Barack Obama

Why Reducing U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Is a Risky Move in a Global Economy

Will China and the rest of the world follow our lead or take a free ride?


Coal Plant

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a proposal that would require America's electrical power generation industry to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent below their 2005 levels by 2030. Everyone agrees that by themselves, these reductions would have an insignificant effect on global warming. Indeed, using an uncontroversial computer model, climatologist Paul Knappenberger has calculated that eliminating all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions immediately would reduce global average temperatures by only about -0.08°C by 2050.

So why does the White House want these cuts? In his May 28 speech to the cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, President Obama pledged that he would in the next year "make sure America is out front in putting together a global framework to preserve our planet." He added that "American influence is always stronger when we lead by example. We can't exempt ourselves from the rules that apply to everybody else." And where does the president want our example to lead? To 2015's big U.N. climate change conference in Paris, where the world is supposed to hammer out an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions to levels that would keep the world from warming by more than 2° Celsius.

The administration's plan has garnered accolades around the world. Connie Hedegaard, the European Union's commissioner for climate action, has praised the proposal, declaring that it "shows that the United States is taking climate change seriously" and "sends a positive signal ahead of the Paris conference." The U.N.'s top climate change bureaucrat, Christiana Figueres, has said the plan "will send a good signal to nations everywhere that one of the world's biggest emitters is taking the future of the planet and its people seriously." In an op-ed for the Financial Times, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asserts that the United States "is setting a responsible example." And with an "ambitious global agreement in Paris" pending, he writes, "We will need leaders and people around the world to do the same." As The Week's Ryan Cooper puts it, these rules are supposed to let the U.S. "go into new negotiations with a nice fat emissions reduction to demonstrate commitment and good faith." 

Will other countries follow Washington's lead and cut their own carbon dioxide emissions? Game theory suggests some clues.

International climate negotiations are somewhat similar to the prisoner's dilemma. Assuming man-made global warming is costly to all countries, the optimum solution is for all countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. But for an individual country, the better option is to keep burning low-cost fossil fuels while other nations reduce their emissions. Since all countries recognize that other countries are likely to cheat and continue to use fossil fuels, they all fail to cut their emissions.

Is there a way out of that dynamic? Two political scientists, Scott Barrett of Columbia and Astrid Dannenberg of Princeton, tried to find one in a 2013 study using game theory experiments. They concluded that if game players know for sure where the threshold for huge losses is located, they will cooperate to avoid it. The catastrophe threshold acts a form of punishment that encourages cooperation.

The experiments involved games in which the players knew crossing a certain threshold spelled disaster for their winnings. Given this certain knowledge, the vast majority players made and kept their promises about their contributions to the general pot, and they avoided crossing the disaster threshold in eight out of 10 games. But when the threshold for catastrophe was even slightly indeterminate, the players crossed essentially every time. 

The current uncertainties about the effects and intensity of future climate change suggest that countries are unlikely to follow the Obama administration's lead. Based on their experimental results, Barrett and Dannenberg hold out the hope that climate research that reduces threshold uncertainty might help spur countries into mutual cuts of their greenhouse gas emissions.

In another 2013 study, Gunnar Eskeland of the Norwegian School of Economics tried to figure out whether there is a case for early, unilateral, unconditional emissions reductions. He concludes that small countries whose emissions won't make much of a difference to eventual global warming might act as climate leaders by cutting their emissions.

Why small countries? If a big country with lots of emissions were unilaterally to cut first, Eskeland explains, other big emitting countries would likely succumb to the temptation to free ride. The first country's cuts would delay any deleterious effects of global warming for other countries, and the countries that declined to cut their emissions would also be able to take advantage of even cheaper fossil fuels.

The lower global price for fossil fuels is called "carbon leakage"; it results from the fact that the first mover country has cut its demand. Under the administration's new plan, in fact, domestic cuts in coal demand will likely mean more shipments of cheap American coal abroad. As Darek Urbaniak, the energy policy officer at WWF Europe, has warned, "This cheap coal and associated CO2 emissions may find its way to the EU and other countries set on using coal for power generation" unless European politicians adopt policies like America's.

Eskeland has described exactly the situation in which the planet's two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, the United States and China, find themselves. Nevertheless, President Obama is proceeding with unilateral emissions cut. We will soon see if China and other countries will elect to free ride.

Two Washington State University economists, Ana Espinola-Arredondo and Felix Munoz-Garcia, observe in a 2010 study that efforts to free ride are pervasive in negotiating international environmental agreements. Among other findings, countries sign international environmental agreements only when the costs of failing to comply are low. Think in this context of Canada and Japan, both of which ratified the greenhouse gas emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol and then basically ignored their commitments. Espinola-Arredondo and Munoz-Garcia further predict that when countries make high commitment proposals predicated on other countries agreeing to them, no country will act. They point out, for example, that the European Union promised to cut its emissions steeply by 2020 if other countries would too. No other country responded to this European initiative by matching its proposed cuts.

In a 2011 working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, two economists—Geoffrey Heal of Columbia and Howard Kunreuther of the University of Pennsylvania—explore the idea that there may be tipping points in climate negotiations. The notion is that once enough countries have joined a climate agreement, other countries will quickly do so. But how many are enough?

To illustrate how tipping points might work with climate policies, Heal and Kunreuther discuss the way the world phased out unleaded gasoline and the ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) coolants used in air conditioners.

The United States moved first to phase out leaded gasoline. Given the size and dominance of the American automobile market, other countries and their automakers had an economic incentive to follow suit. This was made easier by the fact that America's companies had already paid the fixed costs involved in developing lead-free technologies.

Similarly, the phase-out of CFCs, negotiated in the Montreal Protocol of 1987, was made feasible when an American company developed a good substitute for those chemicals. In addition, rich countries agreed to cover some of the costs for poor countries to replace CFCs. Note that both of these phase-out tipping points were reached only when adequate new technologies were developed to replace the banned substances.

Heal and Kunreuther suggest that a similar tipping point might be reached when the right set of countries agree to begin reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Noting that the European Union's limits on greenhouse gas emissions clearly have not tipped the rest of the world into emulating Europe's climate policies, they suggest that China is the key, because other countries fear that their carbon-intensive industries will move there unless China also sets limits on its emissions. And if both China and the United States agree to limit their greenhouse emissions, Heal and Kunreuther argue, that would likely trigger a movement by most other countries to do the same—especially if border adjustment tariffs could be imposed on goods from the nations who don't join in.

"The assertion by the administration," one former Environmental Protection Agency official tells The Washington Post," is that by showing leadership, we will persuade other countries to come to the table and do aggressive things on their own." He adds, "I think that remains to be seen." Indeed it does.

NEXT: Don't Accept Jonah Hill's Apology! And Ignore His Offensive Comments Too!

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  1. Given this signal, the president believes that other countries will now play follow-the-leader and begin to cut their own greenhouse gas emissions.

    I honestly don’t know: Is he stupid enough to actually believe this, or is he just lying again?

    1. Yes, Obama is this stupid.

      These guys are literally clueless about the damage they are doing to their children’s wellbeing.

      They have been snookered by a modern day Ellen White.

      1. They have been snookered by a modern day Ellen White.

        I would have said Rachel Carson.

        1. + you read along SILENTLY while I read aloud…

        2. I would have said ManBearPig.

    2. I honestly don’t know: Is he stupid enough to actually believe this, or is he just lying again?

      He’s lying again. He doesn’t really care whether or not any other countries follow our lead; he’s carrying out his core goal of bringing America to its knees.

      1. I am getting the impression that his goal is to destroy the democratic party.

        1. Sadly, he’ll probably do about as well with that goal as he does with most others.

        2. No, that’s his effect. The thing is, he doesn’t have a random bias. Its like having your scope pointing the wrong way. You’ll always hit the same thing, just not the target you’re looking at. So he aims at being Presidential and ends up being an idiot.

    3. Polling + red meat to the base would be my guess for the most opaque administration eva.

    4. On NPR they had a roundtable discussion about this with one of the panelist suggesting that it wasn’t about curbing carbon but setting a global example. Going so far as to correct the lawyer who represented some of the coal plants, when he was talking about what it would actually do to curb temps, sea level, and carbon, that she was offended that he was talking in such terms and that the bill wasn’t about curbing anything at all. If that doesn’t encapsulate the level of discourse nothing will. The mask has fallen off and revealed that our opponents are children.

    5. “I honestly don’t know: Is he stupid enough to actually believe this, or is he just lying again?”

      Can’t it be both?

  2. the way the world phased out unleaded gasoline and the ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) coolants used in air conditioners.

    Not everyone has phased out the CFC refrigerants, though. In some Asian markets the AC units tech specs mention that they come not only with the recommended charge of R22, but with extra to blow out the lines.

    1. We phased out unleaded gasoline?

      1. My Model A’s engine is happy!

      2. Why yes. My 2013 Ford Fusion runs on water. I considered buying the Hybrid that also uses Unicorn farts but there aren’t enough Unicorn fueling stations along the Interstates to get across country.

        1. Oh yeah? Well my 2013 GM Fission runs on banana peels!

            1. 5000mi between refuelings isn’t nearly enough. I’d want at least 50k.

      3. My panhead still misses its basic nutrient. The smell of leaded gasoline is like 72 virgins in heaven. Why would you want to risk eternal damnation in Honda Hell for a few measly IQ points??

  3. I heard someone say that these coal regulations are an example of American exceptionalism, and that other countries around the world will follow these rules because we’re like so exceptional and stuff.

    Talk about not understanding the concept of American exceptionalism. That meant that America was the exception to the general rule that you can’t do anything without asking permission from government goons, and once you get permission you must obey orders from those government goons. That exception, that liberty, is what made America great.

    Now forcing people to ask permission and obey orders is American exceptionalism?

    I can’t tell if that’s ignorance or dishonesty. Probably both.

    1. Yeah, America is going to prove we’re exceptional by fucking our economy to fight something that may or may not exist, and may or may not respond to the measures taken. Genius.

    2. It’s a standard PR tactic that progs are particularly fond of. Take a word or phrase that has a positive connotation and co-opt it to mean whatever you need it to mean. “Civil Rights” is a great example. It requires neither direct ignorance or dishonesty but, instead, a fundamental belief that you are good and your opponents are evil. If the word or phrase has positive feels attached to it then it must belong to you and means what you want it to. If it had an objective definition then that would present the possibility that something with positive connotations was something that you disagreed with meaning that (in the us/good them/evil mentality) you are evil and they are good which could cause world-shattering cognitive dissonance and thus the word or phrase must be controlled and re-defined to resolve the dissonance.

      They do this without actually thinking it through. It’s reflexive. If you’ve ever been a conversation with one of these people and brought up a word or phrase that had positive feels within society at large that the person obviously didn’t understand but watched them immediately try to force it into some prog-shaped hole to become ego buttressing material for their point you know what I mean.

    3. No, American Exceptionalism is when we don’t follow the international rules and invade anyone we damn well please to make sure they follow our rules.

      1. And Buttplug helpfully comes along to illustrate my point for me. Thanks Buttplug.

        1. Do you really think there is anything exceptional about the people in this country?

          I know, to be Team Red you have to believe we are Gawd’s Chosen or some shit like that.

          We not the worst though – not close. We have that going for us!

          1. Do you really think there is anything exceptional about the people in this country?

            That’s not what American exceptionalism means, dumbass.

            1. Shreeky did just beautifully illustrate your point about dumbasses not understanding the meaning of American exceptionalism.

              1. I know it.

                1. That was magical.

                  DWT and sarc couldn’t have planned that any better had they impersonated Shriek himself.

                  BRAVO SIR. BRA. VO.

            2. You really have to love how Shriek can turn anything into BOOOOOOOOOSH, even a concept that predates THE EVIL ONE’S birth by over a century.

            3. We got the best real estate. I’ll concede to that.

              But as far as a “special role”? That is just a by-product of having the biggest military.

              We pissed away any special role starting in 1953 when we orchestrated a coup of a democratically elected leader in Iran. Since then all we do is plunder and steal.

              1. Please go on, DONT STOP THE MAGIC!!!

              2. Holy fuck! This is unbelievable! His militant cluelessness is just too fucking hilarious!


                  His self awareness is having an out of body experience.

                  again, MAGICAL.

                2. His militant cluelessness is just too fucking hilarious!

                  It’s a very special display of someone repeatedly kicking himself in the dick.

                  The little dipshit has had plenty of time to just google the idea by now, but he keeps showing his ass.

                  1. It’s a very special display of someone repeatedly kicking himself in the dick.

                    And I am literally laughing out loud at this point. Thank God no one is in my office right now.

                3. Holy fuck! This is unbelievable! His militant cluelessness is just too fucking hilarious!

                  It makes sense though. I mean, if you’re hostile to liberty, and feel that everyone and everything must be controlled, then you’re not about to acknowledge that liberty made America exceptional. That would put a positive connotation on liberty. Can’t have that. Too honest. So the meaning of American exceptionalism must be distorted into something derogatory. Throw in some personal attacks and some straw men, and the fallacy is complete.

                  1. But, he scored 96% on the libertarian purity test!

                  2. So you people are really defending the concept of American exceptionalism? Libertarians?

              3. We got the best real estate. I’ll concede to that.

                But as far as a “special role”?

                Again, dumbass, that’s not what American exceptionalism means.

                1. It’s hopeless, sarc. Besides, he’s on a roll!

                  1. What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

                    Please, DONT STOP THE MAGIC!

                2. It doesn’t exist!

                  It is a fucking term someone made up.

                  Like “natural laws”. Or “the Rapture”. Or the “Resurrection”

                  It is a fairy tale.

                  1. Keep kicking your own dick, moron. This is too fucking funny.

                  2. It doesn’t exist!

                    It is a fucking term someone made up.

                    Like “natural laws”. Or “the Rapture”. Or the “Resurrection”

                    It is a fairy tale.

                    How can zero exist?

                    It’s nothing!

                    It’s not a number!

                    How can you have a number that represents nothing!

                    It’s just a fucking term someone made up!

                    It’s meaningless!

                    1. Liberty is a lack of imposition. A lack of force. It (and the natural rights derived from it) is the equivalent of zero when measuring control.

                      Just as simple minds cannot comprehend zero, simple minds also cannot comprehend liberty.

                    2. We didn’t invent Liberty nor are we the foremost in the practice of it.

                    3. Origin of AmerExcept- de Tocqueville

                      Their strictly Puritanical origin, their exclusively commercial habits, even the country they inhabit, which seems to divert their minds from the pursuit of science, literature, and the arts, the proximity of Europe, which allows them to neglect these pursuits without relapsing into barbarism, a thousand special causes, of which I have only been able to point out the most important, have singularly concurred to fix the mind of the American upon purely practical objects. His passions, his wants, his education, and everything about him seem to unite in drawing the native of the United States earthward; his religion alone bids him turn, from time to time, a transient and distracted glance to heaven.

                      Oh yeah, I am proud of that. (not)

                      It is such a loosey-goosey concept it is comical.

                      There is a neocon definition, a paleoChristian one, etc

                    4. Okay, now shreeky is just playing along to make us laugh. He can’t really be this stupid.

                    5. It’s not that stupid. It’s stupider.

                      It’s non sentient. Its brain was once a human one. Through some terrible, chronic maltreatment it has been degraded and destroyed to the point that it’s more akin to the brain of an earthworm.

                      It doesn’t understand the abstract concepts being discussed here. It merely produces strings of words, attempting to sequence them in such a way that it gets the maximum response.

                      You guys have been training that neural net to say really outlandish and offensive things by fawning over it when it produced them in this thread.

                    6. de Tocqueville!


                      Next up, Shriek explains how Thomas Jefferson wrote the bill of rights in order to push his puritanical views on the world.

                    7. Really, you don’t have to keep embarrassing yourself for our amusement like this, PB, but by all means, keep the laughs coming if you want.

                    8. Palin’s Buttplug:

                      the proximity of Europe, which allows them to neglect these pursuits without relapsing into barbarism

                      Proximity to Europe? Excuse me?

                      This is a continent that spent the first half of the 20th century pulling almost the entire civilized world into two, count them, two world wars that resulted in millions of their own people dead, as well as others from around the world, and brutal crimes against humanity and civilians. This, on the heels of the enlightenment, to which they firmly replied with a good “screw that” and engaged to a large part in fascism and communism, to the terror of anyone nearby with half a brain and a desire to live in peace, with some concept of personal freedom and property rights.

                      This is a continent with about 10% unemployment, trying to set negative interest rates to get their managed economies moving again.

                      But, hey, let’s all feel bad because Europe is full of such good people.

                      Maybe de Tocqueville should have waited a bit before writing that, since his most favored continent was about to prove him horribly wrong.

                  3. It doesn’t exist!

                    It is a fucking term someone made up.

                    Like “natural laws”. Or “the Rapture”. Or the “Resurrection”

                    It is a fairy tale.

                    So separation of church and state does not exist?

                    Who made that up again?

            4. “AmeriKKKan Exceptionalism”, proggy-style, means that the commies and the socialists killed 100,000,000 or so pepples through stupid wars and starvation and forced marches of un-approved illegal humans, and so forth, in the 20th century alone, but, ya know, those waz ignernt Eastern Europeans and slant-eyed Chineezians and Rooozicians an’ Polacks an’ North Koreans an’ Cubahickicans an’ what-not, an’ we Superior AmeriKKKans, WE in OUR Enlightened Ways, WE can make Socialism work where NO ONE ELSE EVER could!!! ‘Kause WE??? WEEE is SPECIAL!!!

          2. It’s almost as though shreeky is proud of his stupidity.

          3. They’re exceptionally stupid and sheeplike, right?

      2. Sounds like the Russians are now Exceptionally American, what with their invasion of the Ukraine and all.

        1. True. They are learning from our mistakes though. No Shock’n’Awe full scale nation-building.

          1. First off, the retarded don’t rule the night. They don’t rule it. Nobody does. And they don’t run in packs. And while they may not be as strong as apes, don’t lock eyes with ’em, don’t do it. Puts ’em on edge. They might go into berzerker mode; come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows. You might be screaming “No, no, no” and all they hear is “Who wants cake?” Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake.

  4. This should really help out PA, WV, and KY Democrats this fall.

    1. He has officially reached the point where he doesn’t even care anymore.

      The nice guy mask is 100% off now, and the next two and a half years are going to be the most dangerous years in American history.

      1. And the good news is that the next one is going to reign in all the extra-constitutional powers the executive has granted itself.

      2. You better go hide in that Prepper Bunker of yours right now!

        Take gold, rations, and bullets.

        1. First off, the retarded don’t rule the night. They don’t rule it. Nobody does. And they don’t run in packs. And while they may not be as strong as apes, don’t lock eyes with ’em, don’t do it. Puts ’em on edge. They might go into berzerker mode; come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows. You might be screaming “No, no, no” and all they hear is “Who wants cake?” Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake.

        2. Hey Weigel, speaking of bullets, do the world a favor and put one in your own temple.

        3. You know what’s epically funny?

          When the next Republican president comes around and uses the executive powers that Bush started and Obama continued to coalesce to bring about some “christian taliban” we’ll be able to come back to all of your comments over the last 6 years and “defend” them in your own words.

          Thanks for the laughs demfag!

      3. I hope so.

  5. Game theory? How about the “Don’t Hobble Your Economy Because Some Clueless Community Organizer Decides To Wreck His Own” theory?

  6. I wouldn’t trust Obama to go to the store and buy beer without fucking it up.

    1. In the words of my old man, he could fuck up a wet dream.

  7. We can’t exempt ourselves from the rules that apply to everybody else.

    No shit?

    He really said that? The crowd should have laughed him right off the stage.

    1. That’s why he likes speaking at places like West Point – they won’t give him a well-deserved jeering.

  8. Germany is schizo. They’re phasing out nuclear and considering lifting the de facto ban on fracking.

    1. They don’t want their reactors hit with a Japanese earthquake and tsunami, causing a disaster that killed zero people with radiation exposure. Better safe than sorry.

      1. Yeah, gotta watch out for them Bavarian tsunamis.

  9. Obama pledged that he would in the next year “make sure America is out front in putting together a global framework to preserve our planet.”

    Better that than fixing the infrastructure at home.

    He added that “American influence is always stronger when we lead by example. We can’t exempt ourselves from the rules that apply to everybody else.”

    “We will therefore destroy all our nuclear weapons by the end of 2016.”

  10. If any of you watched Cosmos last sunday, and witnessed the solar energy propaganda Tyson was willing to put out as “science” and then saw how people lapped it up, well Obama is appealing to his base.

    1. Which fact claims do you dispute, precisely?

      1. I didn’t see the episode yet, but I’m willing to bet he said something about how its actually cheaper and more efficient than fossil fuels.

  11. “Will China and the rest of the world follow our lead or take a free ride?”

    Gee, that’s a toughy!
    Well, no it isn’t.

  12. It looks to me like another country has already taken the lead in reducing CO2 and they did it by picking a technology. France gets most of its electricity from nuclear and even exports it. While it’s normally suspect to have government picking technologies, I think it’s still possible for one technology to be so much better than the rest that a country can come out ahead by favoring it.

  13. This stuff is mind boggling. Coal power plants are able to attain emissions levels comparable to a natural gas fired plant of similar output. For real world evidence, one can look at Isogo units 1&2 in Japan.

    Instead of going after CO2, folks should welcome more of it. So cutting all US emissions would allegedly reduce the global temperature by -0.08?C??? So wreck the economy, and have folks pay way more for electricity while confiscating money that could have went to building plants with the latest in environmental controls, and of far greater efficiency. What a stupid plan.

    Government to the rescue though!!! Folks forget the government run Tennesee valley plant and its ash spill. Private companies tried to warn them about their ash containment, but it went on ignored by the TVA until failure….oh but blame the market despite the Govt failure.

    They make it like before the clean air act, there were no attempts to control pollution. Gee, they must have missed the 1915 (and before incl other manufacturers) oil city smokeless boilers that increased boiler output, and burned bituminous more efficiently and helped eliminate smoke (incomplete combustion) and thereby reducing pollution….or the mechanical collectors or electrostatic precipitators invented early on.

  14. “Noting that the European Union’s limits on greenhouse gas emissions clearly have not tipped the rest of the world into emulating Europe’s climate policies, they suggest that China is the key, because other countries fear that their carbon-intensive industries will move there unless China also sets limits on its emissions.”

    Gee, Ronald. You just wrote an article about how for the first time a President of the United States has decided to cut carbon. Do you think Europe might be able to say, “At least the US is finally responding after our start.” I do.

    Secondly, China has just started to make overtures to do the same.…..e-xie.html

    And they said that just this week in direct response to the President’s start here in the US. Two positive developments in attempting to do something about this problem, even if it flies in the face of Reason’s general assertion to just give up.

  15. its awesome,,, Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out.

    1. I think I’d rather move to Seattle for that wage.

  16. Sorry Jackand, but you are spreading misinformation, and being deceitful. All power plants in China were government owned and run. Most of the power plants were inefficient, and gross polluters. Only until China started selling lands and freeing the power industry did big changes start to occur. Private companies were installing far more efficient boiler, turbine and environmental control technologies. Many of these came from B&W, Wheelabrator, HR-Cottrell, and so on.

    A free market will (and has done) more for the betterment of the environment than Bush, Obama, the EPA, gov’t and socialism could do. The GOC’s in the power industry are horrid in their operation, inefficient and get away with opacities, pollution and so on. They manage to shift the blame on private companies of which clueless individuals lap it up and hop on the bandwagon screaming for more govt regulation, meanwhile the govt has managed to protect negligence and downright criminal activities of special interest corporations to include BP among the many that were protected by govt and shielded from the consequences of free individuals in a free market.

    Even though facts fly in your face, you make it out like “oh a politician just started this initiative so we’re going to give him credit” while ignoring all that private industry has already done. That idol worship is sad, along with the failure of deductive logic that’s been clearly exhibited.

  17. Hey, Vampire, I quoted Bloomberg, so if you got a problem with disinformation its with them.

    No big changes have occurred yet in China. None. They continue to emit carbon, the most in the world. Their effort at allowing private investment in power occurred about 2 years ago, and it hasn’t changed anything…yet. Its why they (officials in their government) have made overtures in response to the President’s 30% reduction plan. But go ahead, quote me the Chinese private investor who said in response that they too will tackily this issue.

    Its quite a fantasy land you live in, where you believe that if there are dollars to be made, the free market will forgo them in order to look out for future generations. Yeah, right.

    But hey, I’ll take this from any Libertarian. “There is a problem with CO2 in the atmosphere, man is largely the reason for it, it will cause harm, and we need to do something about it. We believe that greater free market focus is the solution, so no more subsidies to oil and lets put a price on carbon.”

    You saying that, Vampire? Carbon is a problem, but the solution is the free market? No you’re not…you’re like everyone else here. There is no problem with carbon according to Reason. Do let me know when we are only arguing about solutions. You’re not even at problem recognition yet.

    1. Funny, I just read one of your comments above. “Instead of going after CO2, we should welcome more of it.”

      There…no need to answer me. You already have. The Libertarian stance. Just so science based.

      1. Well, plants, and trees benefit from CO2. You are the one ignoring science and focusing on control of the economy instead of solutions. Why not plant more trees? Nah, we can’t do that, as it doesn’t fit your agenda of control. The IPCC and all of the lies put forth to promote an agenda that wouldn’t even have an impact on the environment, to include going after co2, (which is beneficial for the environment) is what is ludicrous.

        There are things like NOx, SO2, particulates etc, that are far more important to be worried about, and which these pollutants have been drastically reduced thanks to the market and the innovators within it. That is where the focus has been, and should be. Not CO2, based upon faulty science promoted to implement yet another tax.

        1. It would be a great world then for you if plants and trees simply lived on CO2. They don’t. They need water, and nutrients, all of which are effected by climate change.

          Plants and trees don’t benefit from unlimited CO2, particularly when its a plant or tree that does not now get enough rainfall (see the droughts), or if insects and disease thrive due to the change in climate. Surely you are aware of the spread of the bark beetle and its impact on trees.

          From the US Forrest Service:


          “The recent large-scale dieback of pi?on (Pinus edulis Engelm.) and ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws.) and associated bark beetle outbreaks in the Southwestern United States has been linked to the “climate change type drought” (e.g., dry and warm) that occurred in this region in the early 2000s.”

          And its now understood that increased CO2 also impacts nutrients plants need to survive.


          “…report that the CO2 levels expected in the second half of this century will likely reduce the levels of zinc, iron, and protein in wheat, rice, peas, and soybeans.”

          Its science telling you this.

  18. As to improvements to power plants starting only two years ago through private investments, you are again lying. Foreign direct investment began in the early 90’s. however, the Chineese government has been a roadblock and has substantially limited both investments and improvements to the power sector as they still wished to centrally plan the grid, favoring small plants over larger more efficient plants. The larger more efficient plants with the latest technology would actually wind up reducing pollution. Ownership restrictions also hampered many from entering into the market. Though as of late many have been reduced.

    Implementing the technology like the ISOGO units in Japan had done would drastically reduce pollution, and would result in emissions on par with natural gas plants. Utilization of ash (used in drywall, road aggregate, and many other areas) is beneficial as there isn’t a need to mine for gypsum, which counteracts other mining that takes place.

    So, as far as private power investments, there are plenty. Increased use of environmental controls have decreased SO2 from 4 million tons to 1.5 million in 2012, and particulate matter is being controlled by 99.6 & 99.9 % efficient ESP installation, with a combination of low nox burners, FGD, WFGD, and ACI technologies. This despite the increase in generation.

  19. he emissions haven’t been dropping due to more government control. They have been reduced through the power of the market, and freeing it. You’re insinuation that setting some magical goal of 30% of a non issue gas such as Co2 will be better than controlling real pollutants and disregarding the already implemented and successful installation of environmental controls is deceitful, and disingenuous. ” I quoted Bloomberg, so if you got a problem with disinformation its with them.” I read it in the news so it must be true emulates your belief in the 30% nonsense and that all of the sudden because government said it they are doing more, they are….and lets ignore the real problems and divert capital away from environmental controls that will have a real impact on reducing pollution, and making coal plant emissions on par with natural gas.

    1. Emissions in China are not dropping, my friend. They are increasing. So for whatever increased investment from private sources you want to cite, emissions continue to rise, on a fairly straight arc.…..png:medium

      China had minimal private investment until recent changes in 2012.…..516455.htm

      But whatever date you want to take…in the minimal days or in the recent days where it has been encouraged…the private sector in China has done nothing to stem the tide.

    2. Sorry, wrong graph.


  20. So if we shut everything down, the temperature was estimated to drop by only .08 deg C. And that is a guess. Climate changes are effected by the sun, tides, storms, hurricanes, and so on. These are natural, and have far more impact than does what we do. El Ni?o helped to alter the climate, so we went from winters with greater snow accumulation, to winters with very little, and hotter summers. Now, things are changing, and so did the “global warming” scam, which became the new “climate change” scam.

    The power of the market is you. Governments confiscate technology. Tesla was working on ways to beam power to homes. This would result in greater competition and lower costs. You could choose the power generated from the greenest portfolio. Only now is remote power technology being implemented with cell phone charging and so on. Folks like Edison wouldn’t have benefited from such technology, and was a lobbyist to government to prevent competition, and even went on a crusade to rally against Tesla and AC power.

  21. Yet instead, you wish to rely on government and socialism which actually is detrimental to the environment if you look at the real world. Govt has protected and written regulations in favor of various corporations. They shield them from market forces, and bail out or subsidize them despite horrid performance thereby removing the voices and regulation from the individual in the market. The NY DEP’s environmental record is horrid. Projects that would have put private industry out of business took years to complete, went over budget, and so on. Sorry, I would rather put my money towards a private business that I can pull my funding from, rather than rely on govt to reward waste and inefficiency through GOC’s and public private partnerships that transfer all the risk to the taxpayer.

  22. You are only looking at CO2, and not other emissions such as So2, particulate, and so on which have gone down.

    The government has been the biggest road block for letting private power plants come about in China. And it hasn’t been only two years that private power companies were in China. You didn’t even bother to read the article you posted. What part of “China will further encourage private investment in the energy sector”. Further is the key word, as there already has been private investment. You really haven’t a clue, yet continue to babble about there not being any private investment until two years ago. Yes, the Chineese government has been a great roadblock to the market in the energy sector, but the private and FDI investments were indeed there. From 1995 to 2000 there were 20 plants to include more that were planned of which were private plants. Mitsui Babcock (now Doosan Babcock) even did a PIP in 2001 installing ESP’s, etc. in a chineese power plant.

    The problems were created by central planning of the energy sector. That was the fault of the Chineese government. They realize that the private sector is able to build far more efficient plants, and run businesses better than socializing the energy sector, which was a disaster.

    Your graph only cherry picks CO2 which again is a diversion, instead of focussing on the really important pollutants that are being dealt with.

  23. If you are so worried about CO2, where is the CO2 scrubber located by your house? How many trees did you plant? You generate about 20 tons of it per year also. Why are you not living off the grid with no power? How many solar panels do you have?

    If the government wasn’t destroying all this capital and giving subsidies to companies like solyndra et al, and didn’t extort the populace, maybe you could divert more money to putting forth capital to solar and other projects. Instead of putting money where your mouth is, you’d rather rely on junk science, ignore the realized improvements, and go after a gas that is necessary for life, and can benefit the environment….all while the result is diverting money away from dealing with pollutants that are more important to deal with.

    1. Me?

      Bought an electric car, use my bike for all trips locally into town, took out my air conditioning, I am an avid gardener and have many trees on my property and I am currently growing in a pot a fir which I will transplant, and have learned to keep the thermostat down in the winter by using warm clothes while inside the house. For a long time I did none of those things. In fact, I once had a career where I was on a plane nearly 5 times each week. I would be willing to bet you that my carbon footprint is much worse than yours, and will be to the day I die.

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