The Climate in Emergency

A weekly blog on science, news, and ideas related to climate change

Your Tuesday Update–At Last!

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Hi, all!

I was hoping to post the article on batteries today, but that’s not happening. So I’m falling back on the brief, ordinary, Tuesday update.

Bloomberg Business opines that carbon pricing may be about to become a real thing, globally. You can read the article by clicking here. I’m very much encouraged. A properly run carbon market could be exactly the thing we need. After all, we know that human-caused climate change is extremely expensive, but by and large the people who are most responsible for the emissions–the political and business leaders who create our infrastructure and make other large-scale choices–do not bear the cost themselves. Ralph Nader–remember him?–had a wonderful phrase for this sort of thing; “privatizing the profits and socializing the cost.”

A well-run carbon market would make the people responsible for the pollution bear its cost themselves. Not only is that fair, it will almost certainly result in a dramatic reduction of emissions.

I am not an economist myself, but I suspect that to be “well run” a carbon market must be mandatory. No choosing to buy carbon offsets to make yourself look “greener.” In a voluntary system, those who want to look better can pay some money (and not change their behavior) while everyone else opts out of the program (and doesn’t change their behavior, either). Only if the act of polluting automatically and unavoidably costs something will the program work.

Only then will it reflect reality.


Author: Caroline Ailanthus

I am a creative science writer. That is, most of my writing is creative rather than technical, but my topic is usually science. I enjoy explaining things and exploring ideas. I have one published novel and another on the way. I have a master's degree in Conservation Biology and I work full-time as a writer.

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