Can Pollution Credits Help Clean Up Air?

I read the article "Pollution-Credit Trading May Mushroom" (July 19) about a proposal for cash and futures trading of industrial pollutants with a mixture of interest and amusement.

Will the savvy investor's portfolio include equal shares of acid rain emissions, asbestos and hydrocarbons, hedged with options on hydrochloric acid and radioactive waste? Will he counsel young investors with a single word of advice: phenols?

More seriously, I found myself wondering if all the trouble of allocation of discharge credits as well as regulating this proposed pollution market can be offset by greater pollution control than achieved through penalties.

Finding a way to use economic incentives to clean up the environment is a worthy project. This proposal, however, may not do much to clear the air.


West Covina

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