Wednesday, October 31, 2007

$1 Trillion for 0.13 degrees

The link to the article:,06212.cfm
This article is a great commentary about the Low Carbon Economy Act of 2007 introduced by Senators Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. and Arlen Specter R-Pa and the big mistake it would be to enact it. To sum up the article; Steven J. Milloy (Author) said the bill would use a “cap and trade” method of reducing carbon emissions. So a limit would be set, arbitrarily set by the government of course, then sell permits to that amount of carbon emission and allow the permits to be traded. Milloy goes on to address what the EPA’s estimates of future carbon emission would be in 2095 with the LCEA implemented. There would be a 23 parts per million reduction from the non LECA world from 718 ppm to 695 ppm. For reference the current level of carbon is 380ppm. Milloy goes on to say that would be at best a reduction of 0.13 degrees from the non action scenario of a change in average temperature of 1.2 degrees. Milloy contends that the $1 trillion dollars required by this bill in the first 10 years and the possible many more trillions required in the future are not worth the reduction in average global temperature increase from 1.2 degrees to 1.07 degrees. I completely agree with this, $1 trillion dollars in more taxes to the American people is way too big of a speculative preventative measure.
Although I agree with his argument, I believe he left out another very important part to his argument. Liberty, what Milloy argues here is a good argument if Liberty is not considered. What I mean is this argument works good if the government owns the world and air. Global warming is a global issue not just an American issue. Where does the government get off in forcing me and others to pay for a global issue when the other people in the world are doing the same exact “damage” and are not paying? When the government sets an arbitrary level of carbon emissions, it is forcing me to consume at some level that I might not find acceptable for my situation when it doesn’t have the property right over the object that I am allegedly damaging in the first place. Having tradable carbon emission permits may be an efficient way of lowering the carbon emissions if that is the main intent, because people could choose the most effective profit maximization for the amount of carbon that is regulated. But, the path to efficiency may destroy liberty in the process. I say spend those trillion dollars to find better ways of enforcing or crating property rights then let the markets truly work. This way we will have an efficient level of carbon emissions and liberty will not be destroyed. That’s my opinion because I value liberty more than efficiency and believe we could achieve both at the same time, which would also be efficient.

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