Cap and Trade is a market based policy tool, which sets a cap on the amount of emissions from a group of sources with the end goal of reducing the overall pollution in a nation, region, or industry.
The intention is to incentivize a reduction in emissions and penalize those who don’t comply. Participants in Cap and Trade receive allowances and can design their own compliance strategy giving them flexibility to sell and purchase emissions, in addition to other methods in order to comply with total allowances limited by the cap.
This system is a popular option used to reduce emission of pollutants, most notably green house gases. It operates similarly to a stock market in which the benefit of the system goes to the nations, regions or industry that are able to reduce their emissions through its use.