Cap and trade

Here’s how I’d work carbon trading if I were appointed Grand Emperor of the World, based on my ten minute assessment of the situation.

I’d set an emissions cap on the world, starting in say 2010, based on the total emissions output of the world as of 2009. Each country gets a share of this, not based on their current emissions, but based on how many people they have.

The countries can trade. So the rich and polluting but under-populated countries (like Australia, 9th per capita) would have to pay to buy the right to pollute up to the levels they’re actually doing. The poor countries with a lower per-capita output would get an income stream, and can continue to industrialise if they want, up to their cap, but they’d have to stop things like deforestation (which is what’s pushing PNG and Zambia and other poor countries into the big league at the moment). Countries like China are painted as the bad boys, but per capita they’re currently well below the average. India is way below.

Polluting industries would be forced to adapt or die. For a little while they could buy their right to pollute…

Measurable, confirmed offsets could be used, but they won’t help for long, because most of them aren’t very scalable, and…

Every year, the cap would reduce by 2 4%. So get a move on reducing your emissions. The faster you do it, the more you can trade to someone else for moula.

So by 2060 2035 the world would be carbon neutral.

That’s my plan. Go ahead, poke holes in it. I don’t care — I’ll never actually be Grand Emperor of the World.

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13 thoughts on “Cap and trade

  1. Nah, make it mandatory that they cease and desist all pollution forthwith or risk being charged with crimes against humanity and nature.
    I noticed China stole my Queen Bitch of The Universe solution by opening more train stations and beginning an odds and evens system with cars being driven.
    And, surprise, surprise, no traffic jams and the air is clearing up!

  2. I like the plan Daniel, you’d get my vote. I’m in favour of a personal carbon rationing system which extends your ‘country share’ plan to it’s logical limit, the individual. Monbiot writes about it in his ‘Heat’.

    In Manila (Philippines), there is a long running scheme to avoid traffic congestion. They use the odd/even last number on the rego plate to control which days people can drive within the city limits. So in theory, you can only drive your car there every other day.

    Response? Some folks went out and bought a second car with a different plate, so they could still drive in every day – albeit in a different car.

    I won’t go into the issue of the poverty sticken who live in shanty towns in Manila and can’t even afford the basic necessities in life . . .

    BTW – Climate Code Red (http://www.climatecodered.net) book was released last week from two Melbourne authors. I know you had one author at your recent event.

    It was developed from a submission they made to Garnaut, which was widely acclaimed locally. I highly recommend it to all interested as a frank appraisal of the current climte situation based on research from the most current scientific papers.

  3. Sounds like a simple plan Daniel. It appeals to the simple minded voter, like myself. Vote #1 Daniel Grand Emperor of the World (until someone else comes along with something better).

  4. I agree but… I can’t get over this fact. Run a relatively free and democratic society (EU, USA, Canada, Australia) and you pay for your sins. Oppress people (caste system in India) and institute authoritarian Marxism and widespread corruption (China and Russia) and have people wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of Australia’s wealthiest – and you get a discount. The one thing that scares me about any ETS is that if others don’t come to the party, it could be like giving them an industry subsidy. You see, last time we got pure and wanted a level playing field we levelled our manufacturing industry.

  5. Tony/Cam, just got my copy. Yeah, recalling David Spratt’s presentation, maybe that 2% per year might need to be a bit quicker!

  6. Whatever the technical, GHG emissions can be reduced through political willpower and intelligent urban planning. Neither exist in Australia, so I’d expect nothing more than GHG emission increases.

  7. If people like Spratt are correct, then it’s too late and the whole thing is pointless.

  8. I think that any scheme which says it is ok to keep polluting providing you can make a profit after paying the pollution tax is inherently flawed. It ranks right up there with other really stupid ideas of our time such as economic rationalism and putting ownership of public assets into private hands. No amount of bipartisanship can turn a bad idea into a good one.

    The objectives of the scheme are fine Daniel. The better option is for the government to govern directly. Fund the CSIRO to develop cheap renewable energy sources. Aggressively subsidise individuals to buy capital items which eliminate dependence on polluting public infrastructure. Identify actual targets for pollution reduction eg coal fired power stations to go to 10% lower each year for the next 10 years. Provide mass public transport to replace the long haul commutes from outer suburban areas. Mandate working from home in jobs where there is no direct contact with customers eg call centre staff, most government offices, and big business back offices. Mandate closed loop systems of production (materials and energy) in manufacturing and primary production.

    Above all, focus on solutions to the global problem. Only the ability to provide cheap renewable energy sources to the developing parts of the world will provide a long term solution.

    Anything else is just going to lead to energy wars between rich and poor nations. How long do we have before country A objects to country B using coal powered generators and bombs them?

    My 2 cents.

  9. Actually Vaughan, if Spratt et al are correct there is an enormous but achievable task ahead of humanity which won’t be achieved by adopting business as usual strategies.

    The scale of transformation that is needed has been achieved in the past (e.g. WW2) and we’re seeing signs of recognition right up to the like of Al Gore who has called for the US electricity sector to go zero carbon in 10 years. The biggest barrier is arguably ourselves.

  10. Cap, No trade!

    And while we’re on it, isn’t this idea of burrying CO2 a great idea? For every molocule of CO2 burried there’s one less molocule for plants to use (CO2 + H20 -> sugar (=energy=growth=food)) and one less molocule of O2 for us to breathe.

  11. What a wonderful idea this Energy Tax, sorry, Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme will be for this grand, ol’ country of ours!

    Funny we note that China and India have lower carbon emissions per person than more industrialized countries … wouldn’t be something called POVERTY, would it?? Yes it is there, amongst the one third of the world’s population that resides in those two countries, and there is a lot of it!! (almost 300 million in India alone below the poverty line – equivalent to the population of the
    USA) Are we suggesting that is the way forward to cut carbon emissions?? Don’t see that noted anywhere in the ‘Gospel According To Al Gore’ to date!! We assume when we stop producing aluminium and steel here they will reap the rewards from additional production (with the raw material from Australia, mind you) and by the time we import the product back we have actually INCREASED our so called ‘carbon footprint’!

    We’re so glad that our Glorious Leader has decided to tale the global lead on this absolutely dire issue facing our Globe, so that in two years time we can start to eliminate all of our carbon emissions and save the planet single-handedly! So once this Grand Scheme comes into effect, we will have cut 1.2% of the world’s carbon emissions- we’re sure that will be noticeable! So if we’re taking the lead to save the planet, why doesn’t China, which is responsible for about 18% of global emissions! And with no plans to do so, they will continue to increase their carbon emissions! And so, the industries and jobs that WILL be lost when the Energy Tax comes into effect will more than likely go there, thereby continuing to increase carbon emissions! At least a few more will be out of poverty there, at our expense mind you!!

    Now, if we were given a cheap, clean, alternative, such as , um, we don’t want to say it in case we get arrested by the Green Police- ah, bugger it, NUCLEAR ENERGY, then maybe this Scheme wouldn’t destroy our industry or economy! Because that is what will happen- we will ruin our economy with some misguided attempt to “save the planet”, when we could cut our emissions in a simpler, more effective way!

    As a parting note to those who think solar and wind power are the best and only alternatives to providing clean energy, may we direct them to:
    http://enochthered.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/the-real-costs-of-wind-and-solar-power-and-nuclear-too/
    We hope we have injected some scientific reason to this issue!

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