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back to article US opts out of carbon trading

Are market solutions, long touted as having a key role in combating global warming, on the way out? Or is news last week of the upcoming closure of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) a sign that "cap and trade" is an idea whose time has passed? At issue is the question of how to encourage companies to reduce carbon emissions, …

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Stop

Nothing to see here

So the USA are trying a different idea are they? Well I'm not going to critisise...noy yet at least. It could well be another demonstration of how far the current administration are willing ostracise the nation to satisfy their oil-lust, but then again can anyone say that cabon trading works? Has it lowered emissions or just made it more expensive for businesses to consume fuel at the same rate they always have (e.g. is a just a fat green tax?)

Until there's solid reliable evidence that carbon trading actually motivates people to converse energy rather than just pay more for it, I don't think it's fair to criticise them that much. This article seems to focus too much on the "next big lucrative market" rather than whether this deterrent really works.

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Grenade

Re: Nothing to see here

"how far the current administration are willing ostracise the nation to satisfy their oil-lust"

Strange, I don't see the Obama administration rushing to invade foreign countries for their oil under the premise of anti-terrorism! Oh yeah, that was the last administration...

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Stupid

Yes of course the European scheme is hotting up. Companies and individuals are making a killing trading these instruments, at our expense. China is very interested indeed, because we will be effectively paying them to close a factory, whilst they open up a new coal fired power station next door. Our industries are being priced out of the global market by all of this insanity. The US has got it right.

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Alien

Stupid stupid stupid

Greed has it's limits, and America is about to discover them. Too bad the rest of the world will suffer, too, eh? Civilization depends on balance, but America has become an unbalanced concentration of selfish ignoramuses.

Tiny sliver of hope: Campaign finance reform in the lame duck session. Maybe a few of the outgoing Republican senators are willing to go out as statesmen? For my next joke...

The ET explanation? The increasingly evident resolution of the Fermi Paradox is that most so-called (self-calling?) intelligent species quickly exterminate themselves. The few surviving aliens who can claim actual wisdom are watching us like the Gamesters of Triskelion, betting quatloos on whether or not we're going to go bust. Our odds of survival are declining rapidly...

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*sighs*

Our odds of survival are declining rapidly...

----

Really? In what way?

Our odds of survival, long term, have always been effectively zero (try looking at the number of species that are extinct compared to those that are currently alive). How is climate change any worse? Look at the Permian extinction event... we've got a lot of work to do to top that puppy still.

Besides - there's still best part of 3 billion years worth of theoretically habitable planet here before the sun wipes it out. There's time for life to recover even if we do manage to nerf the planet on a Siberian Traps scale.

No - I'm not American - I just don't really see what the fuss is about.

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Sanity Rules?

Whatever the spin - CO2 is here to stay. Without it we would not remain here.

I am an (old) scientist - a real one - a scientist that challenges all assertions.

My conclusion is that all carbon/green taxes are an inconvenient con. Inconvenient to you and me, supported by the BBC.

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Anonymous Coward

Scientitst or liar?

Done any good work on the the principle of parsimony or the principle of uniformity recently?

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Anonymous Coward

Never mind the thumbs down ...

... I'd like to see his paper challenging the principle of uniformity.

He doesn't challenge all assumptions. I'll let you fill in the rest.

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Rot

Planting a tree only sequesters carbon while it’s growing. Useful, but not permanent, as it will eventually release the carbon back to the atmosphere when it is burned, or rots, at which point carbon traders should ask for their money back.

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Thumb Up

Look up

mangrove sequestration, it's fascinating stuff and one of the things that garnered quite a lot of interest at the copenhagen fracas.

being able to bury carbon in the earth as peat at a surprisingly rapid rate will be one of the main contributions of countries like Kenya/Nigeria in the near future.

You are of course correct about regular forrests on land.

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Anonymous Coward

Team America! Yeah, hell!

I'd compare this to removal fees for cars or appliances: Considered too onerous to bear when trying to get rid of the old stuff (inevitably resulting in a lot of illegal dumping wherever), but the very same fee is shrugged at when buying new. So I'd much rather look at jacking up the fuel price two- or threefold, though that leaves "clean" engines out in the cold. But you'd need something that simple and mandatory. The more complex your system gets, the more possibilities for abuse. Then again, as an instrument to harmonise policy and get something done, this might prove useful.

Which is indeed exactly the weak point in opting out now.

What irks me most about USoA policy is its habit to tone down, wash out, pee in, poop on, and generally stir the pot to its liking, then turn its back in a huff and "opt out", maybe getting downright petty about impossibilities, like it did with the ICC. I don't know what happened here, but I do recall them still having a law on the books mandating invasion of a NATO partner. I did expect the EU to do a lot more to make them bleed for that sort of thing.

But I expect they either are really that stupid or they are cynically callous because they figure the bill, when it eventually comes, will be so staggering nobody will expect them to pay. Probably both. But soonish, more and more people will realise just how irresponsible this "world police power" is. Their influence is already waning, and everybody knows it. Once enough people stop believing that we need them, I don't know what'll happen, but I don't imagine it'll be pretty.

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Huzzah! Sense at last

Any "carbon cap" that doesn't involve actually turning off dirty power stations is a farce, and just boils down to another tax on business.

Might as well be honest, and stick any tax directly on the generation of power, since it'll be cheaper to implement and have exactly the same effect in limiting its use, i.e. none, other than by driving companies out of business.

Better yet, just stop subsidising the oil and coal industries, and giving them tax breaks. The end result is the same: lower taxes, and power actually costs a realistic amount.

It's regressive, but the poor - i.e. the millions of non-productive consumers - are basically the problem here.

Instead of cap-and-trade, the solution is cap-a-scrounger. Hopefully global warming will result in more tornadoes, which will destroy more trailer parks, and the situation will self correct.

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Joke

@Rogerborg

"It's regressive, but the poor - i.e. the millions of non-productive consumers - are basically the problem here.

Instead of cap-and-trade, the solution is cap-a-scrounger. Hopefully global warming will result in more tornadoes, which will destroy more trailer parks, and the situation will self correct."

You're definitely in the running for humanitarian of the year award with that one.

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FAIL

Re: Huzzah! Sense at last

The way you started that post, it actually sounded like you were trying to squeeze out a rational idea for the first time in your life.

/sigh.

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Not to...

"It's regressive, but the poor - i.e. the millions of non-productive consumers - are basically the problem here."

----

Not to mention the fact that that's essentially arse-about-face. The poor are GOOD for the environment. The poor don't buy iThis and iThat and consume all the resources on the planet. We'd be fine if everyone lived in C14th style poverty - our impact on the environment would be negligible.

So the problem is fat, rich mofos fuelled by Thatcherite "me, me, me" capitalism. Personally I'd suggest nuclear war - the following winter would stop "global warming" and once we've blasted the human race back to WAY pre-industrial levels the remaining life can get on recovering.

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Carbon Trading = Scam & Tax

The whole point of global warming and carbon trading is to impose more tax and control. The next big scary world ending scam is biodiversity.

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Silver badge

shell game

Pay someone to not do something (that they were not going to do anyway) then add a fat markup for the middle men / traders and sell the 'rights' to another to keep doing what they are doing.

The result? Save 0% carbon, and a load of money for the people running the game.

Anything saved is due to people not being able to pay for the credits. It would be better to just charge a straight tax so there is some chance that the money would help pay for services rather then going into the pocket of some scam artist trader.

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Anonymous Coward

The US can't afford it

Right now, the US is being bled dry by trade imballances. Simply put, wealth flows out of nations that consume more than they produce. Conversely, wealth flows into nations that produce more than they consume- assuming they can find a buyer for those goods. The US has been that buyer for decades now, effectivly gobbling up the world's overproduction, and paying for it with IOU's.

The cap and trade scheme is widely seen in the US as a foriegn tax. No matter how the credits get apportioned, the US will end up buying credits from other nations as a Mea Culpa for being heavily developed and more energy intensive than the rest of the world. Frankly, they can't afford it. Also, with the economic pain being felt in the US right now, I would expect more merchantilist policies from the US, not a willingness to pay a tax on past sucess.

QE2 anyone?

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Anonymous Coward

That's no excuse.

Nobody really cares whether the USoA can afford it. The thing is ment as an incentive to clean up your act, to replace needlessly wasteful machinery and processes with newer, more efficient stuff. If you have lots more than the rest, well, you just got your work cut out for you.

On this scale you can't throw your hands in the air and say, we can't afford it, so we won't care. It's not about nasty furriners imposing stuff on the Fair And Just USoA[tm], it's about cleaning up your act. If the USoA won't, its successor will have to. Eventually.

Whatever your stance on global warming, it's fairly clear that the current way of doing things isn't sustainable against expected growth, in other words, it doesn't scale. The USoA is only 310-odd mio people gobbling up far more than their fair share of energy. The 730 mio in Europe are hobbling along somewhere behind that, but if you look, you'll see the 1.1 mrd in India and the 1.3 mrd in China doing their level best to catch up with their technology, comfort, and wealth levels. Imagine 3.4 mrd people all consuming at the same pace as the USoA. Yeah, no, that won't fly, y'hear.

And where easier to start than with the low hanging fruit? A little perspective here, dear earth-mates from the USoA. Your planet doesn't stop at the coasts, you know.

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Flame

Crap and Trade - Carbon Trading is baldface lie!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Folks,

So how many of you support becoming a 4th world economy so "developing nations" like China or India can grow more than they already have and more jobs are lost in YOUR country? Too late, your leaders ALREADY drank the Kool-Aid....

Carbon Credit trading is bull crap, plain and simple. It is built on the lies and prevarications of fools, politicians, trading houses and lawyers and is only meant to serve those in power and will do nothing to stem the tide of pollution or serve mankind.

The "developing nations" have NO Emission Regulations and are exempt from them under "Crap and Trade". Every heavy industry that used to be located in Europe or the US have moved to countries that don't require expensive emission control equipment. Instead of controlling source emissions, China has to close factories so the air pollution lessens during the Olympics. Mexico and other countries dump toxic heavy metals from plating and electronic manufacturing in their own water supply. And they do not care because life is cheap there.

What is the cost (in cash and in carbon units) of shipping the goods that used to be manufactured locally, from counties that are thousands of miles away now, back to the consuming countries that buy them?

What is the added cost of speculation in "Carbon Credits" to consumers?

How will this actually, physically reduce emissions EVERYWHERE?

The answers are; huge, even more costly and not at all.

The REAL solution is to require US/Canada style emission regulations in every country, require true recycling with established markets and pricing for recycled materials, equalize wages and cost of labor differences between countries by establishment of trade tariffs that prevent outsourcing manufacturing jobs and factories. Take away the incentive to move from developed to undeveloped countries and source control of pollution can be reestablished all the while returning employment to reasonable levels. Require that cities provide and incentivize the use of efficient public transportation systems. Bring back rail for longhaul travel and freight shipments and ban longhaul trucks and buses.

Combine the above with a rational Nuclear and Clean Coal power production policy, and we may be halfway there. Yes, there is such a thing as "Clean Coal" IF and ONLY IF the proper burner and emission control equipment is used. There are Nuclear Reactors that do not produce the huge amounts of radioactiuve waste that other types produce.

By the way, the re-creation of the infrastructure that is required to accomplish the above, also provides employment for the millions of unemployed and the underemployed.

Crap and Trade provides NONE of these benefits and will cost more in the long run.

Don't blame me when the lights go out on a reasonable lifestyle, blame your leaders.

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Hear

bloody hear!

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Black Helicopters

Another control scenario

Your proposal:

"The REAL solution is to require US/Canada style emission regulations in every country, require true recycling with established markets and pricing for recycled materials, equalize wages and cost of labor differences between countries by establishment of trade tariffs that prevent outsourcing manufacturing jobs and factories."

The end result - there needs to be SOMEONE or SOMETHING big enough and with enough firepower to ENFORCE all this.

Choose your conspiracy: Forbin Project or One World Government via the UNO.

And be sorta happy that you can exercise some choice, which is more than Winston Smith got (with thanks to George Orwell).

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Bronze badge

Enforcement by Tariff, not by force...

John,

No "One World Government" conspiracy or Orwellian police force is required. All you need to do is measure pollution by satellite and report it publicly in real time.

If you disagree with the satellite measurement, well too bad for you. You could have a more accurate measurement if you allowed locally installed monitors and would comply with regulations.

Products manufactured by Countries that will not or do not comply, would be charged a tariff when that product enters a country that does comply, thus removing the financial benefit of non-compliance, preventing trade inequality, and preventing the shifting of manufacturing to low regulation areas.

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Important detail missing

Where is the proof that Cap and Trade really lowers the amount of pollution in the air? It is a money maker for traders, and a way for politicians to pay off donors. Adding complexity only makes it easier to corrupt. Simplify the system, make it transparent and it will improve.

If China wants to sit at the adult table. why dont THEY pay a carbon tax to the UN?

Make their factories as clean as the 1st world does.

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Gold badge
Grenade

Re: Important detail missing

No, important understanding missing.

The short answer is it doesn't. What it does do is earn commission payments for a load of middle men working in Carbon Credit trading. Keeps all those types employed who used to punt derivatives, CDOs and similar before the wheels all came off those scams. It also makes jobs for armies of Bean Counters working out for companies whether it's more cost-effective to buy credits or replace old, dirty kit that's not yet EOL with new cleaner stuff.

Also it Looks Like They Are Doing Something About It, which is the primary driver here.

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Anonymous Coward

A fair point.

But that's the vagaries of international deal making for you. Which the USoA has been doing its level best to shape to its liking in the last century or so. No use complaining now the previous bunches did a lot but didn't have a lot of long-term vision to go with it.

China, OTOH, has a lot more vision and did very well at that negotiation table.

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Flame

Ignorant bastard

"the poor - i.e. the millions of non-productive consumers - are basically the problem here."

Non-productive??! You conveniently ignore the working poor who cook and serve your restaurant dinners, or who run or clean the hotels where smug bastards like you go to spend your NON-hard-earned money. That cute waitress that you'd like to do, is probably one of those working poor... or did you think that all poor people have buck teeth and wear rags and speak with a southern drawl? Ignorant fool.

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_poor>

Some of those workers are working 12-16 hours per day, quite likely without any overtime-pay (nevermind whether or not it's legal). If people like you choose to regard that as being "non-productive" then you are too stupid to live.

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Oh noes, Teh Working Poor! HEADSHOTS!

I'm all for the Working Poor - even my butler has a factotum.

I refer you though to the Victorian classifications of the Deserving and Undeserving Poor though. While on my may to my NON-work, I often pass though a sink estate populated entirely by NON-working strawmen. Burning them would produce a short term CO2 surge, but with long term savings when you consider the rate at which strawmen assemble more of themselves.

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Flame

Fundamentals again

Rather than argue the merits of the imposed crap and trade rules, why not re-examine the fraud that started all this nonsense? Make no mistake, the claim of man-made global warming is a fraud.

I really don't believe that the ice started melting and ended the ice age about 13,000 years ago (give or take some years) due to excess man-made carbon dioxide. And the ice age about 140,000 years ago certainly was not ended by man-made emissions. There have been at least three periods of glaciation and warming in the past 500,000 years - why the cycle?

The willfully ignorant simply spout the lies given them by the fraudsters and never seem to actually go back and research the data beyond the selected data that the fraudsters have used to set up the fraud. Do your own research in depth and see if you can still believe what the climate hoaxsters have told you. There are a lot of ad hominem attacks against those people who are finding data to say the man-made climate change is a fraud but damn little truth. To quote "consensus" in scientific matters is a sure sign of either ignorance or fraud. The fraudsters do not want you to think for yourself. And asking a politician to actually think is always futile.

Before the flames start, yes, the climate is getting warmer and will get warmer yet. But after some years, it will start cooling again and the cyclic nature of the phenomenon will result in another ice age lasting about 100,000 years. What we do, crap and trade or nothing, makes no difference. That climate will happen whether mankind exists on the planet or not.

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Fundamentalists again

"I really don't believe that the ice started melting and ended the ice age about 13,000 years ago (give or take some years) due to excess man-made carbon dioxide. And the ice age about 40,000 years ago certainly was not ended by man-made emissions. There have been at least three periods of glaciation and warming in the past 500,000 years - why the cycle?"

What cycle? To identify a cycle, you need to demonstrate the periodicity, the amplitude, and at least one predicted peak or trough. You have none of these.

No-one has ever claimed that the ice ages are related to AGW - so we can dismiss that straw man out of hand.

"The willfully ignorant simply spout the lies given them by the fraudsters and never seem to actually go back and research the data beyond the selected data that the fraudsters have used to set up the fraud."

Whereas the denier fraudsters collect no data, offer no testable hypotheses (that haven't already been demolished) and spout assertions which have no relationship to the mountains of data that already exist (and are easily available - from multiple sources).

Your guys haven't done the work. They're just kibbutzing from the sidelines - cherry-picking the odd anomaly, and exagerrating it into a conspiracy.

And people like you are astroturfing a pretended 'backlash' against real scientists and real science. Go away, and don't come back until you can cite a peer-reviewed paper supporting your fantasy.

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Black Helicopters

It's all a conspiracy against you!

"I really don't believe that the ice started melting and ended the ice age about 13,000 years ago (give or take some years) due to excess man-made carbon dioxide. And the ice age about 140,000 years ago certainly was not ended by man-made emissions."

So you are suggesting that because something happened in the past due to some factor, it is not possible that a similar thing would happen in the future due to some other factor?

And what do you suppose would be the effect on the climate of dumping billions of tonnes of carbon in the form of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, over a couple of centuries?

Let me guess...You're not sure, so let's just keep doing it and see what happens.

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Anonymous Coward

It appears that

You've ALL started from the same *erroneous* point...http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/stop_32.png

Posted Thursday 11th November 2010 00:15 GMT

i.e. you've all swallowed the idea that MMGW/Climate Disruption is

(a) actually occuring

(b) objectively verifiable as being caused by that absolutely indispensable 'trace gas' CO2 and

(c) demands an apocalyptic- class response to ard its supposed effects off.

"Climategate" has gone NOWHERE even though the completely discredited railway engineer's hobby-horse (IPCC) and their fellow travellers used lord Oxburgh to apply a barrel of whitewash,

It is quite obvious that the scam *CANNOT* be proven which is why the asinine "consensus" fallacy is pressed into service ad infinitum.Most people are healthily sceptical.

As I recall, Blair's chosen fig-leaf ( funnily enough another 'Lord') Stern actually pointed out that even if the UK TOOK COLLECTIVE LEAVE OF ITS SENSES, INSTITUTED THE RUINOUS 80-ODD % CUTS IN EMISSIONS AND IMMOLATED ITS INDUSTRIAL BASE AND ECONOMY, THE BEST IT COULD HOPE FOR WOULD BE TO DELAY ARMAGEDDON FOR A MEASLY SIX (YES '6') YEARS!!

it is complete lunacy when one actually grasps the fact that futher despoilation of the Carbon Cycle through these measures will only lead to further destruction of the biosphere and a reduction in vegetation, oxygen and the ability of the planet to sustain the existing population.

Indeed, only a confirmed eugenicist could support these diabolical policies as they fail on every measure applied.

**EVEN IF positive incontrovertible evidence could be produced of (a), (b) and (c), it is ridiculous not to pursue the "adaptation" option - which has exponentially greater chances of success

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/fail_32.png

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I'd say

all the non-productive consumers really are a large part of the problem. I wouldn't say they're the poor, though. It's more the lawyers, marketers, PR, politicians, around 50% of accountants and 90% of economists, and similar non-productive or minimally-productive positions that ought to be eliminated.

Not violently, though, they should be taught an honest trade and rehabilitated back into society.

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Anonymous Coward

I know what you're thinking of.

The "B" Ark, yes?

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I don't see carbon trading as the solution

If your goal is to reduce carbon output, then simply make the demand for it. Trading in carbon "credits" only allows a company to continue the same level of pollution as before, except now it's government-sanctioned. We're not doing any service to our environmental stewardship with this. The only way to reduce carbon emissions is to demand that companies do so under penalty of law, with further heavier punishments for continued violation of pollution standards. And I would argue that such punishments include shutting down companies that repeatedly violate the law. Yes, it is heavy-handed from on-high, but this is the price you pay for not using your own common sense and needing the government to put you in a nanny state.

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Jobs Halo

No substitute

Carbon trading is a mess. It was always doomed to fail as an impracticable and flawed process open to fraud.

As the article says the chief constraint to carbon use is the price of fuel. So if you want to get attention on carbon use increase the price of carbon. Tax it plain and simple.

OK, so it is not quite that simple but as an island nation we have an advantage we can tax at the border. I will not present the scheme here but it has all been worked out and need not be bureaucratic at all (all done by computers: IT angle).

Advantages:

We would have to carbon tax imports and tax rebate exports (think about that for a bit).

We would not need to encourage or subsidise or regulate for renewables or nuclear energy.

We would have huge pressure to develop low carbon and we would become world leaders in this technology.

'nuf said.

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Taxing

Taxing air, we finally have all gone mad, forced on us by the good old EU. your bills going up 20/30% due to 'Renewable Energy' (got to make you laugh) and Cap and Tax, should see lots of people in europe that are struggling now financally to love the winters when they can't afford to heat tehre homes.

I wouldn't worry though as all the people selling thin air will of made there billion's and not care.

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Dead Vulture

What next - In Praise of Credit Default Swaps?

The CCX failed - yet Jane Fae Ozimek says this failure is a sign of success.

If the EU markets were not propped up by subsidies, they too would collapse. Eventually these subsidies will be withdrawn, because ultimately we are taxed for the casino gamblers. To make such statements as "carbon trading is the way the world is going" is to defy reality and as well as common sense.

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