Cap and Trade a Success! 103 Million Americans Now Breathe Cleaner Air


NOx-reducing air towers. Photo via Freeport LNG

Well, it looks like the cap and trade is a success--since it was implemented in 2003, smog levels have gone way down, and over 100 million Americans breathe cleaner air. All thanks to a system put into action that allowed polluting companies to find market-based solutions for lowering their emissions. Their Nitrogen Oxides emissions, that is. Yup, I'm talking about the effective cap and trade that has drastically reduced NOx emissions over the last five years--though of course, it makes a strong case for a cap and trade for CO2 as well.The NOx Budget Trading Program is a cap and trade system involving 20 states and Washington DC. It puts a price on Nitrogen Oxides, and creates an incentive for industries that pollute the NOx to reduce them. And it works.

According the organization's annual report,

the summertime NOx emissions from power plants and large industrial sources were down by 62 percent compared to year 2000 levels and 75 percent lower than in 1990.
Wow, that sounds like a serious reduction! So let's get this straight--power companies and heavy industry successfully reduced their pollution by drastic margins thanks to a government program. But how come no one's yelling about how much more everyone's paying for electricity? Companies still had to install controls and improve efficiencies to limit their emissions, just like they would with CO2.

Here's what the cap and trade that nobody hates accomplished:

  1. The reduction of NOx has helped reduce smog levels by 10 to 14 percent in the NBP region - largely in the eastern parts of the country;

  2. There is a strong association between areas with the greatest reductions in NOx emissions and downwind sites that show the greatest improvements in smog; and

  3. The program contributed to improvements in air quality in 97 percent of nonattainment areas in the east, with 85 percent of these areas now below the smog standard.

Hmmmm. The system improved the quality of air and human health, all with a market based approach overseen by the government. But surely, this couldn't work for that other cap and trade I keep hearing about--all those loud men keep yelling about how it will take my freedom away. Hm.

More on Cap and Trade and the Climate Bill
Obama's Cap and Trade Would Generate $645 Billion in "Climate Revenue"
Senate Climate Bill Gets Bipartisan Support

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