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.