Saturday, February 10, 2007

The questionable morality of Carbon Credits

If I believe the GW prophets of doom, atmospheric CO2 concentrations will be the death of us all. But if part of the planet has found its economy damaged enough to be emitting less CO2 than it did in 1990, it can trade its reduction in CO2 for cash, through the magic of carbon credits.

If the amount of CO2 that reaches the atmosphere must be reduced to save our sorry souls, what possible benefit is there to the planet to allow someone to produce more simply by paying good Western cash to some post-industrial Russian? If CO2 is bad, then it's bad whether it's been 'paid for' or not.

This new GW religion has some mighty convenient ways to buy salvation. In capitalist societies, there is a "politics of envy" practiced by some who by choice or bad fortune do not have as much as some others. What "politics of envy" will be felt towards those whose emissions of CO2 are fully paid for, to no effect on the actual climate? Now that the evil-doers have paid some (thereby admitting their "guilt" in this whole climate-change farce), are they to pay more? If they choose not to, do they forfeit their businesses to whatever agency is in charge of this scheme?

International carbon credits are a naked transfer of wealth. Intra-national carbon credits are no better, as the regions which emit carbon create wealth.

My solution is that we impute a heavy but purely voluntary carbon tax on everyone. They can transfer their taxes to themselves. Of course it has no useful effect, and is purely symbolic.

But that, of course, would make it just like the Kyoto Accord.

1 comment:

JR said...

I agree. A carbon trading system, even if restricted to an internal Canadian market, is economically dubious. Sending money offshore, especially to places like Russia, is absolute folly.

It occurs to me that some promoters of Kyoto emissions controls/trading should be careful what they wish for. My local Victoria news rag, for example, routinely champions every anti-poverty, homeless, food-bank, street ministry cause in the city. Bless their bleeding hearts, but at the same time they actively push global warming alarmism and Kyoto emissions limits, etc. They don't seem to realize that meeting environmentalists' Kyoto demands would require severe economic cut-backs and that the hardest hit would be the poorest and there would be many more of them.

I don't think most eco-doomsters would care much - since they believe poor people are 'happier' and environmental concerns over-ride everything else anyway. But you'd think maybe a savvy, 'caring' newspaper editor might make the connection.