back to article Under cap-and-trade, flying is greener than taking the bus

Under so-called "cap and trade" schemes designed to reduce carbon emissions, individuals will actually be acting more green-righteously by taking the plane rather than the bus, according to new research. Dr Grischa Perino of the University of East Anglia uses the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) - a typical cap- …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Facepalm

1980s?

Carbon trading is so 1980s - I remember a paper in 'Natural Resource Economics' I did back in those dark days and *everything* could be solved simply by putting a price on it and letting the Market do the rest. This was the ideal solution as the Market, as everyone knew back then, acted rationally and the various actors in the Market played by the rules.

Laughs hollowly then checks to see what our hard working and honest bankers are getting this year as their annual bonuses for services rendered to mankind...

20
0
Bronze badge

Re: 1980s?

If we are going to have quotas (carbon emission, milk, taxi licences, or anything else), they should be non-transferable. Otherwise we are effectively printing money, which is inflationary, and benefits the incumbents to the detriment of the general public.

12
0
Silver badge
Holmes

Re: 1980s?

Implying banks are part of the "market".

They are not.

They have a special status granted by state to waylay you.

The additional fact that people are too confused to suss this out helps.

6
2
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: 1980s?

Except that 'cap-and-trade' is NOT really market-based economics, because the amount of the cap is artificial and arbitrary. The woman making this quote:

“Reducing our individual energy use, particularly that of our travel, our houses, and our appliances, is the quickest and easiest way to reduce our own carbon emissions"

seems not to understand that a cap does not mean "this amount of emmissions AT MOST", it means "DEFINITELY this amount of emmissions", because whatever I save of my allocation I will sell to someone else to emit (the article mentions this specifically. My personal energy savings will not amount to a net energy saving)

Under cap-and-trade, the only way to reduce emmissions is to reduce the cap, and every time that comes up for review it will be all talk and no action - Kyoto all over again. The main beneficiaries of cap and trade will be traders who will take a cut off every trade even if they are really not offering any added value.

The best way of approximating a true market-based carbon reduction system is to add the externalised costs of burning fossil fuels back into their price through a carbon tax*. That way, fossil fuels will only be burnt if the value released from burning them is greater than the cost including externalised costs, and overall consumption will go down since trivial / wasteful uses will get cut out.

A carbon tax as opposed to cap-and-trade is a LOT simpler, and therefore cheaper, to administer (no need to audit all carbon usage, no need for complex trading schemes), and also instead of financial benefits going to banks and traders, teh tax money is collected by government (in an ideal world, to be ringfenced and spent ONLY on renewable energy research)

*Of course there still will be much wrangling as to what the correct level of tax should be, but it's a start

8
2

Re: 1980s?

Generally agree, but the Stern Review found that taxes on fuel were already higher than required to offset the carbon emissions. So the price of fuel should fall...

I do not deny climate change, but I do deny that most, or perhaps any, of the schemes promoted by Greens actually have the effect of decreasing emissions at as low cost as possible. Let's have nuclear for bass load, fracked gas to replace coal, and invest in research into tidal. This will reduce emissions and costs, in contrast to cap & trade, wind & solar which only increase costs.

8
0
Facepalm

Re: 1980s?

I don't why people can't see this. It also seems like the quickest way to get around it would be to simply fracture your larger company into different new "divisions" thereby increasing the need for more credits. Or simply create a bunch of fake manufacturing companies that have all the equipment to run, but don't, then sell off their allotted markers to larger companies, go out of business after those are gone, sell the "business" to themselves under a new name, get new credits, repeat as needed. Hell I can see it now, "charities" will be set up that will say they do some sort of positive offset such as planting trees, big companies will "donate" tax-deductible money to them to "offset" their own markers, then the next day that charity can dig that tree up, and then sell the planting of it again the next day. (will there be laws as to how long a "planted tree" has to be in the ground? There will have to be.)

In the end it is all just a complete joke if EVERY country on the planet doesn't buy into it, the only recourse to a non-member country would be a full trade embargo. If it is world-wide, what organization is going to police and monitor every business in the world to check for compliance. Let just put this stupid idea away already and come up with something better.

Why don't we assemble panels of experts in the various fields, and come up with solutions or better regulations based upon what is possible from current technology, create guidelines for lowering harmful emissions over time based on what is possible each year, fine any company that doesn't follow the regulations. Let them stick their cap-and-trade up their ass.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: 1980s?

Carbon tax? When 80p of every pound spent on petrol is tax already, I'd say that horse has long since bolted.

1
0
Silver badge

I suppose it's possible...

...that this bloke is right and everyone is wrong. Statistics aren't exactly my field but, you know...

0
2
Silver badge
Coat

I have assumed

I know how much I fart, and now I am completely lost. until I understand how this "cap and trade" affects the reality.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: I have assumed

The state sets a fart quota. If you modify your diet and can remain below the limit, you can sell the extra fart credits to someone who is unable to do without their baked beans.

There is, however, no quota for belching. If you can release the excess gas by belching, and minimize your farts, you can still sell the excess credits to a high-production farter thus gaining income for you, but the surrounding gaseous environment will be worse for everyone than if you'd just farted as necessary.

Environmentalists would prefer us all to eat fewer beans, bean farmers will be promting the benefits of farting for the health. Most of us will continue to hope no-one noticed.

Better out than in :)

21
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Doublespeak

"UEA also hosts the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, which some social scientists have suggested could become the nerve centre of an Isaac Asimov "Psychohistory" style push to manipulate voters into endorsing urgent climate action."

Isn't the act of 'manipulating voters' usually termed "propaganda"? And besides, the Asimovian concept of Psychohistory necessarily requires that the population to be manipulated be large enough to smooth out the variations in behaviors, making it feasable in the first place. Galaxy-sized populations, actually. These little earth-bound social 'scientists' seem to have very high opinions of themselves.

4
0
Silver badge

Re: Doublespeak

Have you ever been to Norwich? There are some mighty strange folk living there. I guess it must be all that lovely north sea air that they breathe?

I do have some relatives from Norfolk and they are regarded as being 'rather odd' by the rest of the family.

I think that you must have to join the flat earth society in order to live there.

3
0
Stop

Re: Doublespeak

As a native of King's Lynn, I'll reply in song ...

"In praise of our county we're going to sing

Against this fine place we will not hear a thing.

If you speak ill about it, you speak a falsehood

For our native county is Norfolk and good.

Norfolk and good, Norfolk and good

We are the boys who are Norfolk and good."

(Lyrics by The Kipper Family)

0
0
P_0

Yeah right

"If you consider making a trip from London to Glasgow,...

Umm... no thanks.

2
2

Re: Yeah right

Sorry, would Edinburgh be more you cup of tea? Or are you a "nothing north of the Watford Gap" kind of chap?

1
1
P_0

Re: Yeah right

Calm down, it's just a joke.

2
2
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Yeah right

That would be why there is a joke icon. Or even emoticons if you get desparate ;)

2
1
Bronze badge
Headmaster

@Richard81 - Re: Yeah right

Wrote :- "are you a "nothing north of the Watford Gap" kind of chap?"

Yes, nothing north of Watford. What is this "gap" you speak of?

2
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: @Richard81 - Yeah right

"What is this "gap" you speak of?"

Watford Gap

0
1
Mushroom

When they build a 400 seater bus...

...Then the comparison will be apt.

What a bunch of eh-holes.

1
5
P_0

Re: When they build a 400 seater bus...

Why only then will the comparison be apt?

1
0
Silver badge
Coat

Re: When they build a 400 seater bus...

They already have. It is called a Train.

Ok, I'm gone

10
0
Silver badge

Re: When they build a 400 seater bus...

At least the bus is running on time.

0
0
Boffin

Re: When they build a 400 seater bus...

I think even these people understand the concept of per passenger...

2
0
Facepalm

“Reducing our individual energy use, particularly that of our travel, our houses, and our appliances, is the quickest and easiest way to reduce our own carbon emissions".

In other news: Sky is blue, water is wet, etc. My vote for the "most obvious statement of the year" award.

4
0
Facepalm

My vote for..

"most obvious statement of the year, which dodges the issue" award.

Spoken like a politician, Professor

0
0
Silver badge

this is why they should have just taxed carbon at source rather than coming up with some convoluted carbon cap and trade market. Tax the coal. Tax the oil. Prices downstream would then reflect how much oil and coal they used. For example it would become cheaper for supermarkets to sell bananas grown in greenhouses in the UK rather than shipping them all the way from Chile.

6
4

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge
Devil

@NonNomNom

"this is why they should have just taxed carbon at source ....Prices downstream would then reflect how much oil and coal they used"

Funnily enough, prices downstream already do reflect how much you use of anything without any intervention by politicians. The problem is that the treehuggers think that selective price aren't high enough and they want everybody to pay more, on the pretext that this will reduce consumption. For the past few years evil energy companies have been in the firing line for high domestic energy prices, and still there's people saying that energy isn't expensive enough (that's how I understand your comments). Perhaps people need to make their minds up. How much would you like adding to the VAT on coal, oil, and gas (and thus to electricity)?

Even then taxes don't operate in a seamless manner to reduce everybody's energy consumption - you can choose whether the considerable UK duties on petroleum make a difference to fuel consumption - as far as I can see they don't, until you actually price the poor out of the market. So putting up fuel duty (or fuel VAT, or congestion charging) is more likely to push a few battered decade-old Ford Fiestas off the roads than to persuade Range Rover drivers to downsize. If depriving the poor is your solution, that's fine by me, but let's be clear that's how the demand curve operates. And it's the same for home heating - if you put the prices up enough, then it is the marginal poor just outside of the state welfare system who will have to freeze. Everybody else just complains and pays up.

PS, EL Reg: Where's my bl**dy edit button?

5
0
Silver badge

it would become cheaper for supermarkets to sell bananas grown in greenhouses in the UK rather than shipping them all the way from Chile

It's been fairly conclusively established that distance from place of production is a misleading way to evaluate the environmental impact of foods. The example I saw was about temperate-zone produce like tomatoes and peppers. Growing tropical produce like bananas in greenhouses in the UK would consume massive resources.

Actually, in my experience bananas come from the Caribbean and Central America. I think Chile is in too high a latitude.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: @NonNomNom

"Funnily enough, prices downstream already do reflect how much you use of anything without any intervention by politicians. The problem is that the treehuggers think that selective price aren't high enough and they want everybody to pay more, on the pretext that this will reduce consumption. "

Not reduce consumption, but reduce carbon emissions. If the carbon footprint of products played a larger role in it's price then things would shift towards low carbon products. People who could find a way to deliver goods, eg bananas, to the UK using far less carbon would undercut the competition.

0
1
Silver badge

"Growing tropical produce like bananas in greenhouses in the UK would consume massive resources."

It depends on the power source. If your greenhouse was powered by a nuclear plant you could use all the resources you wanted and have a virtually zero carbon footprint. So if there was a high tax on carbon, you could then grow bananas very much cheaper than it would be to fly them in.

Ultimately a higher price on carbon would encourage an economic shift. It would price coal and gas power stations out of the market in favor of nuclear. Services downstream can then exploit the cheaper power sources to out-compete products that use a lot of carbon. Even electric vehicles would become more competitive.

Inevitably this shift will happen anyway as fossil fuels peak and the cost of carbon naturally rises. But instigating a tax may be better as the speed and severity of the price rise can be controlled and adjusted that way. A predictable gradually increasing carbon tax might be preferable to a future of sudden price spikes caused by carbon supply and demand problems. It also offers a final moment of closure when ready where the carbon tax can be shifted very high to virtually cut global carbon emissions to zero. That's the only way to stop the atmospheric CO2 rise. Left as-is coal and oil will always be competitive at some price and so will continue to be burned even after it peaks.

1
1
Silver badge

Re: @NonNomNom

"If the carbon footprint of products played a larger role in it's price then things would shift towards low carbon products. People who could find a way to deliver goods, eg bananas, to the UK using far less carbon would undercut the competition"

You're missing the point, which is that because transport costs are already proportional to energy consumption, anybody who can do things more efficiently would undercut the competition, by your logic. You seem to believe that businesses pay no attention to their energy usage, when in fact it's a huge consideration in what assets they buy, when they replace them, and how they run them. In the short run, carbon taxes just make things more expensive. That's because companies already operate assets as efficiently as they can, and the assets in question are generally expensive, long lived equipment, for which there simply isn't a magically better alternative. Taking the proverbial banana boat, would the presumed increased fuel efficiency of a new boat offset the write down of a mid-life boat already in service, plus the scrapping costs and emissions, plus the resources and emissions used in making a new boat? I doubt it.

So carbon taxes on shipping will simply reduce banana demand, through the price mechanism pushing the poor (or marginal consumers) out of the market. Maybe the poor will instead buy apples, maybe they'll just eat less fruit. As for the West Indies and Africa, they'll have to accept lower sales and lower employment.

And at the end of it, when the charade that is "climate change" is visible to all, where will be the benefit?

2
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Gold badge
WTF?

Road transport is "low" carbon

Icon says it all.

1
0
g e
Silver badge
WTF?

Probably unfair but...

Did anyone start reading then get to 'University of East Anglia' and immediately think 'Ah, right. never mind'

Having read it, does anyone else think this sounds a lot like Mega Corp tax-avoidance ? I find the phrase 'increase their own emissions' especially disingenuous in a statement on how something's supposed to make somethng 'greener'.

Comes across as total hogwash, all in all.

5
1
Silver badge

The problem with cherry-picking

Similarly, while an energy saving appliance used in the home might save you money as it may pay for its greater cost through lower electricity bills, it will not reduce carbon emissions. If less electricity is used, the power generation companies will have more allowances, which they will sell to someone else - airlines, maybe, or heavy industry - who will then be able to emit more carbon.

This is the principle of ETS which does encourage lower emissions by reducing the number of allowances over time. In theory, this will encourage industries that buy allowances to become more efficient as the prices of such rises. The scheme is set to avoid price shocks by reducing the numbers of allowances in the system only gradually.

The main problem, there have been smaller ones related to gaming the system as well, with the ETS is that there are too many emissions in the scheme. As a result there is little or no incentive to trade allowances which are below cost for those that need them. There are several reasons for this: firstly, effective lobbying allowed for very generous exemptions and allowances that were initially given to companies (but charged to customers); secondly, post-2008 recession; thirdly, faster than expected buildout of renewable capacity in Germany and elsewhere; fourthly, some but actually very little off-shoring of dirty production to countries outside of the scheme; fifthly, displacement to Poland which has massive allowances due to its traditionally dependence on coal for energy production and inefficient industry. Unsurprisingly, Poland is dead against any early reductions in the number of allowances.

Air travel is a poor example having only recently entered the ETS, something which China, India and the US contest is anti-competitive in itself. It's a moot point as to whether the gradual improvements in efficiency in the airline industry are related to this or just down to very high competitive pressures and the high price of fuel. As a recent entrant to the ETS the air industry has plenty of allowances of its own at the moment so we don't expect to see significant changes as a result of the scheme for a few years yet.

0
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: The problem with cherry-picking

" It's a moot point as to whether the gradual improvements in efficiency in the airline industry are related to this or just down to very high competitive pressures and the high price of fuel. As a recent entrant to the ETS the air industry has plenty of allowances of its own at the moment so we don't expect to see significant changes as a result of the scheme for a few years yet."

I doubt it has anything to do with ETS. Not only is fuel one of the largest costs of running aircraft, but you have to lift every kg of the stuff with you on take off, so it cuts your capacity. That has and always will be the case, and is why if the airlines and planemakers can use less they do. But the problem with aviation is that progress takes decades of development to get into service. Take the 787 - design work started formally back around 2003, so that's at least a decade from design to any number in service, but the work probably used prior thinking going back at least five years. And once in service, a widebody jet costs of the order of $100m, so even if some groundbreaking technology emerges, then the existing fleet will not suddenly be retired.

ETS for airlines will only be another layer of pointless bureaucracy, which appears to be the whole point of the EU.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: The problem with cherry-picking

You are doubting a moot point? Oh dear.

That has and always will be the case, and is why if the airlines and planemakers can use less they do

No, only post 1970s oil shock have they been remotely interested in greater efficiency but effectively only since Open Skies, incidentally forced through by the EU you seem to hate so much, and other deregulation initiatives opened up competition have they found it difficult to simply pass on extra costs to customers. The same applies to the energy generation companies who, through lack of competition and regulation, spent decades not investing in more efficient power plants.

Take the 787 - design work started formally back around 2003, so that's at least a decade from design to any number in service, but the work probably used prior thinking going back at least five years

The risks associated with the 787, and the A380 which preceded it and uses lots of the same lightweight technology, is why the airline industry is more interested in continual, gradual improvements in efficiency than huge leaps forward and one of the reasons they have such long term contracts for their engines. It is precisely such improvements that will benefit from an effective cap and trade system. But, as I said, it's too early to tell with the airline industry which is why it is a poor example for assessing ETS at the moment. Displacement and subsidy farming provide much richer criticisms.

0
0
Silver badge

Working as planned

Carbon-trading, ETS etc were only ever a scam to make money. They had nothing whatsoever to do with reducing emissions (except to allow for PR puffery claiming same), changing people's habits or protecting our environment.

10
0
Stop

Shocking thought...

No carbon trading means a fair system of tied to the use of actual resources used. Also less people employed to bean-count the carbon.

If there were no subsidies or taxes favoring one industry over another then the cost of resourses used would be reflected in the price to the end consumer. Then the bus would be considerably cheaper in comparison to travelling by plane no matter how much either might try to fiddle the expenses.

0
0
Bronze badge
Facepalm

So let me get this straight...

If I use less 'leccy the company who I pay to send the stuff down my wiring can sell their allowance for a bit of extra profit, to someone who will use more leccy (like an airline).

So in effect, by cutting back I'll be paying the company (in carbon credits) for something I've not bought, but will not be reducing the amount of energy we (collectively) use.

So I may have a few pennies more in my pocket, but won't actually be saving the planet.

Time to put the kettle on.

3
0
Silver badge
Holmes

DOBO* again?

Carbon trading amounts basically to bribing some third-world peasant farmer not to go mechanised, so you can use the fossil fuels they would have used. And if you can't see the flaws in that, I have a brand new iPhone 6 you might want to buy -- oh, the screen's a bit scratched on this one, I'll just nip and fetch you another from the van.

What we really should be doing is taxing virgin materials and fossil fuel extraction at source, to make renewable energy and recycled materials more competitive (stealing a finite resource from future generations is always going to look cheaper than paying what it actually costs). And with more demand for renewable energy and recycled materials, supply will increase (besides offsetting the fixed costs of renewable energy tech, there are landfill sites full of valuable resources just waiting to be mined). But that's not going to happen as long as people are getting fat on the present system.

* Department Of the Bleeding Obvious

2
0
Silver badge

Re: basing decisions to reduce carbon footprints...can increase total emissions

No surprises there for anyone with a quarter of a brain.

First off, if you're going to be able to reduce the accumulation of something in a system, you have to understand the system well enough to accurately predict what it is going to do next. We have no such system despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth in which Warmists typically engage.

Next up, the governmental group which is regulating such behavior has to interested in actually correcting such behavior. They aren't.

While I believe it is possible we will someday meet the first requirement (probably not in my lifetime but it is at least theoretically possible), I doubt we will ever meet the second.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Fuck capitalism.

The whole carbon trading scheme was never about protecting the environment, it was always a scam designed to make money for large corporations while giving them the benefit of some greenwash publicity and nothing else.

4
0

What a scam.

Global Warming is one of the biggest scams ever. The architects of carbon taxation need to be burned at the stake.

3
1
Happy

Re: What a scam.

A stake farmed from a managed, renewable source obviously

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Global warming is not the scam.

Treating it as an opportunity to skank free money from the poorest in society for the personal gain of the richest is.

1
0
Bronze badge
Mushroom

It's all about picking your pocket

And lining someone else;s pocket. the end.

2
0

And your problem is...?

"...For a typical cross-country flight in a commercial airplane, you are likely to receive 2 to 5 millirem (mrem) of radiation, less than half the radiation dose you receive from a chest x-ray. People in the United States receive an average of 360 mrem of radiation per year from natural and man-made radiation sources, which includes cosmic radiation exposure during commercial flights. "

http://www.epa.gov/radtown/cosmic.html

I wonder how this compares with the x-ray scanners?

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums