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As John Locke Foundation economist Roy Cordato explained: "A higher tax today means lower production and output of goods and services tomorrow, making future generations materially worse off. In setting a carbon tax you must show that future generations would value the problems solved by reduced global warming more than they would value the goods and services that were foregone." He argued it's not possible to know the preferences of future generations, but providing them with more wealth and better technologies will give them more options to express whatever preferences they have.
One final note, geophysicist Russell Seitz gave an interesting talk about the future of "fossil hydrogen." Fossil hydrogen? Yes indeed. Seitz pointed out that coal varies considerably in the amount of hydrogen it contains. Some varieties of bituminous coal are 65 percent carbon and some are 46 percent carbon. Seitz suggested that in an ideal case utilities could cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by switching to high hydrogen coal.
That's it from the International Climate Change Conference.
Ronald Bailey is reason's science correspondent. His most recent book, Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution, is available from Prometheus Books.