The Acid Rain Retirement Fund

Lynne Kiesling

One of the standard topics I discuss in summer workshops and in my environmental economics course is the benefits of tradable emission permits, including cap-and-trade programs such as the EPA’s Acid Rain program (yes, I know it’s not ideal because the cap is bureaucratically determined, but it’s better than the practical alternative, isn’t it?).

Last week at the IHS seminar I mentioned that people can buy the right to emit a ton of sulfur dioxide on the market at the Chicago Board of Trade, and then retire it. I love this; it’s using markets to make sure there’s a ton of SO2 that never gets in the air. I know that school groups and charities have organized such purchases. So, too, has The Acid Rain Retirement Fund in Maine. Donate money to them, they buy a ton of SO2, badda boom badda bing.

Thanks to Frank Stephenson for the link.


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