BUT IF WE STOP CHINA WILL GET ALL THOSE ASIAN/AFRICAN MARKETS SAY THE US SOCIOPATHS.
If we stop and get out of Asian markets maybe China will not feel the need to become empire-building as the US. The social democratic solution is the Republican conservative solution-----break down corporate monopolies, get Wall Street and the FED out of our national economy, rebuild REAL free-market competition by rebuilding our local economies with small business manufacturing AND RAISE THE INCOME OF WORKERS AND PROTECT THEIR WEALTH ACCUMULATION. We must return to the US economy being fueled by US citizens earning enough to consume and continue to promote living simply.
IT DOES NOT MATTER IF CHINA OR ANY OTHER NATION GETS OVERSEAS MARKET-SHARE----RIGHT NOW THE US HAS ALL THE ENERGY RESOURCES, THE MILITARY ABILITY TO PROTECT, AND THE LAND TO ALLOW OUR CITIZEN POPULATION TO GROW.
'Given that access to clean water is among the most basic human needs, shouldn’t we think twice before selling it off for a short-term financial fix'?
Of course, CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA WALL STREET POLS ARE PRIVATIZING OUR WATER SUPPLY AS FAST AS THEY CAN THESE FEW DECADES---MOVING FORWARD TO GLOBAL CORPORATE CONTROL OF ALL US PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS. Baltimore is the worst-----with only establishment candidates ready to do the same allowed opportunity to participate in free and fair elections because major election venues in media and 501 K are allowed to break Federal election laws.
What is the Benefit of Privatizing Water?
by Lakis Polycarpou|September 2, 2010
A recent Wall Street Journal article reports on what seems to be an accelerating trend: cities privatizing their water supplies. According to the article, the Indianapolis city-county council voted last month to sell its water and sewer utilities to a charitable trust; San Jose and Pittsburgh are considering selling their water systems as well, while Sacramento is now allowing Nestle, SA to bottle and sell “excess” tap water.
Privatization: Half-full or half-empty?
Worldwide, private ownership of water utilities has been growing for a number of years. According to a 2004 editorial by Gary H. Wolff in the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management the number of people served by private water companies worldwide grew from 51 million in 1990 to nearly 300 million in 2002.
The reason for the most recent uptick is trend financial: in the current economic climate, municipalities across the country are strapped for cash and will, it seems, take any measure to shore up finances.
But is privatizing water good for the public?
Wolff takes a balanced view of what he calls the “Gordian Knot” of the public/private water debate, suggesting, “we do not need to decide if private or public ‘players’ are superior, in the abstract. We need to implement and enforce the ‘rules of the game’ under which private or public utilities or operators are efficient and responsive to social needs and desires.”
Wolff further points out that worldwide, the greatest water problems occur in places where the government is too weak to either provide adequate services or to regulate private companies—no doubt true.
But leaving aside the very real problems of water access, quality and accessibility that must be addressed in the developing world, what is the case for private water ownership in a place like the United States?
Chicago Water Tower. Source: Melissa Gasser on Wikimedia
Privatization advocates point out that private water companies must still comply with local and federal regulations on water safety, and argue that privatizing water saves the consumer money.
However, when the non-profit water advocacy group Food and Water Watch looked at average water rates charged by utilities in California, Illinois, Wisconsin, and New York, it found that private utilities charged consumers “significantly higher water rates” than public ones did—as much as 50 percent more.
The group listed several reasons that private companies charge more for water. First, corporate utilities are required to provide returns to shareholders, not the community. While regulations in theory limit profit margins to approximately 10 percent, companies can get around this requirement by leveraging their assets.
“In other words, instead of using money they had borrowed for needed improvements to water operations and infrastructure, the companies invest in side businesses or other activities that diversify their operations to increase profits.”
In addition, Food and Water Watch says, financing is also more expensive for private companies, which are not eligible for tax-free bonds, and private water companies are usually less efficient at water delivery. And because there is no effective competition to provide water in a given area (private water utilities are essentially local monopolies) there is no market incentive to cut costs.
According to the Wall Street Journal article, Atlanta privatized its water service in the late 1990s, but had to retake control four years later because of poor water quality and cost overruns. And there was a public uproar in Illinois last year when the largest private water company, Illinois American Water Co., requested a 30 percent rate increase, which it said was needed for infrastructure improvements.
Given that access to clean water is among the most basic human needs, shouldn’t we think twice before selling it off for a short-term financial fix?
When global organizations and NGOs POSING PROGRESSIVE in their advocacy for environmental issues WE THE PEOPLE must understand this issue. The earth has always had a natural carbon cycle that changes naturally as does world climate. The problems of global warming by industrial revolution is that this natural carbon cycle has now been thrown out of control. Plants and animals die and their bodies decay to produce carbon. From the ages of dinosaurs and prehistoric coverage of earth with forests there are tons and tons of carbon decay underground. Left alone it stays contained from entering our atmospheric carbon cycle with gradual releases as ICE AGES et al change land mass.
The actions of mining and drilling for energy sources has for a century or two disturbed that contained carbon so much that the levels in our atmosphere is changing climate rapidly.
Another problem comes from the MCDONALD'S affect where meat sold cheaply globally creates huge industrial animal husbandry. The US has deliberately exported the eating of meat to cultures living healthy lives with diets with less meat. Global pols and corporations think it is FUNNY----that Italy, with the best of health outcomes because of diet is now being filled with GLOBAL MCDONALD'S. It is cattle and other domesticated animals that release more and more carbon into the air.
America expands GLOBAL BIG AG AND GLOBAL BIG MEAT-----it expands fracking and oil drilling lifting barriers around North America---it expands the clearing of forested land for development----and that as a whole created global warming as a crisis.
So, when global pols tell us these SUSTAINABILITY policies geared at securing what global corporations need to maintain and maximize profits----IT IS THE OPPOSITE OF ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING TO SLOW GLOBAL WARMING.
What are the main man-made greenhouse gases?
The strength of the Earth's greenhouse effect is determined by the concentration in the atmosphere of a handful of greenhouse gases
Monday 21 February 2011 08.30 EST Last modified on Thursday 23 June 2011 05.05 EDT
The strength of the Earth's greenhouse effect is determined by the concentration in the atmosphere of a handful of greenhouse gases. The one that causes the most warming overall is water vapour – though human activity affects its level in the atmosphere indirectly rather than directly.
The greenhouse gases that humans do emit directly in significant quantities are:
• Carbon dioxide (CO2). Accounts for around three-quarters of the warming impact of current human greenhouse-gas emissions. The key source of CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, though deforestation is also a very significant contributor.
• Methane (CH4). Accounts for around 14% of the impact of current human greenhouse-gas emissions. Key sources include agriculture (especially livestock and rice fields), fossil fuel extraction and the decay of organic waste in landfill sites. Methane doesn't persist in the atmosphere as long as CO2, though its warming effect is much more potent for each gram of gas released.
• Nitrous oxide (N2O). Accounts for around 8% of the warming impact of current human greenhouse-gas emissions. Key sources include agriculture (especially nitrogen-fertilised soils and livestock waste) and industrial processes. Nitrous oxide is even more potent per gram than methane.
• Fluorinated gases ("F gases").
Account for around 1% of the warming impact of current human greenhouse-gas emissions. Key sources are industrial processes. F-gases are even more potent per gram than nitrous oxide.
Human activity also changes the planet's temperature in other ways. For example, vapour trails from planes, soot from fires and and tropospheric ozone created indirectly by local pollution all tend to increase warming. On the other hand, aerosol particles produced by some vehicles and industrial processes tend to bounce sunlight away from the earth, temporarily counteracting some of the warming caused by man-made greenhouse gases.
When we listen to global NGOs and global pols speak of climate change policy they have no intention of reversing this----they are working to install protections for the 1% and their 2% and see any harm to humanity as population control. THE 5% TO THE 1% DO NOT CARE WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE FOR TH 99% ----THINK ROBOTICS AND ECO-BUBBLES. One sees lots of designs for eco-bubble cities with of course the luxury eco-bubble for the 1% and their 2% with another eco-bubble towers for food for these same groups. THAT IS THEIR PLAN B.
WE THE PEOPLE of course want PLAN A-----to slow and stop the pace of climate change and WE CAN DO THIS-----if we stop allowing Wall Street global pols take elections. If all International Economic Zone expansions keep happening----if fracking the world ----oil drilling-----rare earth mining-----melting of perma-frost holding huge methane and carbon deposits are not captured-----then we go to the maximum of 5% Celsius rise in global temperature. It will come as quickly as 50 years. That is our children and grandchildren's future.
As this article shows---the race is securing land mass at the top and bottom of the earth----this means the Siberian and Scandinavian land masses and our upper Canadian/Alaskan land mass will become that tolerable zone and know what?
THAT WILL BE THE LAND OF THE 1% AND 2%----DAVOS SWITZERLAND MOVES TO ALASKAN ESKIMO COUNTRY.
What the 99% of citizens need to understand-----these 1% Wall Street global pols are deliberately killing the land regions we will need to occupy and attain natural resources----THEY ARE IMPLODING those areas with global market industrial economies driven by growing world consumption. They may be killing American ability to consume----that's good for global warming they say----but the consumption of materials needed for global development replaces that lowered consumption by Americans.
This is why when I watch Baltimore's labor and justice organizations and leaders still stuck on protesting things like TIF or jobs and not educating and leading huge citywide protests against the MASTER PLAN here in Baltimore-----WE SAY WAKE UP!
'Sutter: Moving up the degree ladder, you describe a 6-degree world as a "sixth circle of hell." What do you mean by that -- and can you describe some of what we know about that world'?
On 6 degrees of climate change
By John D. Sutter, CNN
Updated 9:18 AM ET, Fri May 22, 2015
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
Pollen allergies – Are you sneezing more often these days? Climate change may be to blame for that, too. Recent studies show that rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels promote the growth of weedy plant species that produce allergenic pollen. The worst place in the United States for spring allergies in 2014, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America? Louisville, Kentucky.
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
Deforestation – Climate change has not been kind to the world's forests. Invasive species such as the bark beetle, which thrive in warmer temperatures, have attacked trees across the North American west, from Mexico to the Yukon. University of Colorado researchers have found that some populations of mountain pine beetles now produce two generations per year, dramatically boosting the bugs' threat to lodgepole and ponderosa pines. In this 2009 photo, dead spruces of the Yukon's Alsek River valley attest to the devastation wrought by the beetles.
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
Mountain glaciers – The snows capping majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, once inspired Ernest Hemingway. Now they're in danger of melting away altogether. Studies suggest that if the mountain's snowcap continues to evaporate at its current rate, it could be gone in 15 years. Here, a Kilimanjaro glacier is viewed from Uhuru Peak in December 2010.
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
Endangered species – Polar bears may be the poster child for climate change's effect on animals. But scientists say climate change is wreaking havoc on many other species -- including birds and reptiles -- that are sensitive to fluctuations in temperatures. One, this golden toad of Costa Rica and other Central American countries, has already gone extinct.
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
Animal migration – It's not your imagination: Some animals -- mostly birds -- are migrating earlier and earlier every year because of warming global temperatures. Scholars from the University of East Anglia found that Icelandic black-tailed godwits have advanced their migration by two weeks over the past two decades. Researchers also have found that many species are migrating to higher elevations as temperatures climb.
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
Extreme weather – The planet could see as many as 20 more hurricanes and tropical storms each year by the end of the century because of climate change, according to a 2013 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This image shows Superstorm Sandy bearing down on the New Jersey coast in 2012.
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
Melting polar ice caps – The consequences of climate change go far beyond warming temperatures, which scientists say are melting the polar ice caps and raising sea levels. Click through the gallery for a look at 10 other key effects of climate change, some of which may surprise you.
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
Drought – In the coming decades climate change will unleash megadroughts lasting 10 years or more, according to a new report by scholars at Cornell University, the University of Arizona and the U.S. Geological Survey. We're seeing hints of this already in many arid parts of the world and even in California, which has been rationing water amid record drought. In this 2012 photo, a man places his hand on parched soil in the Greater Upper Nile region of northeastern South Sudan.
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
Wildfires – There's not a direct link between climate change and wildfires, exactly. But many scientists believe the increase in wildfires in the Western United States is partly the result of tinder-dry forests parched by warming temperatures. This photo shows a wildfire as it approaches the shore of Bass Lake, California, in mid-September.
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
Coral reefs – Scientists say the oceans' temperatures have risen by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last century. It doesn't sound like much, but it's been enough to affect the fragile ecosystems of coral reefs, which have been bleaching and dying off in recent decades. This photo shows dead coral off the coast of St. Martin's Island in Bangladesh.
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
Food prices – A U.N. panel found in March that climate change -- mostly drought -- is already affecting the global agricultural supply and will likely drive up food prices. Here, in 2010, workers on combines harvest soybeans in northern Brazil. Global food experts have warned that climate change could double grain prices by 2050.
Photos: 11 ways climate change affects the world
CNN columnist John D. Sutter is spending the rest of the year reporting on a tiny number -- 2 degrees -- that may have a huge effect on the future of the planet. He'd like your help. Subscribe to the "2 degrees" newsletter or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can shape his coverage.
(CNN)Climate change is all about degrees.
Six degrees Celsius of warming may not sound like much -- probably because "temperatures can swing by 6 degrees within an hour if a warm front passes, and it doesn't mean the end of the world," said Mark Lynas, author of a book called "Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet."
But if we raise global average surface temperatures by just 6 degrees above pre-industrial levels, Lynas told me, we'll create "a scenario which is so extreme it's almost unimaginable.""Most of the planetary surface would be functionally uninhabitable," he said. "Agriculture would cease to exist everywhere, apart for the polar and sub-polar regions, and perhaps the mid-latitudes for extremely heat-tolerant crops. It's difficult to see how crops could be grown elsewhere. There's a certain level above which plants just can't survive.
As a social capitalist I too believe we can reverse this race towards 5% Celsius increases in temperature but my approaches are again different than PRAGMATIC ECONOMISTS.
Global warming is racing forward because 30 years ago when social democrats and environmentalists were shouting STOP GLOBAL INDUSTRIALIZATION----national labor unions and national justice organization leaders were being installed to push CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA. When a labor union backs these Wall Street candidates ---this comes with it. It is not about JOBS, JOBS, JOBS anyway we can get them-----for justice----it is not about compromising all other issues to keep police brutality at bay or seeking to get a small percentage of housing and temporary employment needs.
IF SOMEONE SAYS I HAVE A PRAGMATIC APPROACH----that means they do not intend to stop and reverse these global corporate structures -----they see constant new scientific research as the answer and know what? As a scientist I know we cannot beat this with the BEST OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD researching this stuff. They will only focus on how to make like better for the 1% and their 2% when these conditions worsen.
CAP AND TRADE IS SIMPLY ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING----WE DO NOT HAVE POLS IN GOVERNMENT TO OUTRIGHT REGULATE INDUSTRY----LET GLOBAL CORPORATIONS AND THE RICH USE THE STOCK MARKET TO DO THIS.
The UK was one of the earliest to install cap and trade a few decades ago------guess what? It is full of fraud, corruption, nepotism------and doing nothing for climate change.
WE MUST CONTAIN THESE GLOBAL MARKET STRUCTURES----JUST ENFORCE ANTI-TRUST/MONOPOLY LAWS RIGHT THERE IN THE US CONSTITUTION---JUST REINSTATE US RULE OF LAW AND BRING BACK TENS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CORPORATE AND WALL STREET FRAUDS OVER THESE FEW DECADES----AND VOILA---we have a national economy full of local small businesses competing with regional businesses for market-share with NO WALL STREET financial instruments in our economy.
'We can turn this around -- this and other problems as well, if we have a more pragmatic approach to politics, economist -- and especially technology. We need to have a price on carbon, so that emitting carbon dioxide isn't cheaper than other energy sources. We need to invest heavily in research and development in zero-carbon sources, including next-generation nuclear renewable energies, especially solar'.
Putting a price on carbon is a fine idea. It's not the end-all be-all.
Three reasons to temper your enthusiasm.
Updated by David Roberts on April 22, 2016, 8:30 a.m. ET
A carbon tax is not this. (Shutterstock)
What is the most important policy tool for fighting climate change? Ask just about any economist and the answer will be the same: a price on carbon emissions.
Not only is there a robust consensus among economists, but they have been remarkably successful in spreading the gospel to the wider world as well. Climate activists, wonks, funders, politicians, progressives, and even conservatives (the few who take climate seriously) all sing from the same hymnal. It has become conventional wisdom that a price on carbon is the sine qua non of serious climate policy.
But it is worth keeping carbon pricing in perspective. It has become invested with such symbolic significance that it is inspiring some unhelpful purism on policy and magical thinking on politics.
Slowing climate change will require a suite of policies, regulatory reforms, and investments. Carbon pricing will be an important part of that portfolio. But only a part. It is not the only legitimate climate policy, the one true sign of seriousness on global warming, or a substitute for the difficult and painstaking political work that will be required to transition to a sustainable energy system.
I have no interest in a carbon-pricing backlash. But maybe a sidelash — a reality check.
This post will be a two-parter. Tomorrow I'm going to get into politics, how it shapes carbon taxes, and what's to be done with the revenue.
But first, I want to take a step back. In this post, I'll have a quick look at why carbon pricing has become so central to climate economics and raise some questions about its primacy in policy and political circles.
First, a word on cap-and-trade versus carbon tax
The most straightforward form of carbon pricing is a carbon tax, which, in its simplest version, imposes a fee on every ton of carbon that enters the economy ("upstream," on fossil fuel producers and importers, as opposed to "downstream," on fossil fuel consumers).
But taxes are not the only "price-based instrument" used to control pollution. In the 1980s and '90s, a new policy called cap-and-trade started to catch on. Rather than imposing a fee, it caps the total amount of a pollutant and issues tradable permits under that (declining) cap. The market for those permits sets the price of the pollutant.
Cap-and-trade was successfully used by the Environmental Protection Agency to control, for example, the pollutants that cause acid rain. A national carbon cap-and-trade bill failed in 2010, but the policy has taken hold regionally in the Northeast, California, and numerous other places around the world.
Depending on how they are structured, the economic impacts of the two policies are equivalent. They raise the price of fossil fuels. There are interesting debates to be had about their relative merits, but that's for another post.
For now, I'm mostly going to focus on a carbon tax, because a) many of the same considerations apply to both policies; b) cap-and-trade has fallen out of favor in the US, both among conservatives, who are convinced it's secretly a tax, and liberals, who are angry it isn't a tax; and c) it's just simpler.
Why economists love carbon taxes
Ever since the early 20th century, mainstream economists have had a favorite policy for dealing with pollution. It's called a Pigouvian tax, after British economist Arthur Pigou.
The idea is simple. Sometimes markets produce negative impacts that are not accounted for in market prices. The market participants who produce the impacts do not pay for them; society absorbs the costs. (Air pollution is a good example.) These "externalities," costs external to markets, are considered a form of market failure.
The most efficient remedy for this kind of failure is to price the externality in to the market via a Pigouvian tax. A tax raises the prices of polluting products to reflect their true costs. Markets respond accordingly.
Theoretically, if the tax is set at the correct social cost of the externality, the market becomes more efficient, with better information; it inexorably finds the "right" level of pollution, based on full costs and benefits. In this way, markets, not meddling regulators, will find the economically optimal way to address pollution.
When it comes to climate change, economists have turned en masse to this familiar tool; thus the carbon tax. If carbon emissions are causing damage, the solution is to tax them at the level of that damage. The market will do the rest.
This has an undeniable logic, and has captured the wonk imagination. Many environmentalists are thrilled at the idea of a green policy that passes muster with real economists and even some conservatives.
And for various reasons (some legitimate, some deeply muddled), a carbon tax has come to be seen by the green left as a simpler, more virtuous, more authentic alternative to cap-and-trade.
But four things about the case for carbon taxes give me pause.
1) Skepticism toward activist government is baked in the cake
In the early 1990s, Bill Clinton declared that "the era of big government is over." The idea was that Democrats had abandoned their vestigial socialist tendencies, their knee-jerk preference for more regulations and more spending, and embraced the power of markets.
They would pursue liberal goals, based on liberal values, they said, but use the power of markets to keep costs down. This was an alleged "third way" between heartless conservatism and spendthrift liberalism.
This kind of thinking is sometimes referred to as "neoliberalism," tracing back to Charles Peters's original 1983 manifesto in Washington Monthly. The term has been mangled and overused lately, to the point that it probably ought to be abandoned, but it does seem to apply here.
The broader (and especially younger) left has, of late, rejected neoliberalism with great vigor. It has seen that markets are not always great at solving social problems, that market-based policies are often a veneer for steering public money into private hands, and that markets, unrestrained by vigorous progressive governance, generate huge inequalities of wealth and opportunity. That's part of what the Sanders insurgency is about.
So the new left fixation on a carbon tax is at least facially peculiar, since, it seems to me, the policy issues from classically neoliberal instincts. It is a way of achieving a social goal (less carbon) while minimizing interference in markets.
The impetus for minimizing interference is a deep-seated belief that attempts to meddle in markets via industrial policy, "command and control" regulations, and targeted spending tend to backfire, distorting the economy and slowing growth. A (politically conservative) skepticism toward activist government is baked into the neoliberal cake.
Reinforcing that skepticism is not a wise long-term strategy for climate hawks, because I can guarantee that climate change is eventually going to require activist government. No market-based policy is going to equitably resettle the residents of Miami.
Of course, it's entirely possible to support carbon taxes without buying into the larger neoliberal worldview. And, hell, maybe some climate hawks really do have that kind of faith in markets. But I get the sense that lots of carbon tax enthusiasts, especially on the left, haven't really thought through all the implications.
2) There are no free markets
Even if you accept the premise that free, competitive markets are always or almost always better at allocating resources than legislators or regulators, it's questionable just how far that gets you on energy policy.
Carbon taxes are meant to remedy one market failure:
unpriced carbon emissions. But those familiar with US energy markets will attest that they are ridden with such failures. They bear virtually no resemblance to idealized neoclassical markets.
The US electricity sector, for instance, is a Rube Goldberg contraption of overlapping jurisdictions, regulated monopolies, and quasi-markets. Coal, oil, and gas are extracted from public land and transported over public right-of-ways, leaving behind an array of local pollutants. At every stage from extraction/production to transportation to consumption, all forms of energy are heavily regulated and dependent on public subsidies and public infrastructure.
In fact, there are so many market failures in energy, one almost wonders whether beginning with an idealized market and working backward through its "failures" is a fruitful way to approach policy thinking. Hmm.
Unpriced carbon is a market failure, if you want to look at it that way. But real-life markets, not just in energy but in transportation and agriculture, are failures all the way down — irrational behaviors, asymmetrical information, barriers to entry, monopoly control, and more. Then layer on top of that complicated regulatory systems, legacy policies and infrastructure, and the distorting influence of status quo interests, and you've got quite a mess.
One can look at the task ahead as painstakingly correcting an almost endless series of market failures. Or one can look at it as actively shaping and designing new markets to produce better social outcomes.
Either way, the "set it and forget it" schemes of hardcore tax advocates are a fantasy. It's a blunt-force tool. It will do wonders in some sectors (driving coal out of electricity) but very little in others (driving oil out of transportation). It will not do all the necessary work in any sector. Different markets are different; they have their own idiosyncrasies, their own failures.
Believing a single tool will accomplish everything requires seeing the economy as a frictionless machine, a spreadsheet, not what it is: a path-dependent accretion of past decisions and sunk costs, to be tweaked and unwound.
One other thing: The neoclassical model of a perfectly efficient economy depends on full employment, which hasn't been the case in the US for a very long time. Resources are being left slack, capital is cheap, and deficit spending is likely to boost growth. But when it comes to carbon and clean energy, many economists default to the knee-jerk stance that government spending is distortionary and only price-based instruments are legitimate.
3) Marginally reducing carbon emissions is one thing; mounting a high-speed Industrial Revolution is another
It is somewhat misleading to describe the goal of climate change mitigation as "reducing carbon emissions." Reducing carbon emissions is easy; lots of policies can do that.
We need to reduce emissions a lot — to zero, or close to it — as fast as possible. That's going to require more than changes at the margins. It's going to require phasing out virtually our entire installed industrial base and replacing it with new, low-carbon technologies and practices. It's going to require an explosion of innovation and building, the likes of which hasn't been seen since the Industrial Revolution — only much, much faster, constrained by a tight carbon budget.
We know price-based policies like Pigouvian taxes (and cap-and-trade programs) can efficiently generate marginal changes. Economists don't just love them because of theory; they work, especially in bounded markets where demand is elastic or substitution is cheap. The economic literature on that score is copious.
But carbon isn't just one pollutant from one product category. It's the whole economy. The whole world economy. Can price-based policies drive economy-wide energy transitions?
History doesn't seem to offer any examples. Large-scale energy transitions of the past have generally been driven by industrial policy and technology innovation; none have been driven by increases in the prices of existing energy sources. (Vaclav Smil is the go-to scholar on this.)
In a recent critical review of the new book from economist Nicholas Stern, Alex Trembath puts it nicely:
History reveals that prices and scarcity have rarely, if ever, driven large-scale energy transitions. We transitioned away from whale oil after discovering much more abundant and useful petroleum-derived kerosene, not because we were running out of whales. Electricity and the internal combustion engine emerged after decades of technological toiling and created whole new uses for energy. War, perhaps the most state-directed of all enterprises, accelerated the diffusion of several key energy technologies, most notably the internal combustion engine, jet turbines, and nuclear reactors. Today, hydraulic fracturing in shale emerged from government-funded labs and has diffused because of its usefulness in cost-effectively accessing previously hard-to-reach natural gas deposits. This is the work that governments have done since Alexander Hamilton invented industrial policy, not as a corrective to proliferating market failures, but as foundational and continuous policy to create and shape markets themselves.
Note the difference in perspective: not gingerly correcting markets, striving to return them to their edenic state of perfect efficiency, but creating and shaping markets that work better to achieve outcomes chosen (ideally) through democratic deliberation.
It has been proactive government, developing and diffusing technologies, sculpting markets through regulations and investments, that has sparked industrial shifts in the past.
Maybe we can engineer such a transition, faster than all the previous transitions, using a price-based instrument as our primary tool. But that is a very big gamble, not something we can confidently predict based on economic theory. At the very least, it seems novel and uncertain enough that we might not want to put all our eggs in that basket.
It is entirely possible to share all the reservations I describe above and still support putting a price on carbon. (I do!) It is, after all, one way of proactively shaping markets.
But it is dangerous to believe that a carbon price, or any single market-based policy, will do the work for us, rendering other efforts superfluous or unnecessary. There's a lot of messy, frustrating work ahead, involving any number of political compromises and kludged, suboptimal policies. No way around it.
Creating a whole new world is hard. Tax or no tax, our children and their children will still be working at it. And they will need every tool they can get their hands on.
Are the American people REALLY the problem with consumption of energy and natural resources? To a degree we have allowed our lifestyle to be TOO consumption-oriented. It has been industrialization and total free market deregulation and unlimited quest for energy sources and creating export markets for those vital natural resources that drives much of climate change and global warming. These issues are the opposite of CONSERVATIVE. Republicans should be the first to shout and protect the selling of our oil, natural gas, timber, coal etc overseas rather than limit extraction to the needs of our own citizens and our future for children and grandchildren. Yet, conservative Democrats and Republicans drive total deregulation seeing only the market freedom as the place to show conservatism.
As a scientist I know that like all other journalism that was social Democratic and public interest----science research and journals are now corporate and they will reflect research as it promotes products especially those patented by their corporate university. So, we do not go to a Scientific American for public interest science research. Here we see shaming of conservatives on SMART METER home energy while most Americans do not over-consume because the price of A/C or heat has gotten too high. A/C for a global corporate campus?
TREMENDOUS WASTE OF ENERGY.
SMART METER technology is not about SUSTAINABILITY FOR WE THE PEOPLE. Forcing citizens to live under one set standard will kill democratic freedoms and liberties. We simply need to keep educating on living simply. It is conservative harvesting of our natural resources---both fuel and biomass that will reverse global warming and it is a sovereign citizen issue as well---both Republicans and Democrats would support this
Not So Conservative When It Comes to Saving Energy
Providing feedback on energy use can actually backfire with some Republicans, causing them to increase consumption
Credit: New York State Office of Temporary and Disability AssistancePolitical ideology helps determine whether homeowners respond to voluntary energy conservation programs, two University of California, Los Angeles, economists have found.
In a study published last month on the National Bureau of Economic Research website, Dora Costa and Matthew Kahn concluded that providing feedback on energy use can actually backfire with some conservatives.
Costa and Kahn merged utility data from 80,000 homes with corresponding voter registration and donation records. The economists found that a Democratic household with green bona fides -- paying for electricity from renewable sources, donating to environmental groups and living in a neighborhood of fellow liberals -- will reduce its consumption by 3 percent in response to feedback.
Meanwhile, a Republican household that doesn't adhere to environmental behaviors will actually increase its consumption by 1 percent. The households that received home energy reports reduced their consumption by about 2 percent overall, but the Republican subset of this group reduced their energy use by 0.4 percent.
About half of the homeowners in the study received home energy reports from OPOWER, a company that contracts with utilities to compare homeowners' energy use with that of neighboring homes of comparable size. Homeowners earn smiley faces if they use less energy than their neighbors. The reports also suggest efficiency improvements, such as installing solar panels or cleaning air conditioner filters.
More Republicans get 'room to improve'
Some California homeowners received bar charts showing the kilowatt-hours they used, comparing it to their most efficient neighbors and then to their average neighbors. Those who scored high received two smiley faces. Those in the medium range got one. And low-ranking energy consumers got this message in bold black letters: ROOM TO IMPROVE. But they also received some money-saving tips.
Based on their usage, a more efficient air conditioning system could cut their energy use in half. If they installed solar panels on their rooftops, the annual return could be 11 percent, probably better than the return on many conservatives' stock portfolios.
The economists speculate that some conservatives may react angrily at being told to save energy, while others may realize their energy use is lower than average and increase it to match perceived norms. Other tactics may be needed to get conservatives to conserve.
"One solution is to tailor messages to different groups," Costa said in an e-mail. "But another possibility is that at some point we may need to make the hard choices of taking costlier actions to lower electricity consumption."
Do conservatives shun voluntary restraint?
"These costly choices," she explained, "could either be raising prices, which has the advantage of not just reducing current consumption but also of making houses built in years of high energy prices more energy efficient, or of imposing stricter building codes."
Costa and Kahn also published another paper last month analyzing the reasons behind California's energy efficiency achievements in the residential sector. Since 1973, residential consumption has remained nearly flat in California, while Americans overall have increased their consumption by 50 percent.
For homes built after 1983, when energy prices have risen, improved building codes have helped to keep consumption flat. But other factors, like rising incomes, increased home sizes and migration to warmer areas, defy the results.
Political persuasion also plays a role in overall electricity consumption, the authors found. Registered Green Party members consume 9.6 percent less energy than Republicans; Democrats consume 3.9 percent less. The difference is even greater in summer months, with Greens consuming 11.1 percent less than Republicans.
"We cannot pin down why electricity consumption is lower in more liberal communities," the authors wrote. "Either liberals who choose to live in liberal communities are more liberal and practice greater voluntary restraint or social pressure in liberal communities encourages individuals to conserve on electricity consumption."
When we are listening to public policy written by global and IVY LEAGUE think tanks we are getting the same people who 30 years ago in the CLINTON/BUSH era installed all the policies creating this global warming mess filling our media and think tank voices with these claims that global warming was not real ----that policies were being put into place to mitigate environmental problems when in fact they were dismantling our EPA and FDA that would have been shouting these few decades educating WE THE PEOPLE.
WE CANNOT ALLOW THE SAME FACES TO SIMPLY CHANGE THEIR TUNES IN THIS MARCH TOWARDS MOVING FORWARD FAR-RIGHT 1% WALL STREET LIBERTARIAN MARXISM.
NAFTA was the driver of installing global International Economic Zones and neo-liberal policies in Central and South America. These are where our last forests and rain forests tied to controlling carbon release. Know what happens when the US installs a brutal, authoritarian, militaristic leader in nations like Chile, Argentina, then Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil? THEY CREATE THAT 1% AND THE 2% WORKING FOR THEM DRIVEN BY ACCUMULATING EXTREME WEALTH AND POWER. So, indeed-----this decade especially there goes our South American rain forests----central America heading for land clearing as global corporate factories and global corporate campuses are built.
Meanwhile, it is Hillary and Bill as leaders in global NGOs like United Nations PRETENDING to push policies towards controlling global warming. Who was sent as Obama's US representative for global warming at the UN recently? BALTIMORE'S RAWLINGS-BLAKE. Who represents the most International Economic Zone under Trans Pacific Trade Pact with no public interest/public health and environmentalism in sight? BALTIMORE. Rawlings-Blake was there as a US representative to global warming to use the TALKING POINTS OF GLOBAL CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY POLICY. The only goal is to hide from the 99% what these policies really have as a goal.
Our US national media made LULU and ROUSSEFF sound like REAL left-leaning social Democrats-----great for labor and justice when they were both always WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS creating that 1% and the 2% working for them. Now Brazil is working as is Peru on clearing the Amazon rainforests. This will be the one of the last eco-systems in place that ABSORBS CARBON FROM THE ENVIRONMENT to control global warming.
Brazil and the Politics of Neoliberalism: President Rousseff Declares War on the Working Class
By Prof. James Petras
Global Research, December 14, 2014
Region: Latin America & Caribbean
Theme: Global Economy
The Brazilian working class is facing the most savage assault on its living standards in over a decade. And it is not just the industrial workers who are under attack. The landless rural workers, public and private salaried employees, teachers and health professionals, the unemployed and the poor are facing massive cuts in income, jobs and welfare payments.
Whatever gains were made between 2003 – 2013 will be reversed. Brazilian workers face a ‘decade of infamy’. The Rousseff regime has embraced the politics of “savage capitalism” as personified in the appointment of two of the most extreme advocates of neo-liberal policies
The “Workers Party” and the Ascendancy of Finance Capital
In early December 2014, President Rousseff appointed Joaquin Levy as the new Finance Minister - in effect the new economic czar to run the Brazilian economy. Levy is a leading member of the Brazilian financial oligarchy. Between 2010-2014 he was president of Bradesco Asset Management, an asset arm of the giant conglomerate Bradesco, with more than $130 billion dollars under management. Since his doctoral days at the U of Chicago, Levy is a loyal follower of neo-liberal supremo Professor Milton Friedman, former economic adviser to Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet. As a former top official in the International Monetary Fund (1992 – 1999), Levy was a strong advocate of the harsh austerity programs which a decade later impoverished southern Europe and Ireland. During the Presidency of Henrique Cardoso, Levy served as a top economic strategist, directly involved in the massive privatization of lucrative public enterprises – at bargain basement prices – and the liberalization of the financial system which facilitated the illicit financial outflow of $15 billion a year. Levy’s presence as a prominent member of Brazil’s financial oligarchy and his deep, longstanding ties to international financial institutions is precisely the reason President Rousseff put him in charge of the Brazilian economy. Levy’s appointment is part and parcel of Rousseff’s embrace of a new strategy of vastly increasing the profits of foreign and domestic finance capital, in the hope of attracting large scale investments to end economic stagnation.
For President Rousseff and her mentor, ex-President Lula DaSilva, the entire economy must be directed to gaining the “confidence” of the capitalist class.
The social policies which were implemented earlier are now subject to elimination or reduction, as the new financial czar Joaquin “Jack the Ripper” Levy, moves forward to implement his “shock therapy”. Deep and comprehensive cuts in labor’s share of national income is at the top of his agenda. The objective is to concentrate wealth and capital in the upper ten percent in hopes that they will invest and increase growth.
While Levy’s appointment represents a decidedly turn to the extreme right, the economic policies and practices of the previous twelve years laid the foundations for the return of a virulent version of neo-liberal orthodoxy.
The Economic Foundations for the Return of Savage Capitations
During the electoral campaign in 2002, Lula DaSilva signed off on an economic agreement with the IMF which guaranteed a budget surplus of 3%. Lula sought to reassure bankers, international financiers and multi-nationals that Brazil would pay its creditors, increase foreign reserves for profit remittance and illicit financial flows overseas.
The Lula regime’s adoption of conservative fiscal policies, was accompanied by his austerity policies, reducing public employees’ salaries and pensions and providing only marginal increases in the minimum wage. Most of all, Lula supported all of the corrupt privatizations which took place under the preceding Cardoza regime. At the end of Lula’s first year in office, 2003, Wall Street hailed Lula as the “Man of the Year” for his “pragmatic policies” and his demobilization and de-radicalization of the major trade unions and social movements. In January 2003, President Lula Da Silva appointed Levy as Treasury Secretary, a position he held until 2006 – the most socially regressive period of the Da Silva Presidency.This period also coincided with a series of enormously lucrative multi-billion dollar corruption scandals involving dozens of top PT officials in the Lula regime receiving kickbacks from leading construction companies
Two events in the middle 2000’s allowed Da Silva to moderate his policies and introduce limited social reforms. The commodity boom – a sharp increase in the demand and prices of agro-mineral exports filled the coffers of Treasury. And increased pressure from the trade unions, rural movements and the poor for a share in the economic bonanza led to increases in social spending, wages, salaries and easy credit without affecting the wealth, property and privleges of the elite. With the economic boom, Lula could also satisfy the IMF, the financial sector and the business elite with subsidies, tax breaks, low interest loans and lucrative “overpriced” state contracts. The poor received 1% of the budget via a “family allowance” a $60 dollar a month handout and low paid labor received a higher minimum wage. The cost of social welfare was a fraction of the 40% of the budget that the banks received in payments of principle and interest payments on dubious public debt incurred by previos neo-liberal regimes.
With the end of the boom, the government of Rousseff has reverted back to Lula’s orthodox policies of 2003 – 2005 and re-appointed Levy to carry them out.
Here is the propaganda war on climate change. We know the Federal government is indeed doing research into controlling climate. We know that CA is a waterless wasteland because----of NAFTA AND GLOBAL BIG AG policies creating huge agricultural corporations growing food that was then sent overseas. It drained our aquifers and killed our stable, small farming, sustainable agriculture. So, it was very, very, very, very bad public policy in agriculture pushed by CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA. Of course these global market food exports were around decades before----they were super-sized during this period. It was that drive to create global markets that led to desert agriculture and all of the irrigation in areas never meant to be bread baskets as in our Western states. THIS IS WHAT IS CAUSING THE DROUGHTS WITH NO WATER SUPPLY. We can weather any routine climate pattern when we have aquifers and ground water reserves.
GLOBAL WARMING IS INDEED EVAPORATING MORE GROUND WATER MAKING THIS WORSE.
What the article below relates is the growing concerns over government research that will lead to selective rain production----the funding of cloud seeding for example will be driven by the rich. We know this is not a solution for the 99%----and it will be used selectively.
Meanwhile, this group GLOBALONENESS PROJECT-----with lesson plans in COMMON CORE----are teaching this is all a natural weather cycle-----not man made. THAT IS PROPAGANDA. So, who is tied to these lesson plans? Global corporate neo-liberal education tied to COMMON CORE is being installed in all International Economic Zones including our US cities deemed International Economic Zones----like Baltimore.
'Growing Number Believe California’s Drought Is A Government Conspiracy'
September 22, 2015 11:08 PM
Filed Under: california, chemtrails, geoengineering, the science is in
REDDING (CBS13) — There is a growing, underground movement of people who believe California’s drought is part of a government conspiracy instead of a naturally occurring event from a lack of rain during the last four years'.
From this lesson plan---today's NOAA has as an appointed leader someone tied to WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALISM----so the NOAA has not been public interest in its data or research. Some of people concerns in government conspiracy go too far----but that is what happens when sovereign citizens cannot access REAL information---propaganda always leads to false assumptions. The idea of controlling weather to benefit some and not others ---is real.
'Explain to students that droughts can be naturally occurring and can also be exacerbated by human activities, such as over-use of groundwater and changes in precipitation due to climate change. The current drought in California is caused largely by natural weather cycles, according to NOAA'.
When a Town Runs Dry
By Joris Debeij
When A Town Runs Dry documents life in Stratford, a small town in California's Central Valley. A farming community for over a hundred years, Stratford is suffering from a drought that is severely impacting the community, land, and residents' daily lives.
Currently in its sixth year of drought, the Central Valley is home to the country's most productive agricultural region, containing more than half of all the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States. Some farmers are selling land and cutting back on farmed acreage, while others dig deeper wells to maintain crop yields. Groundwater in the area has significantly diminished due to over-use and according to the Los Angeles Times, the water table below Stratford fell 100 feet in two years. Residents are living without running water.
This film explores the drought through the eyes of three Stratford residents—a farmer, a shopkeeper, and a high school football coach. All three men prepare for an uncertain future.
Lesson Plan Living with Less Water
The Western United States has been suffering from a drought for approximately 15 years, which has particularly impacted California's groundwater and reservoirs. Communities and farmers in California are facing a future with less water.
The Western United States has been facing a long-term, "mega-drought" for approximately 15 years. Some farmers in the California's Central Valley, the country's most productive agricultural region, have responded by selling land or cutting back on farmed acreage, while others dig deeper wells to maintain crop yields. Groundwater in the area has significantly diminished due to over-use. According to National Geographic, scientists warn that this drought will likely worsen in time, transitioning to a "35-year or longer" mega-drought impacting much of the West.*
The last mega-drought to hit the United States began in 1934 and lasted ten years. Now referred to as "the dust bowl," that drought impacted three-quarters of the Western United States. Caused by weather patterns, its impacts were exacerbated by farmers who removed the native grasses, which are known for their long and thick roots, to plant crops that were not drought resistant.* These thinly rooted crops failed with the lack of rainfall, leaving dusty fields behind. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), approximately 50,000,000 acres of land were affected by that drought. The human and socio-political impacts were significant, creating the largest migration event in U.S. history, as people fled the area. By 1940, 2.5 million people had left the plains states, 200,000 of those went to California.**
The short film, When a Town Runs Dry, by Joris Debeij, explores the current drought through the eyes of three residents—a farmer, shopkeeper, and a high school football coach—living in the small farming town of Stratford, California. All three men lament the loss of a way of life dependent on a consistent supply of water, and prepare for an uncertain future.