Trading Down

Yet another illustration of why, even if global warming is real, top-down economy-controlling carbon schemes are not a solution.

SWISS banking giant UBS says the European Union’s emissions trading scheme has cost the continent’s consumers $287 billion for “almost zero impact” on cutting carbon emissions, and has warned that the EU’s carbon pricing market is on the verge of a crash next year.

In a damning report to clients, UBS Investment Research said that had the €210bn the European ETS had cost consumers been used in a targeted approach to replace the EU’s dirtiest power plants, emissions could have been reduced by 43 per cent “instead of almost zero impact on the back of emissions trading”.

That’s $287 billion, or almost 0.3 stimuli, down the drain. Think about $287 billion and what could be done with it. You could run about 20 ITER fusion experiments with that. You could produce a couple hundred gigawatts of wind or solar power with that (assuming you could find the material and the space, which you probably couldn’t). You could fund research into superconductors, smart grids, non-tokamak fusion, energy storage.

Or you could simply not drain it from the economy in the first place and let industry figure out how to use it wisely.

The carbon scheme that was proposed under the last Congress would have done for us what Europe’s has done for them: concentrate power, drain hundreds of billions out of the economy and accomplish nothing for the environment. If the liberals are serious about global warming — and I have yet to see evidence that they are — a Europe-style carbon trading scheme is the last thing they should embrace.

Comments are closed.

  1. ryansparx

    That’s $287 billion, or almost 0.3 stimuli, down the drain. Think about $287 billion and what could be done with it. You could run about 20 ITER fusion experiments with that. You could produce a couple hundred gigawatts of wind or solar power with that (assuming you could find the material and the space, which you probably couldn’t). You could fund research into superconductors, smart grids, non-tokamak fusion, energy storage.

    Only need 1 Billion to develop something like LFTR :)

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  2. TxAg94

    I’ve never understood the carbon trading scheme as anything other than that, a scheme. I have always felt it merely taps into the guilty conscience of people and businesses to relieve them of some money. Someone is making a killing and some people are feeling all warm and fuzzy about themselves. In the end, as this says, nothing changed except figures in various accounts.

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  3. yabkpjo

    Right on – whether or not humans are causing global warming and what should be done about it (if anything) are 2 completely separate questions, that due to the heavily politicization of climate science get artificially welded together.

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  4. Hal_10000 *

    Cap and trade worked well with sulfur dioxide. It came from conservative and libertarian circles as an alternative to micromanagement. Ironically, greens hated it since it wasn’t statist and implied a “right to pollute”.

    BUT, SO2 was a small market with obvious solutions. CO2, however, is a gigantic market with a myriad solutions. You simply can’t scale it up that way. Suddenly, a market of a few billion becomes a market of a few trillion. Bad business.

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  5. CM

    It’s still an attempt to correct a chronic market failure (the effects of C02 are costs which are not reflected in price). I’ve yet to hear any conservative successfully argue why steadfastly (and aggressively) defending a chronic failure of the market is consistent with their economic philosophy. It seems to be a huge gaping hole in the overall logic. They actually get angry about attempts to end gigantic and unsustainable subsidies.

    Right on – whether or not humans are causing global warming and what should be done about it (if anything) are 2 completely separate questions, that due to the heavily politicization of climate science get artificially welded together.

    Once people are able to pull their heads out of their arses on the science, then we can all finally start to discuss and tackle what to do about the issue. But so long as people do everything possible to delay that second part (because it’s inconsistent with their political philosophy, and god-knows that must come above all else for some reason) we simply won’t get anywhere on any sort of sustainable and workable system. We’ll just end up with half-based measures.

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  6. CM

    Cap and trade worked well with sulfur dioxide. It came from conservative and libertarian circles as an alternative to micromanagement. Ironically, greens hated it since it wasn’t statist and implied a “right to pollute”.

    Was it as simple as that though?
    I understand that low-sulfur coal became more economical.

    ….the effectiveness of the emissions trading element as a mechanism has been criticised, since the EPA also used regulations to achieve the reductions, as all areas of the country “had to meet national, health-based, air quality standards that are separate from the Acid Rain Program’s requirements”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_Rain_Program

    Due largely to the US EPA’s Acid Rain Program, the U.S. has witnessed a 33 percent decrease in emissions between 1983 and 2002. This improvement resulted in part from flue gas desulfurization, a technology that enables SO2 to be chemically bound in power plants burning sulfur-containing coal or oil. In particular, calcium oxide (lime) reacts with sulfur dioxide to form calcium sulfite

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur_dioxide#As_an_air_pollutant

    Flue gas desulfurization = micromanagement?

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