Cap and Trade Reception in the US

The introduction of a cap and trade policy in the US has been a long-standing source of debate, discussing the effectiveness of such a policy and its particular implementation on a national level. With the start of the Joe Biden presidency, the question has become even more pivotal to the development of the country and its future course of action. With the threat of climate change becoming ever-more-prominent, the cap and trade solution can be seen as a direct way of restricting corporate pollution with the tools of the free market. The general stance on the policy in the United States is mixed, with many critics professing the complications and side effects of the approach. However, some supporters also see it as a viable way of combatting the issue without introducing a carbon tax. In this section of the discussion, the general views and attitudes of the American population regarding the Cap and Trade policy will be discussed.

As it stands, the current perception of the Cap and Trade initiative are mostly negative, with a number of politicians and journalists seeing this approach as ineffective and damaging for a number of involved groups. It is noted by an article published in the Wall Street Journal that the policy sees much resistance from the democrats of the country. While the introduction of Cap and Trade is noted to be one of the most effective ways of meeting the president’s climate goals, many note that this approach will disproportionately affect poor communities and societal minorities (Ip, 2021). Similarly to such things as healthcare and income, the less privileged have lesser access to clean technology and other aspects of business that allow companies to restrict pollution. In this vein, the population will be affected by the Cap and Trade approach disproportionately. In addition, other commentators argue that the application of this policy will negatively impact companies, further forcing them to increase the burden put on the consumer (Gleason, 2021). Possible financial pitfalls that the critics note include driving up the gas and utility prices, while also not being properly implemented all around the country. On the opposite side of the discussion, there are also a number of supporters for this policy. The California Air Resources Board, as a prime example, actively promotes and encourages the policy as a way for the state of California to meet its climate goals (California air Resources Board). Their website considers this policy to be cost-effective solution to reducing co2 emissions. The economic incentive created for businesses helps the resources board encourage various organizations within the state to gradually reduce their levels of carbon pollution, using monetary losses as a market incentive for future change.

Overall, it can be said that the use and implementation of the Cap and Trade program is seen in a largely negative light by the democratic population of the country. The implications the policy has for the wellbeing and financial stability of specific parts of society should not be overlooked. People from impoverished communities and those under heavier economic burden are expected to be more severely affected by this program, making a substantial portion of the US’s population come under risk. Additionally, the costs and expenses connected with the implementation of this program will be unnecessarily putting stress on the country’s economy, making it seem less favorable to utilize.


California air Resources Board. Cap-and-Trade Program | California Air Resources Board. (n.d.).

Ip, G. (2021). Carbon tax sidelined in BIDEN’S push on Climate, Taxes. The Wall Street Journal.

Gleason, P. (2021). As Biden Administration prepares climate POLICY Push, cap & Trade falls flat In democratic-run states. Forbes.

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DemoEssays. "Cap and Trade Reception in the US." February 7, 2023.