Reason Writers Around Town

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Writing at TechCentralStation, Ron Bailey puts an ear to the wheezing chest of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme.

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  1. Question: Would the free market be able to change to accomodate these restrictions? Is there a widely accepted viewpoint among libertarians on this subject or is this seperated from other government restrictions?

  2. Question: Why, God, Why, do you keep giving TechCentralStation the time of day when it’s a friggin’ GOP mouthpiece?

  3. For someone allegedly supportive of the dynamic innovation potential of profit-seeking capitalists, Bailey relies on a very static model of technology and economic development in this piece.

    The purpose of an emissions trading scheme is to provide an incentive for emitters to find ways to reduce their emissions. Such technological advancement and smarter design would result in lower prices for carbon rations. This technology would also then diffuse throughout the economy, bringing much greater reductions in emissions in the future.

    But there is no thought given to the effects of having this system in place. Bailey assumes that the only reduction in carbon emissions resulting from this process will be to the 8%-below-1990 level, and he presents the current price (or, more likely, takes the highest price ever seen and tells us its the standard trading price) for a ton of carbon, without acknowledging that this price will change.

    So it’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect from Bailey on Global Warming.

  4. What M1EK said. Libertarians bust their ass distinguishing themselves from corporatist whores, and then you link to pieces on these corporate whore websites.

  5. “and he presents the current price (or, more likely, takes the highest price ever seen and tells us its the standard trading price) for a ton of carbon, without acknowledging that this price will change”

    Too true. The biggest problem with the ’92(?) amendments to the CAA was that the ceiling on the emission credit market was set too high. Industry massively over-estimated the costs. Credits traded for much less than anyone predicted, and in fact, many companies stockpiled credits in the hope of using them as investments in later years (selling them to others as the ceiling marginally decreased) and lost money on the proposition.

    Which is why it is dangerous to argue pollution issues on utilitarian grounds – the proposed costs and benefits are often nothing more than wishful thinking and CYAing on the part of everyone involved. You can’t make a rational decision off of the numbers available because the numbers are themselves irrational (and not in the mathmatic sense).

  6. In other words, quasibill, the reduction of emissions was so much cheaper and easier than the doom and gloomers who opposed the Amendments told us, that the value of the credits tanked.

    Score one for the greenies.

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