Utne Blogs > Environment

The Big Cap-and-Trade Swindle

 by David Schimke


Tags: Environment, Spirituality, cap-and-trade, Catholic Church, indulgences, global warming, Earth Island Journal, Resurgence, David Schimke,

Last fall, environmental journalist Gar Smith authored an opinion piece for Earth Island Journal in which he argued that cap-and-trade for emissions—designed to allow polluting companies to purchase credits from greener peers to offset their environmental impact—is a morally bankrupt con game on par with the ancient Catholic Church’s doctrine of indulgences. The doctrine he describes is a “once popular practice” that “allowed rich parishioners to purchase remission for their sins by making contributions to the church’s minions.”

The comparison compels, particularly because Smith saves some space to wonder what would happen “if we applied the medieval logic that underlies the granting of ‘pollution indulgences’ to other aspects of human behavior?”

I missed this piece when it was first published, so thanks to the editors at Resurgence magazine, who reprinted a version in their March-April 2010 issue.

Source: Earth Island Journal