Cap-and-Trade: Like Medieval Indulgences?

Is trading pollution permits  a way to make up for the sin of pollution?

One of the proposed techniques for reducing carbon dioxide emissions is cap-and-trade. Companies would be allowed to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide. If they reduced their emissions further than that, they could sell the excess “right to emit” to companies that found it very costly to do so.

Cap-and-trade is a form of tradable permits. And, says Timothy Taylor, trading permits have revolutionized pollution control. But are they moral?

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Child Labor: Democrats’ Hypocrisy?

Image by Clodoaldo Massagli from Pixabay

Increasing production of electric vehicles is boosting demand for the cobalt used in batteries. Forty thousand children mine cobalt for up to 12 hours a day under dangerous conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to the United Nations.

A Republican congressman, Pete Stauber of Minnesota, proposed an amendment to the giant infrastructure bill passed by the House last week that would have reined in purchases of such cobalt. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out on July 1, only Democrats opposed it in committee.  Wrote the Journal in its editorial, “The Green New Deal in Action”:

“The amendment, which the Transportation Committee approved last week 43-19, would have required the Commerce Secretary to certify that federally funded electric buses and charging stations do not use minerals mined or processed with child labor. All 19 opponents were Democrats.” Continue reading “Child Labor: Democrats’ Hypocrisy?”

Democrats’ Plan Would Kill Endangered Birds

Whooping crane photo by Amerlangeloni from Pixabay.

The Democrats recently announced a major climate change plan to be adopted if they win Congress in the fall. They want  “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2050, which would require heavy investment in renewable energy.

But their plan would kill endangered species and waste millions of acres of land, says Michael Shellenberger, writing in Forbes.

“There has already been widespread attention to the high economic cost of renewable energy mandates . . . . But now, in response to a growing number of lawsuits and regulations, and a new Michael Moore documentary about the environmental impacts of renewables, the wind industry increasingly finds itself on the defensive,” says Shellenberger.

Environmentalists are trying to stop wind turbine construction in California, Ohio, Nebraska, and Hawaii because they threaten birds such as the whooping crane and the marbled murrelet. Writes Shellenberger: “‘Democrats have been sold a false narrative by the industrial wind industry,’ said Kevon Martis, a Michigan-based environmentalist. ‘Many Democrats somehow imagine that industrial wind farms, which take hundreds of times more land than a natural gas plant, are better for the environment,’ he added.”

The plan promotes solar energy as well. Says Shellenberger:

“Even a 10% improvement in the efficiency of solar panels would only slightly reduce the staggering amount of land required to produce the same amount of energy: from 400 times more land than nuclear to 360 times more.” Continue reading “Democrats’ Plan Would Kill Endangered Birds”

What’s the Story on Green Investments?

“Green” investments and “green” bonds are here, but they are controversial.

Clemson economist Bruce Yandle suggests in Regulation that libertarians and conservatives  are understandably worried about the impact of the “soft regulatory power” that is being applied to companies—or threatening to do so.

The world’s biggest fund manager, BlackRock, says it will consider the environmental and sustainability activities of companies it invests in. The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board wants environmental standards.  The SEC is weighing in on what companies mean when they say they are  “green.”

But maybe the critics are too pessimistic. Writes Yandle:

    • “After all, if investors are truly willing to pay more for greener investments,the cost of capital will fall for the firms they favor, causing an expansion of, say, a popular tree-planting program or investment in the developing world. If buyers will pay more for green bonds, the cost of debt will fall for cities and states seeking to replace older infrastructure with cleaner technologies.”
    • “And if these things begin to occur systematically, then we may one day see this market-driven environmental movement bear significant fruit.”
    • “This isn’t the time for more SEC regulation of green investments. Rather, it’s a time for independent rating organizations such as Moody, Fitch, and Standard & Poor to rise to the challenge and help verify promised outcomes, environmental and otherwise.”

Continue reading “What’s the Story on Green Investments?”