HOW CAFE standards are bad environmental policy

I wrote about CAFE in my post below, but I did not make clear HOW it is bad. I appologize for boring those who understand fixed and variable costs (or maybe everyone), but the distinction is very important in how CAFE works, or not. Society is a complex. When you change one aspect, it changes relationships throughout the system. CAFE standards just ignore that.

Costs can be divided into fixed and variable costs. Fixed cost are those that do not change based on usage. Variable cost, as the name implies varies with use of production. Fixed and variable costs explain why firms sometimes continue to produce products even when they are losing money on every unit. If a firm can cover its variable costs, it sometimes makes more sense.

So how does this apply to CAFE and cars? Automobiles are fixed costs. They depreciate faster with use, but are is mostly fixed costs. Insurance, license, fees etc are also mostly fixed costs. You pay essentially the same if you drive 1000 miles or 100,000.

Most Americans own cars and will continue to own them. They have already paid for their cars (or at least their loans will not change with miles driven). Their cars are fixed costs. In fact, leaving the car in the garage may be a bit of a waste. The fixed cost is just sitting there. People figure variable costs. This is the dilemma of mass transit. It may be cheaper in total cost for a person to commute by mass transit, but the variable cost is often lower to commute by car. For example if you count in the total cost of owning a car, it may cost you $.40.5 a mile to drive (which is what the IRS allows). So you might think that a bus company could charge $4.05 for a ten mile commute, maybe as much as $5-6 because you are hiring someone else to drive. But people do not see it that way. They count only the variable cost, so they figure it costs only around $1-1.50, i.e. about what it costs for the gas.

CAFE standards will raise the price of vehicles (fixed) while lowering the average cost per mile driven (variable). The total cost (fixed plus variable) will remain the similar, but the relative cost of driving, the variable cost is less. The variable cost is what affects people's decisions.

So what CAFE standard do is create incentives to drive more miles even if it does not change the total cost people pay for their transport needs.

A carbon tax, in contrast, does just the opposite. It drives up the variable cost, the cost per mile, while leaving fixed costs unchanged. The incentive is clearly to use less carbon based fuel. And the incentive continues to apply over and over.

People use their imagination and intelligence to avoid costs and take advantage of opportunities. If you want to create incentives to drive more miles, impose CAFE standards, but understand you will not in the long run reduce carbon based fuel usage and you are creating incentives for people to move farther away from where they work, i.e. sprawl. You are also doing nothing to encourage alternative fuels. AND all this assumes CAFE is done honestly w/o too much political pressure.

If you want to create incentives to use less carbon based fuel and develop alternatives to fossil fuels, the carbon tax is the way to go.

Posted by Jack at June 28, 2007 9:32 PM
Comments
Comment #224363

Jack,

The EIA study of NCEP proposals, which I linked to in your last post, concluded that increased CAFE standards would lead to a decrease in emissions. When I cruise the internet, I see similar conclusions. As I’ve said in the previous post, the effect in percentage terms over the next couple of decades isn’t great, but all things considered, they do help.

Here’s a summary of the EIA’s analysis on CAFE:

The 36-percent increase in CAFE standards for LDVs mainly affects petroleum use and imports, vehicle miles traveled, and vehicle cost. When considered alone without other policies, the key impacts of the increase in the CAFE standard include:


• A reduction in petroleum consumption of 0.61 million barrels per day (2.5 percent) in 2015
and 1.61 million barrels per day (5.8 percent) in 2025. The import share of petroleum product
supplied falls from 62.4 percent to 61.6 percent in 2015 and from 68.4 percent to 67.1 percent
in 2025.

• An increase in the average fuel efficiency of new LDVs of 6.8 miles per gallon (26.2 percent)
in 2015 and 6.3 miles per gallon (23.4 percent) in 2025. The increases in measured fuel
economy are smaller than the increases in the CAFE standard, because new LDVs are
projected to exceed the existing CAFE standard in the reference case.

• An increase in the average price of new LDVs of about $1,400 in 2015 and $1,200 in 2025
(2003 dollars).

• A reduction in CO2 emissions of 79 million metric tons (1.1 percent) in 2015 and 242 million
metric tons (2.8 percent) in 2025.

Impacts of Modeled Recommendations
of the National Commission on Energy Policy,
page xii.

As you know, I don’t get terribly excited about these figures, especially when you consider they are reductions from projected levels in the future, which are much, much higher than they are now. But it seems reasonable to raising CAFE standards should be at least a small part of the solution.

The part of your argument from the last post I found most compelling was the notion that politicians might increase CAFE standards and then claim they’ve dealt with the issue. We do need a carbon tax.

For you data wizards, economists, etc.: the EIA uses something called the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) to create its projections. You can find detailed documentation on NEMS at the EIA site.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 28, 2007 11:29 PM
Comment #224374
So what CAFE standard do is create incentives to drive more miles

Jack, that’s kind of a silly conclusion. People are going to drive as much as they always have (and still do), but it’s going to cost less, burn less fuel, and pollute less.

Higher CAFE standards are good all the way around.

The point is not to force people into driving less, it’s to lower the economic and environmental cost of normal driving.

Posted by: American Pundit at June 29, 2007 3:56 AM
Comment #224377

Jack-
The Republicans have claimed before that changes to the tax code will have a follow-on effect in the economy. So far, such policy has failed to do what it’s been promised to do. Tax Cuts have not revived the boom economy of the 90’s.

There is no guarantee of any kind that people will respond economically as promised.

A rise in CAFE standards will directly effect emission, reducing emissions per mile, regardless of how much people drive. People might drive more, but on the average, most people will drive the same. They might go out more often than otherwise, but there are only so many hours in a day, and most people have things to do on an average day.

At the end of the day, our economy has to function, and transportation is a crucial part of that. Efficiency will allow economic growth and protection of the environment to coexist. I know the constant charge of the right is that we Liberals want to destroy the capitalist economy in order to save the world. The Reality is that most people like me want capitalism, just not a sort that’s bad for the environment. There is technology in the pipeline that could help us do that, but first, we got to stop relying on the older technology.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 29, 2007 7:40 AM
Comment #224378

Jack,

If water was cheaper, would you flush your toilet more?

The problem with your analysis is that you are leaving out elasticity, or the degree to which the price of a product affects how much people consume. The price of gasoline is notoriously inelastic.

The elasticity of gasoline is apparently about .20-.25. What that means is that for every %1 increase in the price of gasoline, you get about .25% decrease in consumption.

So the bottom line here is that if you think the carbon tax is better you need to talk about how big a tax you are talking about. If you increase that price of gasoline by 100% - that is, double the price - you can reduce driving by 25%. But we both know that a $3 tax on gasoline is politically unthinkable.

On the flip side, the inelasticity argument explains why people won’t drive a lot more simply because they have a more fuel efficient care. That would be like lowering the cost of gas, which doesn’t make much of a difference.

Posted by: Woody Mena at June 29, 2007 7:48 AM
Comment #224382

Woody,

The Carbon Tax Center discusses elasticity, fungibility, and all those other terms ;) Seriously heavy weight economists are behind it. Give the site a look. …

Posted by: Gerrold at June 29, 2007 8:05 AM
Comment #224385

All, I really don’t understand why the carbon tax is getting this kind of opposition. If implemented as we’ve discussed, it will be revenue neutral. In fact, it would be progressive, with lower incomes getting back more than they pay.

It’s not just about gasoline. Most of the reductions in carbon emissions wouldn’t even come from reduction in gasoline; it would come from shifting electricity production. Under the Carbon Tax Center plan, about 10 percent in reductions against future projections would be in the transportation sector.

I’ve seen lots of speculation from all sides of this debate but little recourse to analysis performed by economists and other specialists. This analysis suggests that various subsidy schemes, such as the subsidy for hybrids, do have some effect but not enough. Even if the hybrid scheme remained in force for the next couple of decades, we are only talking about 5 million of them on the road. Incentives, regulations, etc., do help, but no expert that I am aware of think they will be nearly enough. IPCC speaks of carbon emissions trading; that’s what the carbon tax is a counter proposal too, not to regulations and incentives.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 29, 2007 8:25 AM
Comment #224390

When you hear some one say that raising cafe standards will hurt our economy, it is just the oil companies that control our government telling you lies to keep you hooked on oil.
The oil lobbyist was on PBS telling us that if cars become more efficient we will drive more. Consider the source of this statement. These people are making a killing off of us and running our economy in the ground. The cost of energy is added to all products in the manufacturing and transportation areas.

New technology can open up a new area in our economy for thousands of new jobs. Look at how computers have changed our lives and our economy. The rise in worker productivity has kept the American work at the top of the productivity ladder. Computers and computerized equipment give us an edge over the rest of the world. There is no reason that new transportation technology can’t have the same effect on us and our economy. We will still hear some people say (computers have ruined this country). Some people still think we should have never left the horse and buggy days.

With the development of new energy efficient products along with alternative energy sources, conservation and improved building codes for our homes, we can kick the big oil company habit and become energy independent. This could take a few years to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We cannot afford to lose track of where we want to go like we have in the past.
Big oil will fight us every inch of the way. They will spend millions to keep us from meeting our goals. Remember they want us to fail.

Posted by: Outraged at June 29, 2007 10:06 AM
Comment #224407

Gerrold-
I think the big reason he’s getting such lousy reception on this is that he’s marketing it by itself, as the solution.

Personally speaking, the idea of rising taxes on gasoline makes already burdensome fuel prices potentially crippling. Much of the rise in fuel prices has been due to excessive consolidation of the petroleum industry, reduction of competition and decreases in the numbers of working refineries.

Market economics are not kind to those who try to shape behavior by manipulating prices. A Carbon Tax is of use, but only as an adjunct to advances in fuel technology.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 29, 2007 11:53 AM
Comment #224415

Stephen D.,

A carbon tax would be a healthy spur to technological development. Remember, the purpose of a carbon tax is not just to encourage conservation but to give a push to every other single solution — including energy efficiency technologies, alternatives, weatherization, etc. The beauty of it is that it gets innovators in the market involved, and doesn’t involve pinning hopes on any particular technology. I almost choked when Bush announced a few years ago the heavy investment in hydrogen cars because of all the issues involved (another post, perhaps). The same thing with ethanol. Better to give a boost to all possibilities and see which actually pan out.

From the comments here, some seem to think a carbon tax would be this huge, economy draining thing. First, it would start small and then increase annually — the Carbon Tax Center proposal is the equivalent of 10 cents per gallon of gas added each year — in a decade we are talking about a $1 a gallon. This eases the economy into and gives developers a solid structure to work with. It’s a Pigouvian scheme, of course, and we need solid analysis to determine the exact rate of the tax to maximize benefits and reduce hardship. Couple that with progressive return of revenue and the benefits could be huge. At any rate, check out the Carbon Tax Center site for estimates of average annual cost — it’s not that much, and would be returned anyway.

Not that I think raising CAFE standards is relevant to this discussion — it’s a separate issue, and I support raising them — but they mandate efficiency up to a certain level but not beyond it. A carbon tax would reward continual efforts to reduce carbon through conservation and through alternative power supplies. Many heavy weight economists support this approach — and some prominent liberals too. Gore himself speaks approvingly of the tax, though I think it’s clear he would go with either the carbon tax or emissions trading, whatever is politically possible.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 29, 2007 1:05 PM
Comment #224416

Stephen,
Perhaps I misunderstood your post, but a carbon tax should not be considered price manipulation. In fact, carbon taxes would reduce the existing distortion caused by the fact that environmental externalities are not currently incorporated in the price of gasoline and other fossil-fuels.

I’m not sure whether I’d categorize a carbon tax as an adjunct to advances in fuel technology, but I certainly agree with you that a carbon tax should work in conjunction with changes in fuel technology. It should also be supplemented by improved building standards, appliance standards and other measures to reduce energy use.

Thanks to Gerrold for his reference to the Carbon Tax Center. Please do take a look at the site and and join the conversations on our blog.

Posted by: Dan at June 29, 2007 1:08 PM
Comment #224440

Dan-
What else can it be considered? Even if it is meant to be an antidote to those externalities you mention, put a tax on a product to make it more expensive is a price manipulation. Same thing if you put a tax break on it.

I’m not necessarily against a little price manipulation, but let’s call it what it is so our points don’t get lost in the rhetoric.

Additionally, let me add this: price manipulations from the top can be problematic, especially since the economy tends to behave emergently. That’s why it can’t work by itself. Only if we put good effort into changing the technologies that define the energy economy can we solve the overall problem. I favor raising the CAFE standards because that starts us off on the foot of substantive, not speculative change, the latter of which is all that a carbon tax can offer. The technology exists to make cars more fuel efficient right now. Let’s take advantage of that first, and get other forces at work before we start using a Carbon Tax.

Gerrold-
Both hydrogen and Ethanol could work, if you get the right issues resolved. If we start using Cellulosic Ethanol, rather than the sugar based stuff we’re banking on now, we could even get a net decrease in carbon emissions right now. With Hydrogen we got the promise of that new storage system. Don’t discount these technologies outright.

On the subject of how much strength this tax might have, If we’re talking the scheme you’re mentioning, I don’t know what good that will do. We weather ten cent changes in gas prices on a regular basis nowadays. At the pace you’re talking about, I’m not sure gas prices won’t beat you to the punch!

I’m all for doing stuff to bring greater electrical and fuel efficiency. I think the manufacturers and the power companies are some of the worst offenders, given a pass on things for far too long.

If the tax you propose would be phased in at that pace, I don’t see the problem, but I don’t think I don’t see why everybody’s giving it such fanfare either.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 29, 2007 4:07 PM
Comment #224444

Stephen D.,

The effect on carbon reduction from the transportation sector of a carbon tax is not enormous presumably because of factors we’ve discussed. But they are projected to be greater than the effect of CAFE. Again, though, I favor both.

10 cents per gallon of gas per year may not seem much, and given volatility, can be relatively invisible, but remember, most experts do not project dramatic increases in the price of gasoline over the next couple of decades. I realize that is counterintuitive to many, but examine if you wish EIA projections and methodology. Now, no one can predict with great confidence what will happen in the future — if gasoline prices are not relatively flat, then presumably the transportation sector portion of the carbon tax can be adjusted.

At any rate, I spent seven years or so working on energy-related matters. I’m optimistic about the promise of a carbon tax because I know of nothing else (except perhaps emissions trading) that realistically offers as much promise. I’ve played with energy data quite a bit with the help of economists and statisticians, and nothing I’ve come across seems as promising. The real problem is that the rate of increase of energy consumption and carbon emissions are climbing so fast that simply making modest inroads in efficiency does nothing more than reduce projected levels a couple of decades out by a few percentage points.

At any rate, the larger effect of a carbon tax would be on electricity generation. There it could be dramatic —

Listen, I got to pick up my kid from summer camp, so I can’t continue now. You are a very bright guy, Stephen D., and if your opinion on this topic can be swayed I think that would be terrific for the cause. I really do encourage you to investigate this on your own — I’m not an economist or statistician, so everything I say is going to be second-hand and perhaps sometimes erroneous. The Carbon Tax Center is a good place to start.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 29, 2007 4:31 PM
Comment #224445

I watched one of the hearings involving energy. The gist was that the witnesses were all opposed to a carbon tax, and all for some form of cap and trade. One congressman stated outright that a carbon tax would never be considered or passed in congress. How’s that for forward thinking?

Posted by: womanmarine at June 29, 2007 4:31 PM
Comment #224459

Gerrold-
What I’d say is that if our choice is between a big increase and a small increase in emissions, we should pick policies that favor the latter. The Carbon Tax may or may not pan out as promised, but we should start pushing those miles per gallon up.

My readings on the scientific portion of this convince me that the economics will follow the innovations, that the point at which we really see emissions fall is when the old technology becomes less common. The CAFE standard deals directly with the technology. It can function in two ways: one, this round of increases is our foot in the door. Having asked for the cookie, we’re on our way to getting the glass of milk. Two, it creates supply for what I feel is an already existing demand for more fuel efficient vehicles. We may not need a Carbon Tax on gas if hybrid vehicles and other models prove popular enough.

It takes time to diffuse technological innovations. It’s best we start now. Once the technology is in place, the economics will follow suit. A Carbon Tax is not a bad idea, if we apply it mostly to power generation. In the meantime, we should support research at a federal level into alternative fuels and energy. God knows we’ve wasted enough time.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 29, 2007 8:48 PM
Comment #224464

Stephen

Prices work. We see a clear relationship (with some lag) between prices and consumption. The CAFE standards did not work. They raised mileage, but miles driven increased faster.

The carbon tax doesn’t let anybody off the hook. In fact, it catches anybody who is emitting CO2, rich or poor. AND it gives everyone the incentive to do better.

We have to use less carbon based fuel. We use those sorts of fuels now because they are cheaper or easier than the alternatives. There is no way to get people to use less unless carbon based fuels become more expensive or more trouble than the alternatives.

I live in N. Virginia a seven minute walk from the Metro. We have a superb metro and a wonderful network of bike trails nearby. I use both to get to work. Many of my neighbors still drive. Some take the Metro, but many DRIVE there. They will continue to drive until the cost or inconvenience of driving begins to exceed the cost or inconvenience of mass transit. Where I work, I saw the changes when gas prices went up a couple years ago. Several of coworkers began to take the Metro. One guy actually moved to be closer to work. Some began to telecommute. This was a short term response. In the longer term, it would work even better.

Price is the fastest way to make changes. It is also best in the long term for innovation. It has the additional advantage of being adapted to a dynamic system. Nothing else will really work as well as a carbon tax because everything else is addressing symptoms and not the problem.

Frankly, I do not much care if we have CAFE– if we also have a carbon tax. CAFE is just a waste of time and effort, but if we have a carbon tax CAFÉ will not hurt anything. But if CAFE in any way substitutes for a carbon tax, we will be in a world of hurt.

Woody

Actually, yes. When the price of water rises, people are more careful with their use of water. People respond to incentives. They have responded to increases in gas prices, water prices any prices.

I do not know how much you would have to drive up the price. Today’s prices are okay now. They are encouraging alternatives and helping sell hybrids. We would have to increase the taxes constantly until we got to the levels we wanted. The effect begins to wear off after a while.

Outraged

CAFÉ standards will have no significant effect on oil consumption. We consume a lot more oil today than we did before the first CAFE standards. As I wrote above, CAFE standards raise the fixed cost of the automobile. People drive enough to make up the fuel.

The carbon tax directly challenges big oil. Your CAFE and all the other obfuscation plays into the hands of big oil. I do not dislike big oil as you do, but I am more interested in really getting us off the carbon curse.

Woman

The cap & trade is a kind of carbon tax. It is not as efficient or direct, but it is an acceptable alternative if we cannot get the real thing.

Posted by: Jack at June 29, 2007 10:43 PM
Comment #224481
One congressman stated outright that a carbon tax would never be considered or passed in congress. How’s that for forward thinking?

Pretty good, I think. A general carbon tax would be a disaster for the poor, middle class and small businesses. A cap & trade system puts the burden on the heaviest industrial polluters. A general carbon tax shifts the burden of that pollution to consumers.

Higher CAFE standards and a cap & trade system are good ideas.

Posted by: American Pundit at June 30, 2007 3:10 AM
Comment #224486

AP, simple assertion does not an argument make.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 30, 2007 9:33 AM
Comment #224488

AP

Cap and trade is a form of carbon tax. It is just less direct. Go ahead. Tax through cap and trade the carbon that goes into products. If you think you are protecting the poor and middle class, you can sleep better.

The carbon tax is a tax on carbon - simple. The biggest pollutors pay the biggest tax. The consumers of the products that emit the most pollutions pay the biggest tax. It is just and good.

If you really believe in reducing CO2, you have to reduce CO2 - simple. If you believe in redistrition of income at the expense of the environment, that is simple too.

Posted by: Jack at June 30, 2007 9:40 AM
Comment #224506

Jack-
I’m not a big fan of playing determinant games with emergent systems. If we go the punitive route with the Carbon Tax, we may just end up creating economic bottlenecks that will dry up the capital needed to move the technology.

You say we’re putting out more emissions than we did years ago. Are you taking into account the effects of sprawl, population, and economic growth? The way I hear it, without CAFE standards in place, what we are emitting now would be nothing.

You’re looking at this as an economic problem. That perspective, though neglects the crucial issue of the effects of technology on economic equations.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 30, 2007 5:34 PM
Comment #224508

Stephen

Either you want to control carbon emissions or you do not.

You are mistaken re CAFE stadards. The Europeans already get 35 mph equivelent and they still emit plenty. Beyond that, you are assuming that we will not drive more miles. CAFE standards also do nothing to encourage alternative fuels.

Re sprawl - that is precisely my point and I made it explicitly. Higher milage encourages urban sprawl and more driving. I explained that you make the variable cost of driving lower.

Higher oil prices, even w/o the benefits of a carbon tax, have done wonders in encouraging technological innovation. The U.S. now invests many times more than the EU (similar sized economy) in alternatives and this big change happened only in the last few years when prices went up.

CAFE standards are an old fashioned and simplistic way to address a complex problem. They are not helpful and may even be harmful to the idea of limiting CO2 emissions.

AND BTW - the carbon tax addresses ALL CO2 emissions. The CAFE addresses only transport and it does that badly. CAFE standards are so 1970s.

Posted by: Jack at June 30, 2007 5:54 PM
Comment #224541

Jack-

In the midst of a paragraph making your point, this fact pops up: National Academies Report (Page 19) [4]estimates this “rebound effect” as reducing the gains from increased fuel economy by only 10-20%..

There is no one perfect means of bringing down the carbon footprint of this country and the world in general. However, this has been has been an effective means of improving fuel economy.

The reason total emissions have risen relate to external issues such as the rise in the number of cars on the road, as well as the failure of the law to include SUVs and other “light truck” vehicles in the regulations.

The carbon tax might be a part of the total solution, but it shouldn’t be regardeds as an overall cure-all. I’m not presenting CAFE standards as a panacea for global warming. But since motor vehicles are a significant source of Carbon Emissions, I don’t see the logic in failing to address gas mileage as part of the total solution.

There are parts of Europe that have less than half our emissions per person, and only one that quite equals our emissions. They’ve had time to get their act together, and they’ve done so. We haven’t. The difference is measureable.

Higher Mileage does not necessarily encourage sprawl. There are other factors, including the willingness of people to endure long commutes. So there’s a limit on how much sprawl high mileage cars encourage. Another factor in this, one that developed quite apart from fuel efficiency, is our thirst for suburban and near-rural life. That more than anything else has encouraged sprawl. Gas economy might make it more economical, but since when do people think solely in economic terms? Would SUVs be so popular, even now, if people were eternally rational economic creatures? No, people are coming out here to take advantage of what they destroyed when they first took flight from the cities. They can’t run forever, though, and simple economics will draw these communities onto new centers. That might be something to encourage.

If we raise the fleet average of the fuel economy for cars, people are going to have much more opportunity to indulge recent desires for greater fuel economy. Carbon taxes will be much more effective if people have the ability to indulge the impulse you’re trying to encourage.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 1, 2007 9:43 AM
Comment #224544

Yes, the National Academies of science report complements EIA analysis. CAFE does work and should be a small part of addressing of our approach. That said, let’s not forget that with CAFE we are talking about shaving a few percentage points off the steep projected increase in carbon emissions over the next couple of decades. One hopes that some of the lessons learned about Detroit gamemanship can be incorporated. But let’s get CAFE done and move on.

Stephen, those European countries employ, inter alia, a carbon emissions trading scheme, which is a form of carbon tax. That said, the scheme has not been in place long. The lower carbon emissions of those countries no doubt has numerous causes, but certainly the relatively high price of fuel must be a large factor. I would think that would help arguments for a carbon tax or other schemes to create a disincentive for carbon use. I do believe a carbon tax is the best approach because it targets all CO2 use in the economy, not just those primarily concerned with gasoline — it would affect natural gas, plastics, etc., etc. Because it affects many sectors of the economy, it more accurately targets the problem of C02 emissions. But I am a pragmatist and would support any scheme that had roughly similar effects.

I think the time for a carbon tax (or cap and trade, etc.) is now. CAFE standards give mandates for incremental improvements over time; if we insist that we wait until CAFE and other measures are implemented and have had a substantial effect, then we are postponing a large part of the solution years down the road. Instead I think we should go ahead and start with the carbon tax using a similar incremental approach. We’ve discussed ways the carbon tax can be made progressive; we could also use revenues to support other approaches. I certainly agree with you that a carbon tax or similar scheme is not the sole solution, but right now, I don’t see any other single approach that promises as much beneficial effect.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 1, 2007 11:13 AM
Comment #224547

Gerrold-
To be honest, your approach of incremental raising of the carbon tax appeals to me, and I’ve seen these things recommended elsewhere. At the end of the day though, we can’t passively wait for economics to do the job. We have to encourage and require outright action. Take some of the subsidies for the oil companies and make renewable energy the recipients of it. Set targets, push policy to reach those targets.

At the end of the day, perhaps the Carbon tax helps. But the promise of a carbon tax remains a promise until it is kept, and its my opinion that we should not focus on one means of dealing with global warming alone to the exception of others. We have built our civilization, as it stands now around, around fossil fuels. It’s going to take an effort on many fronts.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 1, 2007 12:21 PM
Comment #224793

I just watched a documentary on the death of the Electric Vehicle in America. If ever there was proof that our government, our corporations, and our political system are aligned with the profits of special interests instead of the needs of the American people, the death of the All Electric Vehicle, stands as the most astounding proof of all.

Ending dependence upon foreign oil was, and is, available, the technology already created. But the EV1 battery patents were bought up by Chevron and the murder of the electric vehicle became inevitable despite public pressures and blowback. GM chose to destroy their EV1’s rather than sell them to highly motivated lease owners at any price. The other manufacturers followed suit. The government, corporation, oil industry conspiracy to deprive working Americans of a clean, efficient, and vastly lower cost maintenance vehicle, stands as testament to the forces that now control America.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 4, 2007 6:17 PM
Comment #245492

Unreported in the media is that; climate change regulations are part of the Omnibus Spending Bill just passed. “Under the bill, EPA must develop the registry and require industries to report greenhouse gas emissions exceeding thresholds the EPA must develop for different industries in various sectors of the economy. EPA must also establish the frequency at which the inbdustries must submit their reports to the agency.” This according to Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan LLP Attorneys at Law press release. They went on to state that “Business in the US are about to be thrust into the process of having to actively assess and manage their carbon footprint. The EPA will have to draft its rules within nine months after President Bush signs the bill…”

Posted by: Rodney Dierking at February 16, 2008 1:15 PM
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