Thursday, September 08, 2011

Built to last?

If a comedian gets it, why don't our politicians?
H/T Dave.


Mark Stevens said...

I still don't get it. All that happens is I pay the tax because the company passes it on (and then some)...

byron smith said...

Not if one company finds a way to do the same (or similar) thing with a much lower carbon footprint. Then they get a competitive advantage and the less destructive mode of production wins out, leading to lower emissions.

Or if I decide that as a result of across-the-board price rises for a particular product, I no longer really want one (or want less), then we have a fall in consumption and so in emissions.

Or if a company/government is planning a long term piece of infrastructure and they can see that rising carbon prices will make a lower footprint option more attractive, resulting in lower emissions for decades.

The point is behavioural and infrastructure change. If they don't happen, then perhaps the price is too low.

Of course, a price mechanism is not always the best way of making a change. Perhaps it would be more straightforward and effective (in every way except politically) for governments to agree to leave the lion's share of all fossil fuels in the ground and to ban all further exploration.

byron smith said...

Also from Dave comes the follow up video Burden of Proof. Apart from an unfortunate line where he gets a simple calculation out by an order of magnitude, the basic idea is solid.