A national system to discourage global warming pollution by imposing extra costs on companies that burn coal and oil could generate billions of dollars a year for the federal government. These costs -- kind of like fees for polluting -- would come from the auctioning of pollution credits. But where should all those billions of dollars go? Toward building wind turbines, solar panels and government programs to encourage energy efficiency? Or should the cash go right into the pockets of consumers?
It’s an important question for people living in the Chesapeake Bay region, because our shorelines make us especially vulnerable to the rising sea levels caused by global warming. And the debate is hot right now because the Obama Administration and Congress are promising action on creating a “cap and trade” or pollution credit system to fight climate change.