Why are these people so damn stupid?

Support for a global tax or emissions trading scheme for shipping and aviation is growing at the Copenhagen climate change talks, according to two sources close to European Union negotiators.


Either a tax or emissions trading system specifically for these industries could provide up to a quarter of this amount.

What has happened to these people that they start proposing exactly the wrong things?

We absolutely do not want emissions or tax systems specifically for any one industry. This is insane.

Start from the beginning: yes, we want to reduce emissions. We want whatever level of emissions that remain (whatever the science allows us etc etc etc) to be those emissions which add the most value to our lives…..and, if you like, the lives of those to come in the future.

Imagine, just as a thought experiment, that we value the emissions from a badly insulated house at $50 and we value the same emissions that come from shipping at $150 and from aviation at $350. Purely made up numbers you understand. If we\’re only to allow ourselves two out of the three obviously we should insulate the house and carry on shipping and flying. If we\’re only to allow ourselves one of the three then sink the ship as well.

Everyone does get this logic, yes?

Good, so how do we actually find out what value people place on emissions from certain sources? No, not what value they ought to, not what value the planners say they should (nor of course the Greens and assorted fools, who would tell us that the medieval peasant lifestyle of toiling in the fields all day will make us happier, no, really, it will!) but what do the people themselves actually value? It is their happiness, their utility, the maximisation of which is the whole point of the exercise we call an economy after all.

Why, we have one trading scheme, or one carbon tax, which covers all sectors. Thus people can make their choices of which emissions matter most (or least) to them and can switch their emissions from sector to sector.

The one thing we don\’t do is insist that any one sector must be limited to some cap or other, for this negates the very purpose of having a cap and trade system: trying to find out which emissions are most valued (plus of course the secondary effects, which emissions can be reduced at the least cost).

By all means extend the one scheme (whether tax or cap and trade) to all sectors. But do not have different schemes for different sectors which would eliminate the possibility of sectoral shifts in emissions. For sectoral shifts in emissions is one of the damn things that we\’re hoping to promote.

Couple of other minor problems here as well:

The UK Government prefers the concept of global emissions trading over taxes on aviation and shipping.

Aviation in the UK is already properly taxed via APD. So, anyone think the Chancellor is going to give up that money when this new and other system is imposed? Yes, quite.

A plan to tax bunker fuel used in shipping, which accounts for 5pc of all global carbon dioxide emissions

That number doesn\’t look right to me. Transport as a whole is only 16% or so of all emissions. Some one third of all transport emissions are from shipping? Anyone care to correct me if I call \”rubbish\” on that one?

3 thoughts on “Why are these people so damn stupid?”

  1. Brian, follower of Deornoth

    They aren’t actually interested in solving the problems they claim to be solving; they just want to get their hands on all that lovely lolly.

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