Sunday, June 7, 2009

Catching up

Concerning my post on cap and trade, I read in the "Economist" what the plans were for divvying up carbon credits: they were originally to be auctioned off. That at least makes sense and is fair to all parties. It still doesn't answer the problem of how to cope with industry growth, because I think everyone agrees that we will be expanding as we get more people. But the existing bill does not adopt this expedient: as I feared, the government will allocate most of the certificates for free, with only a small portion (around 15%, I believe) to be auctioned. Therefore, all the problems that I mentioned are likely to be real.

Even an auction system, however, fails because it attempts to set a fixed amount of allowable emissions. Since the technology of clean emissions is not infinitely flexible -- even if we wanted to produce only clean energy and were willing to pay for it, it is doubtful if we could meet our current demands with it -- any hard cap is arbitrary. As the Economist says, and I agree, a tax is by far the most logical solution.

I correctly predicted that gas prices would drop steeply after they topped $4/gallon, and I predicted again that they would rise above $2/gallon back when they were around $1.60. I don't put much value in my predictions, but it is nice to out-guess T. Boone Pickens, who said last year that oil would never again drop below $100 per barrel. I wonder if those opposed to our depence on oil shouldn't favour more drilling in America (Alaska and coastal waters especially)? If we didn't have so many reserves, there would be no argument about moving to other energy sources. They probably fear -- correctly -- that it would take longer to reach this point than they want to admit. I've also read about promising technology to farm protozoa that absorb carbon dioxide and fall to the bottom of the oceans, thereby returning carbon back to the earth and out of the atmosphere. I will be interested to see whether, if this method turns out to be effective, ecologically-minded groups will support it and stop complaining about our burning fossil fuels. Well, it's not so much that I'm curious, as I feel certain that most of them will remain opposed to oil. There is something atavistic in their opposition to industrial civilization ("love your mother" and the like -- worth another post) that makes it likely they will come up with some other reason to hate internal combustion engines. I'm more looking forward to that time, so I can point out that they're being disingenuous in shifting the reasons behind their opposition.

Driving by the "Lighthouse Worship Center" again this weekend, I noticed that the sign outside contained a quote from the Bible, and also a reference to the Holy Spirit. I presume, therefore, that it is a Christian church, though why it avoids saying as much in its name is beyond me.

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