Tuesday, October 11, 2022

#285 / Carbon Calculations

On August 26, 2022, The New York Times Business Section published an article titled, "Recalculating on Climate." That is the hard copy version of the headline. Online, you'll find the article titled, "Pace of Climate Change Sends Economists Back to Drawing Board."
The main subject of discussion in this article was the so-called "Carbon Tax." Attributing the "Carbon Tax" idea to Yale economist William Nordhaus, Times' columnist Lydia DePillis explained the idea this way: 

In the 1970s, the Yale economist William Nordhaus began constructing a model meant to gauge the effect of warming on economic growth. The work, first published in 1992, gave rise to a field of scholarship assessing the cost to society of each ton of emitted carbon offset by the benefits of cheap power — and thus how much it was worth paying to avert it.
Dr. Nordhaus became a leading voice for a nationwide carbon tax that would discourage the use of fossil fuels and propel a transition toward more sustainable forms of energy. It remained the preferred choice of economists and business interests for decades. And in 2018, Dr. Nordhaus was honored with the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
DePillis' article goes on to describe why economists (and others) are less enamored with the "Carbon Tax" concept, nowadays. If you can punch through the paywall, the article is worth reading. 
What I want to say is simple. The "Carbon Tax" idea, like the disastrous "Cap and Trade" program that California has used as a technique to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is premised on the idea that "the market" will solve our problems, if the proper incentives are built into the economy. 

Really, this doesn't seem to work very well, and here is my thought. If we are serious about combating global warming, then our approach has to be straightforward. If there is any achievable way to reduce any source of greenhouse gas emissions, then our laws must MANDATE that such a reduction occur at the very earliest time that it is physically possible to achieve the reduction. 

Big reductions and small reductions - ALL reductions. Every achievable reduction in the emission of greenhouse gasses must be made, ASAP. That needs to be "the law."

If we are serious about giving human civilization a chance to survive the global climate and associated changes we have put into motion by our profligate burning of fossil fuels, we need to do everything we can to eliminate every greenhouse gas emission we can, and we need to do it as soon as we can. 

You want to wait for "the market" to solve our problem?

Stand by for droughts, wildfires, social disruption, mass starvation and the end of civilization. 

Working to reduce emissions using the "magic of the market" is a prescription in aid of a disaster now fully underway. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!