16 Jun 2014

Two Posts on Climate Change Policies

Climate Change, Shameless Self-Promotion 1 Comment

My latest two points at IER concern climate change…

==> In this one, I use Paul Krugman as a springboard to explain why conservatives/libertarians should never agree to a “market-based” carbon tax deal.

==> In today’s post, I walk through the EPA’s own cost/benefit analysis of its proposed power plant regulations. An excerpt:

If she wanted to claim something congruent with her agency’s own published materials, [EPA Administrator Gina] McCarthy could have said, “My fellow Americans: These proposed rules on power plants would impose net harms on this generation of Americans, and would impose net harms on our kids, in order to confer net benefits on non-Americans. Also, according to computer simulations, it is possible that by hurting ourselves and our kids, these power plant regulations will confer net benefits on Americans who will be born a few decades from now, thereby allowing them to fly around in their hover cars in air that is imperceptibly cooler than it otherwise would be.” Yet this formulation doesn’t have quite the same ring as “the sake of our kids’ future,” does it?

One Response to “Two Posts on Climate Change Policies”

  1. Harold says:

    “a fuel economy standard is shown to be at least six to fourteen times less cost effective than a price instrument (fuel tax) when targeting an identical reduction in cumulative gasoline use.” But possibly six to fourteen times less costly in votes? Any tax increase is going to meet with howls of protest, an obscure alteration of car manufacturing standards much less so.

    It seems from an economic perspective, you agree that IF we were going to do something, a tax would be the best option. Is this correct? It then seems a little perverse to argue that we should not call for a tax instead of less efficient options. If the case for a tax had been made earlier, maybe CAFE would never have been introduced, and we could have achieved the same CO2 savings at less cost. Even if these standards are unlikely to be repealed, any future savings in emissions will be achieved at less cost through a tax rather than through similar new standards.

    On the other post you do have a point. It seems unlikely to me that a case could ever be made on savings between now and 2030, since most of the costs will occur after this time, and as you have pointed out, there is some chance of a net benefit over this period.

    This does not mean that we should do nothing, just that the arguments should be conducted with full information – on both sides.

    You have again highlighted the observation that numbers of Atlantic basin hurricanes has not increased, despite this being entirely consistent with IPCC predictions that storm damage is likely to increase. McCarthy selectively quotes IPCC to give a false impression of the certainty of the risks. You selectively quote IPCC to give a false impression of the certainty of the risks. Lets have more honesty all round so we can have a proper debate.

Leave a Reply