Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Greed is Green (especially if you can’t spell)

Posted by Evan Herrnstadt on December 12, 2007

NYMEX has created a Green Exchange to handle trading of various carbon allowances. There is a lot to say about the accountability and regulatory implications of this new insitution. However, I read about it first on Matter Blog, and this reaction is really what caught my eye:

Sure, it is the rich companies getting richer, but if we are to address climate change, it will be greed more than altruism that makes it happen.

Greed is such a loaded word as it lumps the creation of incentives to reduce carbon emissions in with a deadly sin. However, I think it’s good that someone who would characterize “response to economic incentive” as a euphemism for greed is acknowledging its crucial role in mitigating climate change. Surely, this is an encouraging trend.

Note: On the flip side, altruism can sometimes be quite the euphemism itself.

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