Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Slate, you disappoint me

Posted by Danny Morris on April 23, 2009

Apparently, not everyone took my Earth Day advice. Dozens (ok, like 1 dozen) of intrepid conservative souls managed to find their way down to the EPA main offices here in DC to protest Earth Day. Good for them, sticking it to stupid Earth and everyone who likes it. To be fair, according to Slate, they are not hating on the Earth or its essentially worthless holiday. As for what they are hating on, judge for yourself:

What they oppose is Obama’s environmental tool kit. Instead of regulation-based solutions like cap-and-trade or government-subsidized wind farms or public conservation, they support “market-based environmentalism.”

Can you identify what is wrong with that statement? Are you kidding me? I can understand the protesters themselves not understanding how eye-gougingly stupid they sound, but what the EFF is the journalist doing? If you do bother to read the article, you’ll see that never once does it ever bother to point out the fact that cap-and-trade is a market-based environmental solution. I understand that a lot of people don’t understand exactly how cap-and-trade systems work, but let’s try to be a little informative. Please. That’s sort of the point of journalism, even light, fluffy, feature-style, internet-based journalism. For the love of God, try to be informative.

It’s not that hard to use the googles to figure out how cap-and-trade works. You’d think with the word ‘trade’ in the phrase might make someone think it could potentially involve some sort of economic mechanisms. Sigh.

3 Responses to “Slate, you disappoint me”

  1. Carlos Ferreira said

    I agree with your points. Note, however, that subsidized wind farms and public conservation are not exactly market-based.

    Either way, I suppose those people just wanted to manifest against Obama, that’s it. Last week, The Economist had a piece on the growing divisiveness in American politics, and in these situations, any excuse is fair game.

  2. jack said

    Cap and Trade is not market based. It is the same thing as a carbon tax.

    • Carlos Ferreira said

      It is not the same.

      It has a cap, which is a total limit on emissions, making permits a scarce good. Scarce permits are priced accordingly to their scarcity, by the law of supply and demand. It’s a market-based instrument in the sense that it creates a new market.

      A tax places a cost per unit of emission, thus providing incentives for reduction of emissions. It modifies existing markets, so it’s also a market-based approach.

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