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Capping Carbon in the Northwest


What effect can a regional policy have on a global issue like climate change?

Seven western states and four Canadian provinces are releasing a draft of recommendations today in a regional plan to combat global climate change. The Western Climate Initiative centers around a cap-and-trade system, restricting carbon emissions and allowing industries to buy and sell the right to pollute.

The European Union recently implemented an emissions trading system with mixed results, which may have influenced the U.S. Senate to reject a similar national plan last month. Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama were both absent for the Senate vote, but each has said they would support some form of cap-and-trade system.

What effect can a regional policy have on a global issue like climate change? What will it mean for the Western States Initiative if the next president implements a national cap-and-trade system? How will restrictions on utilities and other industries affect energy consumers in the Pacific Northwest?

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