Big Picture Carbon Capture Carbon Commodities Carbon Rationing China Syndrome Climate Change Contraction & Convergence Cost Effective Emissions Impossible Energy Revival Growth Paradigm Low Carbon Life Nuclear Nuisance Nuclear Shambles Peak Energy Peak Oil Pet Peeves Political Nightmare Regulatory Ultimatum Renewable Resource Social Change Technological Sideshow Unutterably Useless Utter Futility Vain Hope Voluntary Behaviour Change Wind of Fortune Zero Net

The Price of Carbon

The Price of Carbon

by Jo Abbess
20 April 2010

1.   Introduction

Policy strategy for controlling risky excess atmospheric greenhouse gas (Gowdy, 2008, Sect. 4; McKibben, 2007, Ch. 1, pp. 19-20; Solomon et al., 2009; Tickell, 2008, Ch. 6, pp. 205-208) mostly derives from the notion that carbon dioxide emissions should be charged for, in order to prevent future emissions; similar to treatment for environmental pollutants (Giddens, 2009, Ch. 6, pp. 149-155; Gore, 2009, Ch. 15 “The True Cost of Carbon”; Pigou, 1932; Tickell, 2008, Ch.4, Box 4.1, pp. 112-116). Underscoring this idea is the evidence that fines, taxes and fees modify behaviour, reigning in the marginal social cost of “externalities” through financial disincentive (Baumol, 1972; Sandmo, 2009; Tol, 2008). However this approach may not enable the high-value, long-term investment required for decarbonisation, which needs adjustments to the economy at scale (CAT, 2010; Hepburn and Stern, 2008, pp. 39-40, Sect. (ii) “The Consequences of Non-marginality”; MacKay, 2008, Ch. 19; Tickell, 2008, Ch. 2, pp. 40-41).

Carbon Commodities Climate Change

Money Can’t Buy You Climate

Here’s a simple thought experiment.

If you can see a flaw in it, you’re welcome to contradict me.

Contraction & Convergence Cost Effective

Money Can’t Buy You Carbon Control

In all the flurry of debate about how to control Carbon Emissions, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the goal : Carbon Control.

If we are to “keep our eyes on the prize”, we really need to check how we’re doing and where we are from time to time.

It’s no good submitting to the Uncertainty Principle.

If controlling Carbon is absolutely essential, we can’t put our efforts into policies that have fuzzy outcomes.