Clean Power Plan
As long as we emit more carbon than can be absorbed by natural sinks such as forests, concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere will keep rising, and the climate will keep warming. So stabilizing climate change at any temperature requires achieving zero net emissions.
What does it take for such a fundamental transition of the global economy to happen?
ECONOMIC theory says that when an individual’s choice damages others’ interests, that Governments can try to reduce emissions in three ways:
- Subsidising alternatives,
- Imposing standards on products and processes
- Pricing the greenhouse gases that cause the damage.
The first is almost always a bad idea; Governments still hand out too many allowances. The second should generally be avoided; Neither subsidies nor standards should be needed if greenhouse gases are priced to reflect the damage they do.
The third is the way to go. Europeans do all three. America does the first and the second at state and federal levels. California has decided to do the third, and it looks as though a federal system to price carbon will follow.
Some Governments are trying to establish a longer-term carbon price: to set a binding target of cutting carbon emissions, for example, Britain plans a cut by 20% of their 1990 level by 2020, and a cut by 60% by 2050. Continue reading CLEAN POWER PLAN IN DENIAL