StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

Selling The Green Economy

28 Apr 2009
Posted by Pete Davis

Yesterday, Washington Post columnist Robert J. Samuelson published a standout op-ed on the Selling of the Green Economy. Samuelson does an excellent job of puncturing the fantasy that we can costlessly shift to a green economy based in no small part on models which assume away many costs of adjustment.  I know its no fun for policymakers and taxpayers to keep their feet on the ground when collective imaginations are soaring, but we'll all be better off if we do.

Please read this and reread it.

Selling The Green Economy

I think this is well replied to by economic terms alone....

Then there is the risk....Add in that now we are at or past peak oil (circa 2005~July2008) then the future costs of adjusting to this new limited energy reality, the later we leave it, are going to be larger and compressed into a shorter time frame. This is going to be very hard on an economy already in tatters from the financial melt-down to cope. The US needs to ensure its underlying systems like electricity and in a good enough shape to blunt the worst of this. This is not an economic argument, its a management argument ie the stability of the country and safety of its population are paramount.



Global warming apologists are nothing if not incoherent - they have no answer to the question of why polluters shouldn’t pay for their own pollution. To analogize crudely, if Sen. Inhofe’s neighbor’s dog pooped on Inhofe’s lawn, he’d expect his neighbor to clean it up.

Why not price externalities, even if our mechanism to do so is imperfect? It is one thing to deny global warming as a man-made phenomenon, although the basic science behind the theory has been understood since the 19th century - it is quite another to accept the weight of the evidence and nevertheless throw up one’s hands, claiming there’s no fair way to calculate the cost of pollution.

If one accepts that carbon emissions have societal costs, it makes no sense to say that the burdens of those costs should be borne entirely by third parties, rather than the perpetrators. The only disputable issue should be the true estimate of those costs, not who should bear them. An outright carbon tax would be my preference, with the money generated used to subsidize a domestic clean grid and alternative energy. We’ve directly and indirectly subsidized oil for decades, and energy as a national security issue will come roaring back once the economy recovers - it’s time to tip the scales in the other direction.

We need massive investment in

We need massive investment in green technology. Every graduate school in the country should be funded to create a department of Energy and Environment Engineering where all the sciences merge in solving this problem. We need to have a carbon emissions tax which gets progressively larger so industry knows the timer is ticking.

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