Just collosally ignorant. That was all I could think to say on viewing the latest eco-video web sensation, The Story of Cap and Trade by Annie Leonard and Co. No one does a circular firing squad like the Left and this contribution is a potential Hall of Famer.
Leonard has a disarming Every Gal schtick, but it masks a shockingly ill-informed—or maybe outright deceptive—“critique” of cap and trade. I was working myself up to rant about about it, but over at Grist Dave Roberts got there before I did. To give you a flavor of Dave’s take-down:
I hesitate to call this an “argument” in the video, since it mainly consists of using the words “Enron,” “bubble,””Wall Street,” and “scam” suggestively, without saying anything at all specific about why this commodity market—which would be one of any number of commodity markets, most of which work perfectly well, including the carbon market in Europe—would be uniquely evil.
I do have one major complaint about Dave’s post, however: he’s way too nice about it. The video’s 10 minutes is so loaded with factual inaccuracies and deceptions that it would literally take me hours to unravel them all. It’s really quite a feat.
It’s not just the trading part that she butchers. She comes close to flat out lying about offset programs (and I say this as a card-carrying offsets skeptic), fumbles on allocations, blinks on consumer fairness, and mangles a description of Europe’s experience. In fact, so childish is the video that most of the criticisms are actually directed at “these guys,” a pair of stick figures in pin-striped suits. No kidding, the critique is literally directed at a caricature.
Toward the end, she suggests a handful of policy alternatives. Of course, she doesn’t mention this, but many of these would actually be enhanced by an operational cap-and-trade system (funding renewable energy, for example). But others are almost laughably hackneyed (“concerned citizens around the world need to speak out”). It’s just bizarre.
I’m not going to waste any more time writing about it. Go read Dave’s post. But I’ll close with just one important point: carbon trading is absolutely unrelated to the program’s environmental integrity. Get that? “Cap” and “trade” are two different words. Leonard and others don’t seem to understand this elemental fact. Even if some Wall Street bad guys made money on the program, it would still reduce emissions. The trading doesn’t affect the cap. It just doesn’t.
So if you’re worried about carbon, then cap it. If you’re worried about carbon trading, then regulate it. And if you’re worried that your knee jerk misunderstandings about climate policy are being ignored on the eve of a game-changing global agreement, go viral with an Internet video.