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Basic Information

Cap and Trade Cap and Trade 101 Flash Presentation

Cap and trade is a market-based policy tool for protecting human health and the environment by controlling large amounts of emissions from a group of sources. A cap and trade program first sets an aggressive cap, or maximum limit, on emissions. Sources covered by the program then receive authorizations to emit in the form of emissions allowances, with the total amount of allowances limited by the cap. Each source can design its own compliance strategy to meet the overall reduction requirement, including the sale or purchase of allowances, installation of pollution controls, and implementation of efficiency measures, among other options. Individual control requirements are not specified under a cap and trade program, but each emission source must surrender allowances equal to its actual emissions in order to comply. Sources must also completely and accurately measure and report all emissions in a timely manner to guarantee that the overall cap is achieved.

A well-designed cap and trade program delivers:

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