Regional Policy Solutions to a Global Problem: An Analysis and Interpretation of the Effectiveness and Feasibility of American Carbon Cap-and-Trade Networks

Author: Seth Foster
Major: Political Science and Environmental Studies
Approved: Spring 2021
Status: In progress

Carbon emissions are one of the main contributing factors to global climate change, and the United States has struggled to implement policies capable of significantly mitigating this issue. One innovative solution that some states have followed, however, are regional cap-and-trade systems. By joining into networks of several states and taxing industries, institutions and other actors based on the amount of carbon that they emit, these groups can decrease airborne pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously generating large windfalls of tax revenue. These systems are incredibly complex and operate differently from network to network. By examining the policy nuances in each cap-and-trade system and comparing them to each other and independent states, this project aims to identify key characteristics of successful policies and measure the effectiveness of these networks in reducing emissions and generating tax revenue.