As you say,
not only is it hard to judge relevant effects of emission reduction,
there are also serious problems with emission trading offsets etc
More on why Cap and Trade and energy efficiency regulations are the wrong way to deal with emissions
Emission Policy Alternatives
Introduction: The need - or not - to deal with emissions
The Overall Picture
Emission sources, land and ocean cycles, agriculture and deforestation
1. Direct Industrial Emission Regulation
Mandated reduction of CO2, monitored like other emission substances
2. Carbon Taxation
Fuel Tax -- Emission Tax
3. Emission Trading (Cap and Trade)
Basic Idea -- Offsets -- Tree Planting -- Manufacture Shift -- Fair
Trade -- Surreal Market -- Allowances: Auctions + Hand-Outs --
Allowance Trading -- Companies: Business Stability + Cost -- In
4. Contracted CO2 Reduction
Private companies compete for contracts to lower CO2 emissions
The issues are emission reduction and future energy supply.
Given the uncertainty of the effects of emission reduction on global
temperature - and given the expense of emission reduction - the key is
to engage in activites which
1. Are valuable in themselves.
2. Meet emission reduction targets with minimal business disruption and expense.
Sufficient first phase 2020/2030 emission reduction, for 2020
typically quoted at 15-20% reduction, is achieved by acting on
electricity generation (coal, gas) and transport (mainly automobiles)
alone, since these 2 sectors account for nearly 80% of CO2 emissions.
Basically, cars, planes, ships have emission taxation.
Power stations have phased-in emission limits on CO2, as with mercury
or other substances.
Such a focus on electricity and transport gives several advantages:
1. Local environmental benefit from less pollution of sulphur and all
else that's in the emissions, regardless of the less certain or
immediate global benefit from CO2 reduction.
2. Electricity supply alternatives which together with improved grid
distribution gives better competition and keeps down electricity bills
3. Transport alternatives (using electricity, hydrogen and other
energy sources), which give variety of choice and competition
advantages for consumers, additionally reducing the dependency on oil
4. No trade problems: Unlike Cap and Trade, which involves cement,
steel and other industries having to face imports from unregulated
countries, the suggested electricity and transport changes are not
just more limited, but also largely local.
5. Less bloated bills - a clearer focus for political discussion and agreement
In 2020 (and again 2030), from then available evidence, either
1. There is increasing consensus that reduction attempts have no
value: In that case little has been lost, since the described changes
in electricity and transport industry carry their own benefit
2. Consensus remains that CO2 emission reduction should continue, in
which case America is on track, and may continue with more specific
emission reduction efforts towards 2050 that extend electricity and
transport measures and can involve other industries, if necessary.
Funding and Impact
Equity and long term loan finance can be used: Long term industrial
loans from financial institutions, particularly if federal/state
guaranteed, give low yearly interest repayments and lessen the effect
on electricity bills or transport cost.
The impact on the businesses is further lessened by the stability and
predictability surrounding the funding.
Since only electricity and transport are involved, other business
continues as usual and consumers and society in general are spared
expense and disruption
- also from not having energy efficiency regulations
Energy requiring products often have
as well as lower cost and, under some conditions, greater overall money savings.
with examples of cars, buildings, dishwashers etc
as well as light bulbs
Even if felt necessary to target such products,
then energy efficiency taxation makes more sense,
keeping consumer choice,
while giving tax income for home insulation schemes, renewable projects etc
- and also lowering overall energy use and emissions more than
remaining product use raises them.
Sales tax on efficient products can simultaneously be lowered, making
them cheaper than today
Energy efficiency taxation on non-emitting (eg electrical) consumer products remains unjustified for similar reasons to restrictive bans on them, but is better for all concerned than such bans.