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Hines Liles
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It seems as if this paper did a good job of both the pros and cons of either a tax or a cap and trade system. It touches on so many different aspects that could be used as arguments against a GHG tax. For example, the paper points out that lower income households will be hurt most by a tax because the proportion of income that those households spend on energy is higher a wealthier household. But, of course solutions are offered by “recycling” the tax and using it to lower income tax. Other arguments against include the fact that it is difficult to predict and measure abatement costs from a tax or the idea of the tax being undermined by “fiscal cushioning.” But, of course it offers solutions. I liked that it took data from studies to show us real numbers, or costs. Through this I was able to do rough calculations of costs for certain plants at certain tax levels. For example Marshall Steam Station, a coal energy plant on Lake Norman in North Carolina, emits around 11 million tons of CO2 per year. At a $10 per ton tax rate we would see $1,100,000 + costs per year for that plant alone. Marshall is a large plant that could support that, it has a capacity of 2,090. Megawatts. In the past decade Duke Energy has retired several smaller and outdated plants that only had the capacity of 200-400 Mw. It makes me wonder how a tax would effect the smaller plants that might be less efficient. Especially if the tax were to be focused “upstream”. It seems as if they’d be forced to look for alternative sources.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
The Harvard Magazine article on dealing with carbon introduced me to an interesting technology- the IGCC plants. I liked that this plant worked with the coal, the resource that we seem to love so much for energy production. But I also found the article a little contradicting. It talked about scale- being able to make these cleaner technologies on a large scale. But the IGCC plant seems difficult to make on a large scale. This article was written in 2006, and since then we have made some but not much progress with IGCC plants in the U.S. Some investors have been scared away due to proposals that full risk disclosure be required for plants. Another example, in Nevada senator Harry Reid opposes investing in IGCC plants because they still emit carbon (forgetting that they can capture and store carbon.) He believes that the money can be spent investing in other technologies, solar, wind, and geothermal. He kind of has a point. Extreme amounts of money will be spent either way to “scale” these technologies, why not spend it on ones that don’t emit carbon at all? Even though the article does point out that wind can’t be scaled as a huge replacement there are other ways to spend the money. I also have to mention that there is risk when you stuff carbon into an old oil well or into the ocean floor. Things can go wrong and carbon can leak back out.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
The authors of this article are clear to point out that there is a decelerating increase in responses to the need for biodiversity. This is despite an increased awareness of the need for biodiversity protection and increased pressure to help the issue. This just reinforces that the CBD agreement isn’t enough of a response to the issue and that more needs to be done. But this article is very critical of the lack of effort and seems to point at who should be tasked with taking on biodiversity. The authors point out that economists should work with conservationists and policy makers to develop strategies that increase and protect biologically diverse habitats. I agree that these areas of expertise should work together to improve the situation, but it still seems as if not enough would be done. This is a difficult situation that needs to be dealt with in a logical manner that involves all interests. As the article points out this is in fact a public matter, but combining it with the private sector could be a benefit. However, the article also points out that there are few incentives or opportunities for the private sector (big and small) to change their priorities in relation to biodiversity. Which is why it needs to be viewed has an international public good, that all of the world can benefit from. Although more action seems to take place when it is viewed as a regional public good.
Toggle Commented Mar 2, 2016 on ECON 255 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Dams- which ones are worth while, which ones aren't. How to determine this and how to weigh them against fisheries, habitat loss, etc.
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2016 on ECON 255 and 102 at Jolly Green General
I found this study to be interesting because it placed a value on certain aspects of a form of ecotourism. My immediate it thought is that this kind of study can be used to protect the resources that are involved. The study was able to put a value on 5 different parts of a diver’s experience. I imagine that that value could be used to find ways to improve the dive. We see this all the time. For example, I am a duck hunter. Every year I am buy a duck stamp in order to legally hunt. That the money from that duck stamp is then put towards conservation. Having to pay that extra $15 (on top of the hunting license) did not deter me from hunting. Other examples are park entrance fees. Likewise, the data compiled in this study shows the value that people are already willing to pay for an enjoyable diving experience. What extra value would be paid to preserve those ecotourism resources?
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Feb 3, 2016