I will only do this one time but I have a question. This is a piece on energy and global warming put out by the Breakthrough Institute. Putting aside whether any single point is right or wrong do you find as a whole that this analysis is coherent?
Post by anonposter on Jul 26, 2012 23:07:15 GMT 9.5
Replacing coal with methane probably makes things worse from a global warming point of view (though I still support it because of less local pollution and a lower death rate than coal). I'd say that's the main thing wrong with that analysis.
The essence of this article is that carbon pricing doesn't work but seeking alternative sources of energy with government assistance does as if carbon pricing doesn't provide public revenues to subsidize alternatives and make alternatives more competitive in the market. The false distinction offered here doesn't make a lick of sense. In Sweden particularly carbon taxes are credited with stimulating the switch over to alternatives.
Then, as you indicate, the natural gas alternative has little improved global warming value although they would suggest otherwise. They also seem to be completely oblivious to the problems with fracking.
Then they ignore the downturn in the US economy as a factor in our emissions drop, particularly considering what a high level we were starting from.
Post by anonposter on Jul 31, 2012 12:29:32 GMT 9.5
Most of Sweden's emissions reductions probably happened before the carbon tax back when they were building nuclear reactors so I don't have any trouble with saying that better technology is superior to carbon pricing (if I were running things new fossil fuel power plants would be banned and there wouldn't be any need for a carbon tax).
Of course the real problem with most such carbon prices is that they are priced so as to be cheap enough not to do much to the economy (and cap and trade is too unpredictable for economic calculations) and so they also don't end up doing much to help the environment. If they made the carbon price higher then it likely would get results (one of which would be to hurt the economy, the average person cares more about the economy than the environment).
Of course you've got to make effective alternatives legal for that to work (which isn't the case in Australia).
My understanding is that a deliberate policy of trying to get Sweden off fossil fuel goes back to 1973, involving removal of subsidies and carbon taxes. There have been add-ons since then. In addition to nuclear, two of the biggest beneficiaries have been bioenergy and wind.