U.S. cap and trade rebranded pollution reduction | Reuters

Like a savvy Madison Avenue advertising team, senators pushing climate-control legislation have decided to scrap the name “cap and trade” and rebrand their product as “pollution reduction targets.”


Green Business


A clunky and difficult term to define for laymen and some politicians, “cap and trade” had become dirty words on Capitol Hill in recent months.


Republicans called the plan nothing more than “cap and tax” and one influential senator took great pains last week to declare cap and trade “dead.”


Senator Joseph Lieberman, an independent trying to draft a bipartisan bill, said, “We don’t use that term anymore.”


Instead Lieberman said, laughing: “We will have pollution reduction targets.”


But Lieberman did say it was still possible utilities may be subject to a cap and trade system. Senator Thomas Carper, who chairs a clean air panel in the Senate, told Reuters on Tuesday that cap and trade for utilities was the way to go.


Under cap and trade, or whatever it’s called, Washington would impose steadily declining limits on carbon pollution that companies could emit, in the hopes of battling global warming. The pollution permits they would be required to hold would be traded in a regulated financial market.


A bill passed by the House of Representatives last year would impose an economy-wide cap and trade program. That bill has been stuck in the Senate since last year.


Since then, other ideas have been discussed for controlling carbon emissions, including a carbon tax, “cap and dividend” and even “cap and trade with training wheels,” where an independent board would set a narrow price range for carbon for eight years to give markets experience in trading permits before going to a full-blown cap and trade.


(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Writing by Richard Cowan, Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


Hmm, evidence of the growing recognition of the power of words, or just one more example of political obfuscation? I’m good either way this time — if it works and we get something done to change behavior.

Inbox Overload


I’ve come to loathe email. After a few days of holiday neglect, a growing sense of duty weighs on me. It’s always there, waiting, breeding in my inbox. The relentless onslaught of email creates the sense of being buried alive in a barrage of electronic messages — some with valuable information and some totally without. Keeping on top of the review and sorting process to reach the holy grail of inbox zero can take hours out of a daily routine.


I didn’t always feel this way. In the late 70’s, email was an empowering tool to coordinate holidays and vacation travel with my extended family. In the 80’s, friends began to join us online and I could suggest exchanging files with a few progressive clients. During the 90’s email access and use became ubiquitous, but it wasn’t until this past dismal decade that the time-cost versus reward-benefit analysis tipped to become burdensome.


I’ve finally decided it’s the lack of commonly accepted email communication practices that turned this useful tool into a burden. (The use of strong spam/security software is a given.) Using good subject lines and remembering the telephone are the two practices that I tend to see neglected most often. To help others fighting this battle after the holidays or any other time of year, here’s a collection of classic and current articles:

Harvard Business School Tips for Mastering Email Overload.


10 steps to get your e-mail inbox to zero every day | Social Signal


99 Email Security and Productivity Tips.


Cartoon: Inbox Overload


Vortex: The Perfect Word Choice

Listening to Scott Simon this morning on NPR’s Weekend Edition brought a warm glow — of admiration and empathy.

The admiration is for the use of the perfect term to describe his situation: Technology Vortex. I chuckled at the real-life examples familiar to so many of us. Simon dutifully attributes coining of the term to the philosopher Jonathon Schorr, but although I first read it elsewhere, it will inevitably be Scott Simon’s version I remember. “Technology Vortex is an invisible whirling mass that hovers over some of us to suck the vitality out of our technological devices.”

The empathy? Well, let’s just say I had no difficulty understanding or identifying with many of the examples.

In case you missed it, it’s well worth the three-minute listen or 30-second read.