All the recent talk about "cap and trade" being a solution to our pollution problems shows how easily we forget. This scheme was tried back in the '70s, when the utility companies were able to put off cleaning up their coal plants.
Thirty years later we are still working on "clean coal." It allows those that pollute to continue legally by purchasing credits from those that do not. It does nothing to clean up the environment. The real cause for less pollution is technology. The amount of money spent trading pollution credits back then, if it had been spent on actually reducing emissions, would have made great strides far more than we have seen so far.
It looks good on paper, yet the real cost is to everyone that uses energy in any form, which is everyone. It is a way for companies and the government to raise funds in a way that looks favorable.
Who is against cleaning up the environment? We would be better off allowing these companies to raise rates long enough to pay for the improvements up front. This would actually do something and would cost much less in the long run. It would also keep the money in the companies' hands to spend where it would help and out of the government's, which we all know is a huge mistake when it comes to making progress. Pay attention: The money they are seeking is all of ours.