CO2 Emissions: Green Can Be Less Efficient
“America’s emissions have fallen by 450m tonnes in the past five years, more than any other country’s. Ironically, given its far greater effort to tackle climate change, the European Union has seen its emissions rise, partly because of an increase in coal-fired power generation in response to Europe’s high gas price.”
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The lesson is that the market is smarter than you are and smarter than governments. Our Euro friends have followed the Al Gore recommendations to a much greater extent, yet the U.S. has done better.
Posted by Christine & John at June 3, 2012 12:16 AM
Isn’t the point of the market that smart individuals come up with smart ideas, and other people, smart or otherwise put them to the test?
It’s not the market that’s smart. It’s just that the market, by simple virtue of its multiple participants, creates a greater sampling of viewpoints.
However, this quality of the market can be turned to market manipulations as easy as anything else. People can learn how to play the system to their benefit by watching others.
It can also, and this is what’s important here, lead to complacency and stifling of innovation, because established infrastructures and fuel sources will trump the new stuff in cost. The efficiencies and the hidden subsidies and regulatory advantages are already baked in after a long period of primacy.
Sometimes we need the lever of policy to get things rolling. For all Europe may be struggling with some of its emissions, they’re the ones setting records in solar power, while Congress here dawdles in favor of literally fossilized fuel sources.
I have been reading an interesting book that says that all success begins with failure. Indeed, we need to produce lots of variation and selection. That is what the market does. The author compares this process to that of evolution and has a quote saying that “evolution is smarter than you are” which I paraphrased.
Both the market and the natural environment will produce lots of variations that no single person or reasonably sized group can anticipate.
According to the “experts” Europe should be cutting emissions, since they have the laws in place, and we should be adding, since guys like Bush did not allow the wise experts like Gore to do to us what they Europeans did. But truth is different.
So look at the results. Europe is setting records for installed solar and - despite its steeper economic decline - European emissions are going up. In America, on the other hand, our emissions are going down and even went down in 2006, when the economy was growing.
I have something I call the Gold’s Gym Rule. There are lots of people who hang around the gym talking about what they will do. If you judged by the talk, they are strong. But the test is whether or not you can pick up the weight. Nothing else matters.
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