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Interview: Senator Cantwell on
Her Alternative to Cap-and-Trade

As energy and climate legislation continues to founder in the U.S. Senate, one Democratic senator, Maria Cantwell of Washington, says it’s time for a new strategy. Her legislation, co-sponsored by Republican Susan Collins of Maine and praised by many for its simplicity, would make the country’s major
Cantwell
Maria Cantwell
suppliers of fossil fuels buy permits to emit C02, and return most of the proceeds to taxpayers. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Cantwell explains how her “cap-and-refund” bill avoids the potentially murky financial mechanisms of the traditional cap-and-trade approach, while at the same time winning over the public in the transition to a post-fossil fuel economy. The choice, Cantwell believes, is clear: Either the U.S. puts a price on carbon and embraces a gradual shift to renewable energy, or the country continues on its current path and becomes increasingly vulnerable to rising oil prices, falls behind China and Europe in the race for green technology, and makes little progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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