Strow and Reader debate cap and trade legislation

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Kristen Snyder

The issue: “Should the federal government enact cap and trade legislation to combat climate change?”

The debaters: Brian Strow, associate economics professor, and Daniel Reader, geography and geology instructor

Strow outlined the following points for the Herald before the debate:

–The climate is changing. Then again, it has always been changing.

–The view that man is causing a climate catastrophe is based more on political propaganda than on scientific fact.

–Climate change isn’t even in the top ten biggest problems currently faced by humanity.

–The costs of dramatically reducing carbon emissions greatly exceed the benefits of doing so.

–If you really believe that large reduction in carbon are needed to save the planet, a carbon tax applied to industries equally is economically preferable to a cap and trade program that distributes carbon emissions to politically connected industries.

Reader’s argument:

–“I will be arguing in favor of cap and trade legislation as a good first step toward minimizing U.S. reliance upon fossil fuels,” Reader told the Herald prior to the debate.

–The surprise twist at the end was his point that we are now at the peak consumption of (energy) coal/oil and that it will soon become too costly to extract coal/oil (energy), will severely cut our uses and thus cut carbon emissions in the future. This will also have a severe effect on our economy.

Audience responses:

“There are those of us that think this is a crisis. The question is what is the best way to solve it?”

“Dr. Strow’s agrument was very human-centrist and focused on this generation, more concerned about right now, but what about the future? What about other species?”

–Nadia De Leon, a WKU staff member and alumna from Buenos Aires

“It was hard but I’d have to side with Dr. Strow. Yes, the climate is changing, but there is no positive correlation. There has to be another way where the economy will not suffer as much as it already is.”

–Amber Schewe, a freshman from Hendersonville, Tenn.

“Other anthropogenic (man made) impacts are decreasing carbon sinks ability to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.”

“I do believe something needs to be done and for the free market to step in and take care of it.”

–Brandon Porter, a graduate student from Ottawa, Kan.

“Something needs to be done, but I believe cap and trade will hurt us, Kentucky especially. We rely on coal and it would hurt us if cap and trade where introduced. We can’t afford to pay for those extra emissions.”

–Nicholasville senior Heather Pike