Monday, September 07, 2009

Carbon Crime

Generally, I'm a pretty big fan of cap and trade schemes as the best way to avoid as much climate disruption as we possibly can. I've got great faith in markets as effective mechanisms for efficiently dealing with complexity. I also this a market-based solution is a better than a carbon tax in terms of engaging a broader range of people (particularly in the taxophobic US) in positive conversations about what we can and must do.

One of the common arguments in favor of a carbon tax over cap and trade is that the latter is too complicated and confusing and open to abuse. Well, this story certainly supports that position:

http://channels.isp.netscape.com/celebrity/story.jsp?idq=/ff/story/0001/20090821/1144449878.htm

It's about a scheme in Europe to profit from VAT taxes associated with carbon credits. As we've seen with the meltdown, sometimes being too efficient can lead to collapse - and the need for some very inefficient rescue measures (stimulus spending, increased regulation and enforcement) not to mention the more important non-financial suffering being endured by so many losing their houses and jobs as a result.

Don't get me wrong, I still think free-market based capitalism is the worst system, except for all the others... full of great opportunities for improvement - but given the demonstrated level of civility in the debates in the US Congress, I am more and more coming around to thinking a simple simple simple tax shift - increase a carbon tax, decrease income tax, net result is zero (except that we encourage hiring and discourage wasteful energy use).

Stay going.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Georges,

My name is Bill Hawthorne, and I represent maacenter.org, a leading web resource for asbestos exposure and mesothelioma cancer information. Our organization is dedicated to increasing awareness of the terrible health consequences of asbestos exposure.

I found your site through a search and decided to contact you because of its high environmental and green presence which is extremely important in our movement. Your viewers are extremely savvy and motivated. The promotion of how buildings should now be built using sustainable green products to avoid asbestos and mesothelioma as well as the awareness of past buildings and preventative steps in avoiding asbestos exposure are extremely important. My goal is to get a resource link on your site/blog or even to provide a guest posting to be placed.

I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to check out our website. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Bill Hawthorne
bhawthorne@maacenter.org
MAA Center is now on Twitter – follow us @maacenter

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