planetary interest, are granted the legitimacy they need in order to be effective, grounded in an informed consent of the people (Burney, 2010). This will be the key requirement of politics in the twenty-first century. Japan’s ozone layer protection measures involve not only controls over the production of CFCS but also various measures to reduce the emission of CFCS into the atmosphere. In order to reduce emissions, equipment not using CFCS or equipment with a built-in mechanism for recovering them has been developed and widely used with the help of the government’s financial assistance and tax measures. Regarding car air-conditioners, there was a problem of leakage of coolant CFCS. However, car air-conditioners produced in Japan after 1990 have lower leakage, that is to say, leakage from a car filled with 700g of CFCS has been reduced from 50g in the past to 10g today. Because of these improvements, the demand for CFC coolants for replacement has been lowered. Furthermore, stocks of new CFCS remain even now. Accordingly, no cases of CFC trafficking have been reported in Japan, unlike in other developed countries, even after the production of CFCS was totally abolished (Tietenberg, 2006).

Note 8

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The biggest issue in relation to protection of the ozone layer in Japan after the total abolition of CFC production is recognized as the recovery of CFCS. Since CFCS are no longer produced, it is difficult to identify those responsible for their emission into the atmosphere, and Japan did not enact a law that obligated any specific body to recover CFCS. However, the recovery of CFCS from domestic refrigerators through municipal activities has rapidly increased. According to the survey by the Environment Agency, CFC was recovered from 56% of refrigerators in 1996, and the ratio is rising sharply (Tietenberg, 2006). With regard to their use in car air-conditioners, which accounts for the highest ratio of existing CFCS, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association will undertake initiatives to establish a recovery system with the co-operation of related companies, under the guidance of the Japanese government. Because of this development, the ratio of CFC recovery in this area is expected to rise considerably in the coming years. Since the demand for coolants for replacement is small in Japan, only a small portion of the recovered CFCS are reused (Houghton 2005).

Note 9

The technology for the destruction or breaking down of CFCS has been developed. UNEP has endorsed seven methods for destroying CFCS. Among them, the Environment Agency of Japan has developed technologies employing rotary kilns used as incinerators for industrial waste and cement kilns used at cement factories. MITI developed technologies to destroy CFCS using plasma methods, and is now developing technologies to increase the efficiency of the destruction of CFCS by improving the existing rotary kilns. Similar equipment is now being commercially produced by several companies. There is a growing public consensus that all the parties involved in CFC production, sales and use should bear the costs of recovery, while there is a growing necessity for the government to provide financial support for their destruction. In my view, the government should provide a larger budget for that purpose (Burney, 2010).

Note 10

The main countries against the Cap and Trade policies are the USA and the EU countries. The Cap and Trade policies become vital for modern economy because if  fail to harmonize environmental regulations internationally, unnecessary distortions in trade may occur. It is not acceptable for a country to derive the benefits of trade by ignoring environmental issues and producing cheaply. That is against its legitimate national interest. On the other hand, selfish environmental regulations of a country may become non-tariff barriers to other countries. That, too, is against the legitimate national interest. If the environmental regulation of a country is aimed at punishing a specific country, there may be a violation of the latter’s sovereignty and intervention in its domestic affairs.  need to discuss these issues in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Citizen participation is critical in ensuring that governments pursue the legitimate national interest in the interests of the planet (Burney, 2010).

Note 11

Today, not only governments but also citizen groups are aware of the need to protect the ozone layer. Japan’s Save the Ozone Network, a national-level NGO established to promote the recovery of CFCS, continues to urge governments and politicians to adopt stronger measures for recovery. In Japan, there were few active NGOS in the past, but today a number of NGOS including the Ozone Network are becoming more active. They have an increasing capacity to provide input into the decision-making processes (Burney, 2010). Thus the distantly intimate link today between Japan and Argentina. In this regard, the issue of ozone layer depletion makes us aware of the importance of the planetary interest. It is indispensable for us to have international frameworks in order to sustainably utilize the atmosphere, oceans and natural resources without polluting air or water, without exhausting resources and without destabilizing the ecological balance of the planet.

Note 12

Future measures for the protection of the ozone layer will still be needed. Observations of the ozone layer suggest that the amount of ozone is decreasing in the long term almost worldwide, except for tropical regions. The issues of ozone layer depletion and global warming are closely interrelated. CFCS and HCFCS have greater greenhouse potential than HFCS which are their alternative substances. Although the production of CFCS has ceased, the amount of CFCS emitted into the air when the existing appliances are discarded is very considerable. Further, CFCS and HCFCS are artificial chemical substances that are not recyclable in the natural ecosystem, in contrast to carbon dioxide. Therefore, in the coming years,  should comprehensively evaluate these artificial chemical substances and take necessary measures from the perspective of the protection of the global atmosphere. Since there are no national borders in the atmosphere, pollutants disperse over the entire Earth although taking a long time to create the damage (Burney, 2010).


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