Category Archives: climate change

Taxing Falling Carbon Emissions

Back in November 2007, in a long post on the relative merits of a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system, I said that one big advantage of cap-and-trade was that it was "a dynamic hedge of fat-tail CO2 risk". The … Continue reading

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When Buying a Hybrid Isn’t Green

If I were ever to have a nice little place in the Hudson valley (a chap can dream), I’d need a car to keep at the train station while I was in the city and to run me into the … Continue reading

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The Problem With Cap-and-Trade Offsets

Richard Sandor, the chairman of the Chicago Climate Exchange, is an old-school Chicago trader who doesn’t often self-censor. But in this case, he most definitely should have: The debate over whether or not a polluter would have cut its greenhouse-gas … Continue reading

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Cap-and-Trade in the US

Did you know that September 29 saw the largest carbon auction the world has ever seen? OK, it was pretty small on an absolute level — it raised just $39 million, and the price per ton of carbon emitted was … Continue reading

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Can Carbon Markets Help Stop Deforestation in the Amazon?

I spent the morning at a meeting in midtown on the subject of the nascent carbon markets in Brazil. They’re tiny at the moment, and they’re likely to remain tiny — unless and until the US implements a cap-and-trade system … Continue reading

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Drilling for Revenues

Free Exchange has it right, I think, and Tyler Cowen is being needlessly self-abnegating. Drilling for US oil might well make sense as a matter of fiscal policy, especially for Alaska; it gets us nowhere fast as a an "energy … Continue reading

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Climate Engineering Proposal of the Day

Freeman Dyson waxes imaginative in the NYRB: Snow-dumping in East Antarctica would be a good way to stop sea levels from rising… East Antarctica is much colder and larger than Greenland and West Antarctica, and the ice cap on East … Continue reading

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CO2 Emission Datapoint of the Day

Barbara Kiviat reports: Over a 24-hour period, a single cargo ship sitting at Long Beach with its engines running throws off more emissions than all the passenger car traffic in the Los Angeles metro area. I’m sure that most cargo … Continue reading

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Gas Mileage: Overrated

I never thought I’d say this, but America has become too obsessed with gas mileage. Prius owners use their real-time mileage readout to try and get the absolute maximum number of miles out of every tank; politicians talk dreamily of … Continue reading

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Eat Roo

In case you wanted another reason to eat kangaroo rather than beef: they emit just 0.003 tonnes of greenhouse gases per animal per year, compared to 1.67 tonnes per cow per year. And they don’t just save in terms of … Continue reading

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Detroit: Tow Ridiculous

Fuel-economy standards are a good idea because they prevent automobile manufacturers from gaming the system. If everybody is forced to make fuel-efficient cars, there’s a level playing field; if it’s left up to market forces, then everybody tends to wait … Continue reading

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Why the Energy Crisis Won’t Solve Itself

Will Wilkinson is optimistic about energy. Don’t worry about peak oil, he says: as oil prices rise, alternative energy sources will become more attractive, and eventually innovation and competition in the alternative-energy space will drive alternative-energy prices down below the … Continue reading

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The Disastrous Future of the US

The insurance industry is fighting back against the kind of articles which accuse it of price-gouging, especially when it comes to natural disasters in general and hurricanes in particular. Yesterday Munich Re held a webinar for journalists, and wheeled out … Continue reading

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How to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in a World of Corporate Pork

Daniel Hall unwraps a rarely-heard yet very powerful argument in favor of cap-and-trade over carbon taxes. Essentially, coporate pork in a cap-and-trade system (free emissions allowances) is much less harmful than corporate pork in a carbon-tax system (lower taxes, or … Continue reading

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Exxon’s Hoard

I missed this, last week: Exxon Mobil has amassed a large pile of common stock held in treasury. At the end of 2007, the company had 2.367 billion shares held in treasury, for which it paid $113 billion over the … Continue reading

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Why Cap-and-Trade Beats a Carbon Tax

Brad DeLong reckons that the relative merits of carbon taxes and cap-and-trade "roughly offset each other". "To first order cap-and-trade and carbon taxes are the same," he says, but there are second- and third-order differences. Among the second-order differences are … Continue reading

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Annals of Dubious Branding, Audi Edition

Kit Roane doesn’t belabor the irony, but I can’t resist: Tanya Mastoloni went a step further, buying a 49cc scooter to replace her Audi Allroad Wagon. "It goes about 150 miles on one gallon of gas," she says, noting that … Continue reading

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Cap-and-Trade vs Fuel Efficiency Requirements

This is one of the silliest arguments I’ve yet seen against cap-and-trade: Although the transportation sector represents around 35 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions, oil companies and refiners — which fuel that sector — would be granted just 4 … Continue reading

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Do People Drive Less When There’s a Carbon Tax?

Peter Zimonjic makes an important point today: that a carbon tax, in itself, and over the short-to-medium term, will have very little effect on gasoline consumption. What Zimonjic doesn’t mention is that this is no reason not to implement a … Continue reading

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George Bush Gets Good News on Oil

George Bush, who wants to slow down the growth of US carbon emissions, got great news today: oil’s over $115 a barrel! I look forward to the White House statement embracing the fact that market mechanisms are sure to reduce … Continue reading

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Why Bush Doesn’t Like Cap-and-Trade

You want an argument for why a cap-and-trade system makes more sense than a carbon tax if you want to reduce carbon emissions? Take a look at all the noise surrounding the Bush speech on the subject today. Bush’s goal, … Continue reading

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The Prius Conundrum

Dan Ariely asks why people are more willing to shell out for a Prius than they are to spend a similar amount of money to save much more CO2 by making their houses energy-efficient. And I think a large part … Continue reading

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Small Feet, Large Footprints

Tyler Cowen explains why those of us without children should be less worried about our carbon footprint: Your net carbon impact depends far more on the number of children you will have than any other variable; remember good environmentalism uses … Continue reading

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Ethanol’s Not Green

How did I miss this, when it was published a couple of weeks ago? Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these “green” fuels are taken into … Continue reading

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Carbon Tax Arrives in British Columbia

Many congratulations to British Columbia and its finance minister Carole Taylor, who has introduced a revenue-neutral carbon tax. The sums involved are not insignificant: The carbon tax will start at a rate based on $10 per tonne of carbon emissions … Continue reading

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