[extropy-chat] Climate skepticism patterns

Robin Hanson rhanson at gmu.edu
Thu Jun 8 23:24:00 UTC 2006

At 05:08 PM 6/8/2006,  Hal Finney wrote:
> > > From what I can see, emissions reductions do not make economic sense
> > >at this time.
> >
> > Perhaps, but it seems to at least make sense to tax carbon at something
> > like its estimated externality cost on others.  A $14/tC tax might be a lot
> > less that some people want, an a zero tax might be better than those large
> > taxes people want, but the $14 tax would be better than either.  Then
> > you'd want to pay people who create those substitutes for reductions at
> > that same level, and if they come up with stuff great, if not fine too.
>I see two problems with this.  ... Kyoto ... is full of exceptions 
>and subsidies
>that make it highly inefficient ... While a uniform carbon tax would be much
>better, it is questionable whether our present global institutions can come up
>with anything better than Kyoto.

Yes of course, an inefficient non-uniform tax could be worse than no tax.

>The second problem is that there will probably be ways of solving the
>problem for much less than $14/tC, hence charging people that much today
>is inefficient.  ...  Teller claims that a ONE-TIME set-aside
>today of 1.74 billion dollars would generate enough interest in 50 years
>to indefinitely fund a stratospheric shield.

It depends on our confidence in these lowering prices.   I wouldn't 
just want to
talk Teller's word for it, though I'd probably believe a prediction 
market.  Paying
more than we needed to might not be near as bad as not doing as much as
we should have.

Robin Hanson  rhanson at gmu.edu  http://hanson.gmu.edu
Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326  FAX: 703-993-2323  

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