truckers did a mini-blockade on the highways leading in to london, gathering all the way up to marble arch... ties in with what i have been reading recently on government's policies towards oil. here are a few controversial points:

1. european governments, with a high tax on oil, effectively reduce their countries demand for oil... all very environmental... except that this tax is exclusively on european consumers. reduced demand for oil from the europeans simply leads to cheaper oil (then it would have been) for the rest of the world. european oil consumers are thus indirectly subsidizing oil to the rest of the world, allowing them to feed the habit. not very environmental.

2. this one from the comments on MR: the US, in invading iraq, has effectively knocked out a large marginal supply of oil from the world market, and thus has done much more to raise prices on a global scale and choke off demand than any european tax could have done. so, the war cannot have been about cheap oil, and bush has done more to slow global warming than any other european leader. i find this more doubtful because oil was never really plentiful coming out of iraq anyway, due to embargoes, so the war actually adds to secured, proven reserve counts.

do incentives work? marks and sparks started charging 5p per plastic bag. i got myself a bag for life (10p) and i bring it everytime i go shopping there. of course, while queuing up i realised not so many people do that... i can understand why not many people shop from home and remember to bring their bag along. so i don't see what the charging does but allow the supermarket to cover costs on their bags. although, perhaps, targeting the marginal consumer like me helps well enough.

however, i think they're channeling all this into becoming carbon neutral , planting trees etc. so while i said all along that the costs for covering your emissions are minute and should just be tagged onto flights, etc, i begin to see using the argument above why an international protocol is needed. any tax on carbon imposed only by a certain country merely shifts demand, and does not reduce the world demand at all. however, a domestic tax would work if the proceeds go directly to offsetting emissions (then you're effectively paying for a product), but not if the government uses it as a revenue generating mechanism as it is so often tempted to do.

so, reforestation or building carbon scrubbers? i find it amusing we would find it more convenient to try to build a carbon scrubber

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They should learn from NTUC! I always bring a big bag so that I don't need plastic bags from anyone. There was this time when I told the NTUC staff that I didn't need a plastic bag as my bag was big enough. She promptly gave me a 10 cents discount as I probably saved NTUC 10 cents for not taking their bags. I think this is a better way. People may be rich enough not to feel the extra pinch of 5 cents or 10 cents for a plastic bag. But, we are motivated to search for discounts. I think in economics, there is a theory about how losses hurt more than gains. However, I think investment losses and gains may be different from consumption gains and losses. Just a thought.