Such was evident recently during a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills. The panel focused on the effort to limit carbon dioxide emissions by trading carbon credits, commonly called a cap-and-trade scheme, and creating such a system in the United States.
That’s the rub, said Elizabeth Kanna, a marketing professional who said that “scheme” is an awful choice because, for most Americans, it means something sinister.
“Most Americans don’t understand carbon. It’s a confusing subject,” said Kanna. “You can’t convince Americans it’s a good idea by calling it a cap-and-trade ‘scheme’. I know ‘scheme’s’ a bad word. In other countries ‘scheme’ is not a bad word but you cannot create a global market using a word like ‘scheme’ that doesn’t work everywhere.”
To the British, scheme means a plan of action. Scheme is also used often for programs at the United Nations, where its meaning is neutral. But to Americans, it implies a plan of action in an underhanded way.