Where's My Carbon Credit, Dude? : Planet Money Notes on a righteous stab at explaining the carbon tax vs. cap-and-trade.

Where's My Carbon Credit, Dude?

We took a righteous stab this morning at explaining the basics of how a cap-and-trade program like the one being considered in congress might be used to limit global warming and carbon emissions. Or, say, limit the use of the word dude.

Internally, there was much debate here about what movie clip to use. Our producer Jacob Ganz emailed : "Dude, you can totally tax a turtle."

Our editor Uri Berliner remembered the Bud Light ads (video above, other ads here and here.)

And let me point out, it's not just economists debating whether a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade approach would be better. I just got this press release from the dudes at the National Pork Producer's Council, titled "Cap And Trade Preferable To Carbon Tax." A quote:

"We are already losing money today for every pig sold, and any additional costs will simply drive us deeper and more firmly into the hole."

For more on the economic debate, here's a report by the Congressional Budget Office which hits the advantages of a tax, and a second analysis that favors cap-and-trade.