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How to solve the climate crisis...

Republican95
Posts: 111
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2/3/2010 6:11:27 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
For my history class at school we had to write a paper on "global warming". Even thought I do not believe in such, I was still required to write it. I chose to write mine on the Green Paradox, which some of you might of heard of. Here is the paper, so do y'all have any feedback?

Policies of lowering carbon demand might actually aggravate climate change rather than alleviating it. Politicians are not economists, that one thing is certain. The goal of several climate change policies has been to try to cut carbon emissions by "x percent" in "x number of years". This seems to be one of the most popular approaches to reducing global warming , the other being "Cap and Trade" type policies. However, policies such as those described above might actually accelerate global warming. The answer lies in the very nature of supply and demand.
When governments come out with promises to cut carbon emissions sometime in the future, studies show that the rate of extraction of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, etc) actually increases. This is because corporations that extract fossil fuels, like Exxon Mobil, reason that due to decreased demand for fossil fuels in the future, they should increase supply (and hence demand) now to make up for a future loss of profits. While this might seem confusing to understand, it can easily be understood by analogy. If your mother tells you that you can't have any cookies after six o'clock and it is five-forty-five, what are you going to do? I, personally, would eat all the cookies I could before six. Corporations see it the same way, they might as well increase supply now so they can sell it at a profit, while demand is still high. So, paradoxically, many climate change policies actually increase carbon emissions now, thus leading to more pollution and warming.
So, what can be done? First off, the government is going to have to seriously rethink its approach to climate change, which has been relatively the same since the late ‘90s. Cap and Trade policies are one option, but many opponents claim that they stunt economic growth and lead to financial strain for the consumer. A large cap and trade policy, even though adopted throughout Europe, is not a politically viable option in the far more politically conservative United States, and attempting it at a global scale (such as through the UN) would more than likely be totally disastrous. It is even less likely to be adopted in developing countries, like China and India, as they strive to acquire wealth and power. Essentially, cap and trade is political suicide, well at least stateside; and isn't going to be adopted by power-hungry leaders in the developing world. Scratch that proposal.
Instead, I propose that the government make long-term investments into eco-friendly infrastructure and the private sector. Put our tax dollars towards something useful, such as a national rail system (this can be done by giving subsidies to businesses like Amtrak) or more money towards public transportation. Also, in the 1950's millions of government dollars were given to universities educating students for jobs related to the space travel, today's equivalent: invest in "green jobs" and offer incentives for a smart high-school student to go to college to major in "Environmental Engineering" (maybe that would include paying some of his tuition and student loans?). We also have to invest in science and research aimed at creating the energy sources of the future. However, all the action can't just come from the government, the corporations are going to have to work too. Set new standards for fuel efficiency and regulate extraction methods.
Lastly, the private sector will only do what it sees as being profitable. So, make green technologies profitable! Offer tax incentives for businesses that utilize technologies that help our environment, even those squiggly light bulbs! Not only do we need to encourage good behavior, but we need to punish corporations when they do wrong. If corporations dispose of their wastes in an irresponsible way, destroy too much of our precious forests and wetlands, or negligently dump millions of gallons of oil into the oceans: slap them with a tax hike! That should solve the problem, take away the blood of a business: money! Once business leaders see that their irresponsible environmental habits are hurting their bottom line, they'll stop. And that is how you solve the climate crisis.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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2/3/2010 6:18:40 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
To note Republican, I have no issue with what you've suggested. However, the goals set by governments are targets to bind governments - not industry. That is the main purpose of such targets. How governments go about doing this might be the exact same way you've described - it doesn't really matter, so long as the targets are met.

What you've offered is that governments essentially not say those targets, and do what they're going to do anyways. I don't see the point.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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2/3/2010 8:17:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
The only reasonable unspoken premise behind your proposal as opposed to cap and trade pretty much seems to be that conservatives are stupid, unless you are proposing they have some reason other than a smidgen of desire for a semblance of free markets to dislike cap and trade. Cap and trade would do far less harm to the market than your plan ever could, at least for the length either policy lasts, and I'm not sure which would last longer.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.