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Ty Mitchell
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To start off, I’d like to first appreciate the fact that this paper clearly states that both of these systems, cap and trade as well as tax, are both equally market-based. In today’s politics, everyone seems to immediately turn their head when the word “tax” is used as it is usually thought of as being non-market. I believe that this illustrates the biggest obstacle in getting some sort of carbon tax legislation passed: perception. While the author makes a very substantial argument for a tax versus cap and trade, I’m not sure it is something that is very realistic to pass. Perhaps if it were dubbed with a more dressed-up name, devoid of the words “tax” or “penalty”, then it might get some traction with the public. It would appear that a carbon tax is the most economically sensible option, but this raises another question. How will this new tax money be spent? It is hard for people to justify supporting a tax when the government is already so incredible fiscally irresponsible. Personally, if it were to come to fruition, I would like to see this extra tax money used for investment in the private sector and clean energy technology. I believe that this is the best long-term option for a full transition towards more cost-effective renewable energy.
Toggle Commented Mar 29, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
The Pacala and Socolow offer several strategies to help reduce carbon emissions going forward. The first couple of solutions they propose really do not hold a whole lot of weight in my mind. They seem to be simply restating some general solutions that have been thrown around, but lacking any sort of actual solution. I mean, obviously “improved efficiency” is a means to get to lower emissions, but we just have to sit back and wait for innovation to occur. The solution for long-term reduction in emissions lies in large scaling of proven methods of renewable energy. There’s no point in converting cars to electric power when electric power is still primarily created through coal-fired power plants. Investment in wind and solar power needs to be at the forefront. Along with new innovation and technology, scaling production of these components could reduce costs, which is currently the biggest argument against these forms of energy. My personal belief is that the United States should move more towards nuclear power. Nuclear power is actually incredibly safe relative to other power sources. The argument against nuclear power always reverts back to the idea of a meltdown or terrorist attack. Nuclear power is proven to create renewable energy, and as long as security and safety standards are met, the threat of negative consequence is minimal.
Toggle Commented Mar 15, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
While I do agree with some of the above comments that the article is a bit long-winded and repetitive, I do like the nature of not only Coase’s argument, but the entire idea that he is bringing up. In my personal experience, much of the argument for environmental protection comes from an emotional side instead of rational. Both sides never really acknowledge the benefit of the others. This has created an all or nothing/us vs. them mentality, as shown by the massive lobbies in Washington on both sides. Coase’s argument focuses primarily on finding that ideal amount of pollution. The biggest problem with his point as a whole, which he addresses, is actually valuing each unit of pollution on a macro scale. The goods being produced can be measured in dollar amounts, which makes it easier to determine exactly what the marginal cost would be for the production side. The difficulty arises with the pollution. No good way exists to measure the dollar amount of a unit of pollution, such as a ton of SO2. Ultimately, Coase doesn’t so much provide a great solution, but more discounts the Pigouvian mindset. He uses Pigou’s train example to prove that while Pigou believed he had found the answer, it was an answer to the wrong question. Unfortunately, the method Coase provides us with is nearly impossible to actually put into practice in the real world, especially when you throw politics into the mix.
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