Mention carbon caps, and many people will twitch nervously. Carbon caps are something most people have heard of and think must be “important” — but generally don’t know much about.

Which is why Environmental Defense Action Fund put together a short video competition. The challenge: To explain “how capping greenhouse gas pollution will break America’s addiction to oil.” Or more specifically, to explain carbon caps in a very short video that’s, you know, not boring and confusing.

Now, the winners have been announced! Watch the two winning videos to learn about carbon caps and why you should care about them:

Instituting carbon caps would sort of be like making buying carbon offsets mandatory. Basically, companies would have to pay a fee to spew CO2 into our atmosphere — and that fee would hopefully encourage companies to spew less.

Of course, in reality, capping carbon’s much more complicated, with lots of different models proposed for creating a national program / market. For a quick overview of these ideas, read Peter Barnes’ essay “Solutions to Global Warming” and learn about the three varieties of carbon capping: cap-and-giveaway, cap-and-auction, and cap-and-dividend.

Now that Obama’s president, the carbon cap effort’s gaining momentum. Earlier this week, Barbara Boxer, my senator and chairwoman of the Senate environment and public works committee, promised “to draft cap-and-trade legislation for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in as a little as a few weeks — and definitely ‘before the end of the year,” according to the New York Times’ Green, Inc. Environmentalists are waiting with bated breath to hear the details –

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