A vision for Article 6 of the Paris Agreement?

As I’ve argued before, carbon taxes are better than carbon trading because they are simpler, there is less bureaucracy, less room for political interference, and less room for a parasitic class to form. In witness of which, David Hone’s article about the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)’s “vision”.

Well, that was a bit short, wasn’t it (I couldn’t be bothered to do any more). Now I remember a rather silly recent article at RC, Recycling Carbon? by Tony Patt of ETH Zürich, which says We know, from two decades of social-science research, that [carbon tax or cap-and-trade] do work to bring about marginal reductions in emissions, largely by stimulating improvements in efficiency. We also know that, at least so far, they have done virtually nothing to stimulate investment in the more sweeping changes in energy infrastructure that are needed to eliminate reliance on fossil fuels as the backbone of our system, and hence reduce emissions by 100%. Idiot.

Refs

* Why CCS implies over regulation
* A frog out of water

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8 thoughts on “A vision for Article 6 of the Paris Agreement?”

  1. I read that screed too.

    “We also know that, at least so far, they have done virtually nothing to stimulate investment in the more sweeping changes in energy infrastructure that are needed to eliminate reliance on fossil fuels as the backbone of our system”

    This would be true if carbon prices were high enough to cause behavioral change. But those prices remain too low because few politicians are willing to take the electoral risk of taking too much money out of voters’ pockets.

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  2. William. although there is not, today, a political majority available to enact the carbon tax you desire, surely there is a sizable minority willing to pay higher prices for carbon. It is naïve to think that carbon pricing won’t impose some cost on each of us. Revenue neutrality is not payer neutrality and, IMHO, counterproductive to the goal of reduced emissions.

    I really think that all who advocate carbon pricing should state how much cost they are willing to absorb before making any other argument for it. For me, the amount is $120 US/year. What about the rest of the Stoat fan club?

    [$80 is a Stern-like number, but the numbers are all subject to blur, so $120 seems reasonable too. The point isn’t really around what individuals are prepared to pay, since averaged over the whole population it will be about revenue-neutral, so anyone who doesn’t use a lot of fossil fuels ought to be happy, individually, with any kind of level. But setting it too high does strongly affect the balance between different industries or methods of power generation -W]

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  3. “The point isn’t really around what individuals are prepared to pay,”

    Since the tax’s enactment depends on a political majority, what individuals are prepared to pay seems to me to be most salient. Also note an individual’s cost of carbon pricing comes not just from his or hers personal carbon profile, but also from all the products that require carbon burning for their production and delivery to market.

    My question is what are those of us willing – and to some extent eager – to bear some additional cost to do while we’re waiting for that elusive majority? It would be very helpful to the cause if we had a better idea of how many of us there are and how much we are willing to pay. It may well be so many and so much that we could influence the market directly to reduce emissions rather than the indirect way of carbon pricing.

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  4. A premise: Those who see the necessity of replacing fossil fuels as rapidly as possible because of climate concerns, or any other reasons, have an ethical responsibility – and with today’s global instantaneous communication abilities, the opportunity – to act.

    I believe the market can be a more effective vehicle for mitigation if we approach it from the bottom as fossil fuel replacement consumers rather than from the top with artificial pricing. Most importantly, organizing for collective participation in the market does not require government action, support or permission nor political majorities for success.

    Although this recent study is focused on advocacy fundraising, I think it supports the collective market action approach.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160505085721.htm

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  5. I had thought this was a science based site. The proposed tax is not on carbon but rather carbon dioxide emissions. Similarly for cap and trade.

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  6. My question is what are those of us willing – and to some extent eager – to bear some additional cost to do while we’re waiting for that elusive majority?

    I could apparently save over GBP200 per year if I were prepared to move to an energy supplier which doesn’t take climate change as seriously. (I’m with Good Energy, who source 100% of their electricity from renewables, 6% of their gas from biomethane, and carbon-offset the rest. They’re not perfect, but they seem to be the best on the market at present.)

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  7. “As I’ve argued before, carbon taxes are better than carbon trading because they are simpler, there is less bureaucracy, less room for political interference, and less room for a parasitic class to form.”
    Everything is relative. Re carbon taxes, “Simpler” is still complex if not complicated, “less bureaucratic” is still bureaucratic, “less room for political interference” means there is still plenty of room for political interference, and “less room for a parasitic class to form” still leaves plenty of room for a parasitic class to form.

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