It’s been a while since I did a post on CO2 emissions. In my last post, I explained how cap-and-trade (i.e. emissions trading) works. We also found that a true cap-and-trade policy is not any sort of tax. In fact, we found that it’s actually a market solution to the problem that markets are not always efficient at solving pollution problems. Even some extreme libertarians think it’s a brilliant way to reduce the need for government intervention and let the market solve it’s own problems.
Now a while back, one commenter said that he’d support laws reducing CO2 growth if there was “evidence that the net benefits of the efforts to reduce CO2 emissions exceed the net costs of doing so.”
Well, let’s start with the assumption that we’ve just waved our magic wand and we now have a world wide treaty (that no one plans to ever violate) that lays out how we can reduce CO2 growth in, say, 50 to 100 years but adds does not add additional costs to carbon, or at least none without plenty of time to prepare alternative energy sources first.
In my last post, I suggested that it might be possible to create a ‘no cost’ (or ‘low cost’ anyway) solution to CO2 Growth. In this post I will start to explain the principles behind my own conservative proposal for how to curb CO2 growth without hurting the economy.
My idea on this dates back to, of all things, a conversation I once had with my extreme libertarian friend. This is that friend I mentioned before that believed that the freeway system hurt the economy because it put the trains out of business and didn’t let a natural market solution grow. Being an extreme libertarian, he naturally believed that the market was all good. If you just let the market alone it would, in his view, always find an optimal solution through the famous invisible hand of the market.
To prove his point to me, he started to explain to me how emission trading worked. Now mind you, this is a real thing that really has been tried out successfully by local governments for various types of pollution. He used the example of air pollution. This is how he described it.
Bruce, the market solves all problems. It can even solve air pollution. The only good thing to ever come out of the EPA was emissions trading. It’s brilliant because it’s a market solution to pollution. What they did was they sold emission rights to companies. This created a market for pollution rights. They could then sell to each other or to anyone. The Sierra Club got together and pooled their money and actually bought up pollution rights from companies. Because the pollutions rights now had a market value companies wanted to sell them if they could, so it was good for everyone. See, Bruce, the market really can solve all ills.
This really was very close to what he actually told me. I was, I admit, intrigued.
So, for example, let’s pass legislation that says X, Y and Z happen in case temperatures go up 5 degrees C globally in five years or even 10. The key is, “what are X, Y and Z?” I hope you address that in your next post. — Geoff
This comment from Geoff above reminded me that I wrote a post on Risk Mitigation and Contingency Planning and it never posted. (It “missed it’s schedule” whatever that means.)
As I’ve mentioned before, I do not buy into the idea that CO2 growth and AGW are one and the same. I treat each as a seperate issue and therefore propose different solutions for each. For CO2 growth, I take a risk mitigation approach. For AGW I take a contingency planning approach. This post explains what I mean: Continue reading
It’s time to finish up my thoughts on CO2 emissions. In previous posts, I discussed why I felt taking risk mitigation actions on our CO2 growth made rational sense and why I’m concerned about those that simply assume there is no risk at all without evidence.
However, I think the strongest of the conservative counter arguments has always been fear that we break the economy through what essentially amounts to an overwhelming energy tax. So let’s talk about how economics works and see if we can address this concern.
Let’s start with this quote as a typical of AGW Skeptics:
Few people have any problem with anthropogenic global warming being treated as a tentative theory worthy of further investigation.
Many do, however, have a problem with the idea that a tentative theory that is completely devoid of critical evidence should be used as a justification for permanently dampening the economic prospects of mankind.
Here we meet the claim that current CO2 curbing proposals will permanently the economy for the rest of forever.
I look at this argument I want to scream? Isn’t this guy supposed to be a conservative? Why such an incredible lack of faith in the markets?
This post is a continuation of my last post where I performed my own personal risk analysis of Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions. My conclusion was based on the idea that unless I can be completely assured that there is either no impact, no probability, or nothing I can do about it anyhow, that I should always have a risk mitigation action in place. If I don’t, I’m not doing risk mitigation competently.
I now want to consider what I see as the primary problem with the AGW Denier / Skeptic position. I believe they are starting with an assumption that CO2 Growth is either a zero impact or zero probability risk and so their risk score is coming out to be zero. (Since zero times anything is zero.)
Then, given that the risk score comes out to be zero they deduce “no action” is the appropriate response. Continue reading