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05/15/2011

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Yannick

Posted on What a story. I was one of those kids caught up in the Davy Crockett cartze in the 50s and being a John Wayne fan thoroughly loved the movie. Here is something we should all doget out our copies of the Constitution and read it. I am an unemployed Civics/History teacher and have a lot of time on my hands, so that is exactly what I have been doing. Guess what I found? 1) Article One, Section 7, Clause 12: congress shall have power to raise and support armies, but no appropriations shall be longer than for a term of two years. (How long as this idiotic war been going on in the Mid-East?) 2) More importantlycheck this out: 2) Article Two,Section 4: The President, VP, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from Office for Impeachment and Conviction of Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes. (Bribery?the list goes on.) 3) Article Four, Section 4: The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a Republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion. (The slime Obama isnt the first president to ignore this one. Illegal aliens are an invasion. 4) Article Two, Section 1, Clause 5: No person except a natural born citizen or a citizen of the United States shall be eligible for the Office of President. (Guess who broke this rule?)Now lets look at history:John Marshall, First Supreme Court Justice ruled that Any law passed by Congress that is contrary to or inconsistent with the Constitution is VOID! In the case of Marbury v Madison, 1803, (taught in all law schools), any act of the Legislature, repugnant to the Consitution is VOID! The Congress has already broken the law of the land. What more do you people need before you get out your guns, gas up your SUVs, buy some good walking boots and march on Washington?

Cris

Important observations, Andrew. I think the point is most sunctccily encapsulated in one sentence you wrote above, towit If you want emissions-free innovations, price emissions. I would amplify this by suggesting that if you wish to achieve a specific outcome, it is unrealistic (and frankly wishful thinking) to rely on an inadequately structured market to do your work for you. Reliance of this type suggests either a high degree of complacency or a fundamental failure to apprehend the complexity of society or both. In the end, markets are great tools, but they still need to be shaped by policy and that can be hard work.More generally, while it may be possible to set forth a few plausible statements of principle about the way markets function (eg scarcity leads to increased prices in light of continuing high demand and increased prices lead to a search for substitutes ), the outcomes arising out of the interactions between resources, technological innovation and markets over time are fundamentally unpredictable. Thus, if societies (or more precisely groups within societies, whether local, regional or global) wish to at least shape the field of possible outcomes in a context where markets are some of the key tools available to us, the proper conceptual space in which to operate is that in which social norms are formed and, in the case of the modern state, regulatory powers are exercised. (Obviously, I don't accept the fundamentalist idea that free and open markets are themselves desirable outcomes markets are tools; important tools, but tools nevertheless.)Given this, regarding carbon emissions, the best way to proceed may be by getting adequate societal agreement to put a price on all carbon emissions in order to better shape the market for energy (as your remark quoted above suggests). Then, as non-carbon substitutes come to the fore in light of a market that discriminates against high-carbon outcomes, it will be necessary to be ever-vigilant and to deal with the deleterious consequences of some or all of those substitutes too; all in a never-ending process of adjustment.Alternatively, another possibility would be to coax into existence social norms that stigmatize excessive carbon emissions. Thus, even where the price of carbon remains low', it may well be possible to stigmatize its use through non-market social mechanisms. Such a process might mirror the growth of the organic food industry in North America and Europe which has operated through a scheme of moral choices, combined with follow-through by markets that developed in order to cater to those choices (ever more efficiently), providing options that fit within the zone of acceptable moral bounds.Returning to your original thesis, then, because of the complexity of social and economic realities, without a much more detailed picture of the world over time (which we will never have), I agree that it is impossible to state what impact specific prices of carbon will have on the anthropogenic emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere (I'm not sure that you would state your thesis in this manner, so I may be taking some liberties). We do know however that, if we can achieve a consensus to limit those emissions by such means as are available, and are willing to make the efforts required to do so, the outcome that matters CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be influenced profoundly over time regardless of the price of carbon.

Naffu

Hi Surdas, thanks for rdeaing and taking the time to comment. I have to disagree with your contention that we are not going to find ways of extracting oil or gas at lower costs than conventional. Natural gas disproves that entirely. The line between conventional and unconventional is a moving target, but shale and tight gas are unconventional by almost anyone's definition. The cost of gas out of shale wells in Alberta and elsewhere is far cheaper than out of conventional wells in the same jurisdictions. In fact, you do see people shutting-in conventional production while unconventional production expands. I do agree that we are unlikely to discover giant conventional fields. Importantly, high oil prices don't drive people to seek out low GHG energy they drive people to seek out oil or a good substitute. Some of those might be low-GHG sources, but only high GHG prices will create a preference for low-GHG oil substitutes over high GHG ones.The thought process I am trying to drive here is not to think about oil prices as purely a force which acts on the demand side, and to also think of prices as a consequence of the interaction of supply and demand, not a driver for supply or demand. For example, you argue that low oil prices will drive lower investment in renewable energy this is certainly true in a vacuum, but I would push you one step further and ask you why oil prices are low? Suppose that there is a breakthrough on par with horizontal drilling and fracking that leads to massive cost reductions in next gen biofuels. The availability of a cheap substitute for oil would drive down the price of oil, and rather than that driving down investment in the renewable energy source, it would be because of the investment (and breakthrough) in the renewable energy source. I think it's tempting to think of oil sands and renewable fuels as fundamentally different because of their environmental footprint. Unfortunately, in the absence of pricing policies on those environmental attributes, the race is simply to provide energy to the market which is signaling value through the price. Whether the ramp up is slow or fast, the technology which can best do this will be the one which is adopted the fastest. thanks again for rdeaing.

chrisitan

Better late than never.

Toni

, I think it is generally true that ppoele look at oil and old technology and wind power as new technology, under the presumption that learning rates are exponential and so cost decreases are going to be larger in the newer technologies. Unfortunately, all the arguments you make about oil also apply to alternative energy sources, be they biofuels or wind/solar power. There are physical limits, significant unknowns, likely unintended environmental consequences, etc. and some of them will see radical cost decreases while others will not.I agree with you 100% on the effect of extreme events in the US in shifting the policy space. If you would have seen another major hurricane or two hit the US coast the year after Katrina, I don't think there is any question that you would see much more stringent climate policy in the US and you would see a much more active role from the US on the international scene. You could ask the question of whether aggressive climate policy is more likely to happen with high oil prices, but I think the better question is to ask whether we have reasonable substitutes for carbon-based fuels if you believe in triple-digit and increasing oil prices, you are implicitly saying that the substitutes are much more expensive (true) and this also makes climate policy more challenging. On your second point, I don't think that at all. I think most ppoele (myself included) have their favorite technologies that suit their lifestyles and preferences and would like to see those take over. It isn't a big surprise to me that you are anti-electric-car, but you are certainly in favour of a different urban infrastructure model which is in many ways a bigger challenge than throwing some 30amp feeds out to ppoele's detached garages in the burbs. I am all in favour of more integrated planning (we must talk about Edmonton's Green Plan soon) and building environmental valuation into these decisions directly. We don't disagree on as much as you think.

Wiwy

okay so by my calculations if I buy a iphnoe 4 32GB on the iphnoe 40 plan, then terminate my contract ASAP, then I should pay 799 + 450 1.125 = $1305? does anyone have any experience with canceling contracts from vodafone, do they add in extra fees?(rick.ku has made 2 comments)

Sharlene

I think you're being a little siiimlstpc when it comes to a couple facets of your argument. One As more of these deep water wells are drilled or oil sands plants are built, the technology will improve, and the costs will go down. These are expensive, long to develop, capital intensive plays with uncertain flow through rates and a host of other uncertain variables. There are all kinds of natural limits you can butt up against (water use if the oil sands significantly scales up, black swans when it comes to deep water drilling). All the technology in the world isn't going to make bitumen anything less than 20-40% oil when it comes out of the ground. There are limits to natural capital that all of the tech in the world can't solve whether it makes sense from a price perspective or not. I'm fairly indifferent to the price of oil. I'm more of a fan of the price going up because of the limits it puts on the depletion of natural capital but there are a lot of moving parts here. The price of oil will do its thing. I'm currently more worried about food price volatility/climate change related matters and its effect on politics around the world. If what happened in Moscow this summer happened in Chicago (and it will eventually) you're going to be hearing a different tune from south of the border. TwoYou seem to have been sucked into this view that environmentalists are this homogenous block who all want electric cars and alternative fuel sources so we can continue to run this amazing and trouble free transportation system we have. I don't think electric cars are worth the rare earths that you dig out of the ground to run them. Looking at it from a systems perspective, our road system is an investment in infrastructure that is simply unsustainable (damn that word). Two cars a household, the investment in public space for private property (parking), ever widening roads and the vehicles that fill them, this is not planning, it's madness.

Sayantan

Posted on Having just spent a year taking care of my slolwy dying father, seeing Hereafter really affected me, because it deals with the connection of the dead and dying to the living. Like the french journalist in the film, I discovered that no one wants to acknowledge the altered state in which you find yourself after you have been intimate with dying (not quite the same as being intimate with death). Remember in one of the Harry Potter books that the children always arrive at Hogwarts pulled by horseless carriagesor so Harry thinks? After he experiences first hand the death of a friend, he can see that the carriages are in fact pulled by beautiful black horses, and realizes that only people that have seen death first hand can see the horses. (I think its black horsesit might be black dragons). Anyway, the point is that I felt very grateful to Clint for addressing this hugely significant aspect of livingknowing dyingAND addressing the fact that our culture wants to keep the experience as sterile as possible. Made me go on a mini Clint Eastwood jag, re-watching Gran Torrino and everything except the Dirty Harrys (yuck).

Sandro

Fair point. However, we are having the same disuscsions now about the need for higher oil prices to drive substitutes as we have been having for years. The key learning is that there is always substitution going on, and prices reflect the relative quality of the substitutes. I think it comes back to the reality that high oil prices do not necessarily drive the search for breakthroughs in low-emissions technologies they drive the search for oil and for good substitutes for oil. High gas prices did drive a lot of changes including a strong push for renewables, but they also drove horizontal drilling and fracturing technology because it was about creating an energy source that was a good substitute for $13/GJ conventional gas. $4/GJ shale gas is a great substitute for $13/GJ gas and can be used directly for electricity generation. Solar power, which Ontario tells me needs 42c/kWh to make money, amounts to the equivalent to about $55 dollar/GJ gas run through a power plant w 50% efficiency. So, the market was interested in replacing gas, and had no broad incentives for emissions-free or low-emissions techology, and so the cheaper substitute wins out and prices drop. My point was more that to ignore the fact that fossil fuel sources may be unlocked, that there may be technological progress in these industries and that this is at least as likely to happen in response to higher energy prices as is an emissions-free innovation. If you want emissions-free innovations, price emissions.

Camy

Tooth paste does work though lol.If the thgouht of putting toothpaste on your face repulses you, this is what I do.Crush up a plain asprin. Put just enough water in the powder to make a thick paste. Put the paste on these pimples. The redness and swelling will go down in hours!My friends think I have good skin I just use asprin! lol

Belchior

Bernie, thanks for rediang and for taking the time to make such extensive comments. I agree with your emphasis on the sentence regarding carbon prices that was the key for me as well. I am a very firm believer in carbon pricing. Not sure if you saw the RFF piece this week, but they are advocating for a global negotiation based around the price of carbon, which is a great concept. Otherwise, instead of having a discussion about the value of carbon (and thus about the value of carbon-free alternatives), you end up concentrating on who deserves more valuable emissions rights because of what they have (or have not) emitted in the past. I am not sure I would re-state my thesis as you have. I do think there are a lot of moving parts that you need to deal with, so simply assuming that a carbon price will lead to a decrease in emissions is too simplistic. I would, perhaps, restate it as there is always a carbon price which will generate emissions reductions, but the magnitude of that carbon price depends on both the value of carbon emissions in our society and how that value will evolve over time, but perhaps more importantly on the cost of substitution away from high-carbon fuels . I do find it amazing that the same groups who would often advocate for really high carbon prices seem to also advocate for the concept that emissions-free fuels will save us money, and are not more expensive. Those two ideas are fundamentally inconsistent. Thanks for rediang!AJL

Tomhas

Posted on Confucius believed in the ircpmtanoe of carrying out ancient rituals, for example, offering sacrifices and wearing certain kinds of clothes on specific occasions. He also believed that rituals must change to accommodate to new circumstances. Confucius saw such civility as being important, but harmony was far more important. Carrying out certain formalities is a way to preserve the harmony around us. Harmony derives from everyone knowing his or her place and knowing what is expected of him or her. When asked why he did not return to government service. Confucius replied that by being a good father or a good son, he was doing the most he could do for his government.

Teddy

Posted on It wont help to spend money we dont have to protect jobs that Obama wants to save. There comes a time we have to bite the bulelt and protect the borders even if it is on a volunter basis and with the borders so compromised now we need real bulelts in real guns to stop the infiltration rather than cede land to Mexico because the creep will continue until it hits middle America, if it hasnt already. Our Country should be sovereign and English speaking, undiluted and free from outside influence from the White House.

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