price carbon
23 views | +0 today
Follow
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Andrew Staroscik
Scoop.it!

Nothing 'virtual' about climate impact of emails, tweets

Nothing 'virtual' about climate impact of emails, tweets | price carbon | Scoop.it
Paris (AFP) - Even as people the world over symbolically dim lights to fight global warming this Saturday, many will join email and social networ
Andrew Staroscik's insight:
Making an argument in favor of placing a price on carbon was not the purpose of this article, but the message about how many of our actions release CO2 speaks directly to the value of taxing carbon emissions. Pricing carbon is the most direct way hasten our transition away from fossil fuels. 

The amount of CO2 emitted by an energy intensive activity such as charging a phone, powering a cell tower or running a data center depends on the source of the energy. If my computer is powered by the solar panels on my roof, the carbon emitted by my email habit is less than it would be if I was drawing energy from a nearby coal-powered power station.

Of course powering a phone, computer or e-reader is one thing. Carbon emitted during the manufacturing process is another. Here too, pricing carbon would make a difference. Increasing the cost of carbon intensive energy sources would provide a direct financial incentive to manufactures (including those that make e-readers) to seek out less carbon intensive energy sources and work to alter their production process in ways that reduce carbon emissions.

Pricing carbon really is the best way to to push the global economy towards more carbon neutral activities and energy sources.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Andrew Staroscik
Scoop.it!

Use of coal to generate power rises; greenhouse gas emissions next?

Use of coal to generate power rises; greenhouse gas emissions next? | price carbon | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON — Power plants in the United States are burning coal more often to generate electricity, reversing the growing use of natural gas and threatening to increase domestic emissions of greenhouse gases after a period of decline, according to...
Andrew Staroscik's insight:

The news that coal consumption in the first quarter of 2013 was higher than the same quarter in the previous year is a poignant reminder that we can not rely on the economic downturn to fix the climate crisis.  

 

Price per unit energy is the primary driver of the fuel mix used by energy producers. As the price for natural gas increases and coal prices decrease, we will see producers switch back to coal as quickly as the moved away from it when prices favored natural gas.

 

To achieve the sustained reduction in carbon pollution needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the cost of producing energy from carbon intensive sources needs to be captured in the price. A tax or cap-and-trade system will help send the necessary price signal.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Andrew Staroscik
Scoop.it!

The fuel market effects of biofuel policies and implications for regulations based on lifecycle emissions - IOPscience

The absence of a globally-consistent and binding commitment to reducing greenhouse emissions provides a rationale for partial policies, such as renewable energy mandates, product emission standards, etc to target lifecycle emissions of the...
Andrew Staroscik's insight:

 

The most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to create "gobally-consistent and binding" regulations. In the absence of this, patchwork efforts will be tried. The problem: these efforts are much less efficient in accomplishing the goal, and due to unintended side-effects, they run the risk of increasing the emissions they aim to prevent.  

 

A recent article by Deepak Rajagopal illustrates this point by showing how the potential benefits of increased biofuel consumption is sensitive to indirect effects such as 1) changes in land use as more biofuel crops are produced and 2) the response of fossil fuel prices to increased biofuel availability.

 

If biofuels reduce demands for fossil fuels enough, fossil fuel prices may fall, resulting in incresed consumption. Any increased consumption will offset the benefits of regulations aimed at repalcing fossil fuels with biofuels.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Andrew Staroscik
Scoop.it!

Redesigning The Electricity Market For Wind And Solar

Redesigning The Electricity Market For Wind And Solar | price carbon | Scoop.it
This article first appeared on RenewEconomy
Late last year, RenewEconomy wrote an analysis entitled the energy markets are broken. We were pilloried by some for exaggeration and being overly dramatic.
Andrew Staroscik's insight:

Due to the high fixed costs of maintaining huge energy production and distribution systems, energy utilities are natural monopolies. Because we as a society see access to electricity as a public good, we regulate the industry. This is a widely accepted use of government authority. The point is, energy markets as they exist today are human constructs. We designed them to meet a public need, and we can redesign them.  

 

Current energy market structures were set up before we understood the true social and environmental costs of carbon pollution. As a result, they give a huge advantage to fossil fuels.  Now that we understand that carbon emissions are problematic, we need to incentivize movements away from fossil fuels. And, we can and should change the regulation of utilities to promote this transition. 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Andrew Staroscik
Scoop.it!

Carbon tax v cap-and-trade: which is better?

Carbon tax v cap-and-trade: which is better? | price carbon | Scoop.it
Carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes are two ways to put a price on carbon pollution, each with its own pros and cons
Andrew Staroscik's insight:

Nice summary of the difference between carbon tax and cap-and-trade. The key distinction is that a tax is biased towards price certainty while a cap-and-trade system fixes the amount of carbon dioxide emitted, but doesn't control the price of those emissions. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Andrew Staroscik
Scoop.it!

Al Gore: Let's 'put a price on carbon'

Al Gore: Let's 'put a price on carbon' | price carbon | Scoop.it
In a speech at the Social Good Summit, the former US vice president says that taxing carbon use would be an essential tool for fighting global warming and its ravaging effects. Read this article by Daniel Terdiman on CNET News.
Andrew Staroscik's insight:

It come as no surprise that former Vice President Al Gore supports a carbon tax, but it is good to hear that identifying the true cost of carbon pollution is going to be a focus of this year's (2014) climate reality program.

 

Getting people to understand that society already pays for the negative impacts of carbon consumption is a great frame for discussing the value of a carbon tax. Once we understand that society pays a price for releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, a carbon tax can no longer be seen as an unecessary added cost. Rather, it is an internalization of an existing cost.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Andrew Staroscik
Scoop.it!

The back story about “The Fatal Flaw in the Case for Keystone”

The back story about “The Fatal Flaw in the Case for Keystone” | price carbon | Scoop.it
For many months I struggled with what to think about the Keystone pipeline. On the one hand, my friends in the Administration and elsewhere argued persuasively (at least on first blush) that the oil...
Andrew Staroscik's insight:

 

The discussion of path dependencies in this essay by Jonathan Koomey is useful beyond the relatively narrow scope of his argument against the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The concept of path dependencies captures the idea that our current ability to act is limited by actions we've taken in the past. Likewise, future actions will be constrained by decisions we make now.

 

For the Keystone XL pipeline, his argument centers around the idea that rejecting the pipeline will keep more of the oil in the ground now, thus increasing the odds that more oil will remain in the ground over the long run. Of course, this assumes that we get serious about limiting carbon dioxide emissions. 

 

Beyond the discussion of the pipeline, the fact that current investments (or lack there of) constrain future actions is the foundation of an argument in favor of doing all we can to limit carbon emissions by pricing carbon, investing in renewable energy research and promoting renewable energy use. And for doing it sooner rather than later.

 

The third paragraph describing the limits of using neoclassical economic theory to describe real economies warrants close reading. An understanding of how real economies differ from the model economies used in theoretical discussions provides the bases for understudying the merits of government interventions such as pricing carbon. Unlike neoclassical economic models, real markets contain externalities. Rather than being anti-free market, pricing carbon is a legitimate response to the externalities associated with pumping large volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Andrew Staroscik
Scoop.it!

Climate Change for the GOP

Climate Change for the GOP | price carbon | Scoop.it
President Barack Obama’s climate agenda announced last week represents the latest of many Democratic party efforts to address climate change.
Andrew Staroscik's insight:

 

This is a  odd article. The author paints current efforts to limit the impacts of carbon driven climate change as "liberal alarmism", while at the same time acknowledging the validity of the concerns driving these efforts. 

 

However strange the framing, Lehrer's message to the GOP is welcome: Accept the science of climate change and get serious about addressing it with solutions consistent with their politics. 

 

The proposed solution: tax carbon. 

 

Of course, there is nothing partisan about this solution. Many on the left would support a carbon tax. The administration is not taking a regulatory approach because they believe it is better than a tax or cap-and-trade. The regulatory approach is being taken because the GOP has not accepted the reality of climate change and does not support taxing carbon emissions as a solution. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Andrew Staroscik
Scoop.it!

Uh oh: Solar panels are having more quality-control problems, and we just installed a whole bunch - Hot Air

Uh oh: Solar panels are having more quality-control problems, and we just installed a whole bunch - Hot Air | price carbon | Scoop.it
Who could've seen this coming?
Andrew Staroscik's insight:

Nice summary of current problems in the solar panel industry, but the last paragraph misses the mark.

 

 Over capacity in China is creating downward price pressure making it necessary for other producers to lower prices in order to remain competitive. Costs cutting comes at the price of quality and lower production standard are being blamed for recent solar panel failures. 

 

I sympathize with the concern expressed about rebates and subsidies creating market distortions. Recent efforts to promote renewable energy technologies are imperfect. As with all government actions, these do distort the market. But it is important to recognize that these government interventions are driven by a market failure. This market failure stems from the huge subsidy fossil fuels get by not having the environmental impact of their use captured in their price.  

 

Unlike the author of this post, the politicians and regulators who support these subsidies understand that carbon intense energy sources are bad for the environment. In the absence of the political will to address the problem more directly, an imperfect, scatter shot approach involving subsidies, tax rebated and targeted loans is better than nothing.  

 

The real subsidies in the global energy market are the free ride carbon intensive fuels get because their price does not reflect the environmental impact of their use. This is a classic externality. The more efficient, direct way to address this market failure is to impose a price on carbon.

more...
No comment yet.