Spending Hundreds of Dollars

I’ve received several replies to the questions of whether we should spend, every year, hundreds/household each here and in the third world for climate change. Only Bob’s was for publication, and the answers are one sided.

To summarize answers not posted:

• Yes, I want to spend the money both here and in the third world, but I’ve been saving for college education (and this is a drop in the budget compared to college?)

• Yes, that price is more than reasonable, but anyone buying a gas-guzzler should pay much more and attention should be given to those unable to pay the extra cost.

• Yes, that will be much cheaper than paying for climate change (from someone in her 30’s – people who expect to live less than a decade more might not see it as cheaper).

• Yes, where do I sign up?

To answer the last question:

In order to spend hundreds of dollars more/household in the US, you need to elect legislators, or train them afterwards, who will strongly promote carbon cap and trade (explanation at end). If the cap is set low enough, coal power will be less attractive and only built with geological storage. The price of driving, flying, and possibly taking the bus will go up, along with the price of goods that travel long distances. The price of electricity will rise, especially for regions that depend on coal power and to a lesser extent electricity made from natural gas. The price of aluminum will rise.

The money raised can go to large increases for the research and development of technological reductions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, earned income credit to reduce the penalties of being poor in a changing economic climate, and even toward the substantial tax increases that will be implemented beginning January 2009. (Nothing about cap and trade precludes the government getting tax revenue from taxes on automobiles, fuels, and coal power.)

To send money to the third world, you need to elect legislators, or train them afterwards, who will raise our taxes several hundred dollars/year and then send that money to the third world, and most immediately to countries like China and India: rich enough to rapidly build up energy supplies, huge coal reserves, not rich enough to use geological sequestration with coal power. Also, you need to elect legislators, or train them afterwards, who believe in treaties, because this money will only be spent in the third world after treaties are ratified.

Americans very much (overwhelmingly?) don’t support these proposals. So let’s hear from some grumps!

If you’re interested in public transit and good city planning issues, check out Bob Seeley’s blog, Surviving the Future. Part of his focus is on the choices we make as individuals, how much we pay for our choices, both individually and in social costs.

Cap and Trade
From EPA

A cap and trade program first sets an aggressive cap, or maximum limit, on emissions. Sources covered by the program then receive authorizations to emit in the form of emissions allowances, with the total amount of allowances limited by the cap. Each source can design its own compliance strategy to meet the overall reduction requirement, including sale or purchase of allowances, installation of pollution controls, implementation of efficiency measures, among other options. Individual control requirements are not specified under a cap and trade program, but each emissions source must surrender allowances equal to its actual emissions in order to comply. Sources must also completely and accurately measure and report all emissions in a timely manner to guarantee that the overall cap is achieved.

Cap and trade programs are easier to monitor for compliance than many other programs because it only requires a meter recording emissions, and some paper pushers.

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