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Author Topic: Someone explain Cap N Trade to me  (Read 2462 times)
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SkyLander
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« on: July 10, 2009, 08:58:16 PM »

I understand the basic idea of it. You get so many credits to pollute. The credits can be sold and bought, only so much can be bought from the government itself and the power plant/factory can only pollute with how many credits they bought. That all makes sense to me and turns polluting into a market in of itself in a sense which works, I guess.

So one of my friends is spouting stuff about a 150% to 200% increase in his power bill with this Cap N Trade thing which from what I understand won't even go into effect until 2012 but he's a crazy conservative which my research proves in that a lot of of the mainstream conservative stuff says 100something % jump in power bills do to cap n trade.

So I found some other stuff on the WSJ saying that most likely a 7% jump in prices and that is only in states that rely on coal/crude oil/natural gas as fuel for power. Well I am in Northern Nevada and according to Nevada Energy, about 43% comes from power plants with fossil fuel. The rest comes from renewable energy, geothermal/solar and all that wonderfulness.

So realistically what would I see for a power bill? I can see a lot of plus's in the push for more efficiency, more towards renewable energy and innovations in that sector which means more jobs and all that. I just don't remember when the first cap n trade bill was put into effect whether power bills went up or down or just didn't move anyway. Sorry if my post is kind off I don't really venture into this area much. http://daily.sightline.org/daily_score/archive/2009/07/10/14-things-i-love-and-6-i-hate-about-waxman-markey that article seemed pretty good in just general information about the bill.
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brettmcd
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2009, 09:48:42 PM »

Its an energy tax, plain and simple.    Nothing more needs to be known about it and why it needs to be defeated.
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SkyLander
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2009, 10:14:25 PM »

Well from what I'm reading and what is being it said it doesn't seem that plain and simple. If it was then I wouldn't of made the post....
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Scuzz
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2009, 10:57:40 PM »

The energy tax excuse is what I have heard as well.

If you tax the use of energy you will eventually raise the price of everything. So, if you tax energy in the US where do you think businesses that use a great deal of energy will go.....
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Pyperkub
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2009, 12:32:50 AM »

Quote from: Scuzz on July 10, 2009, 10:57:40 PM

The energy tax excuse is what I have heard as well.

If you tax the use of energy you will eventually raise the price of everything. So, if you tax energy in the US where do you think businesses that use a great deal of energy will go.....

One could also say that it is a pollution tax, so that if you tax polluters, where do you think that polluters will go?  However, that doesn't answer the OP's question.  Thanks you two for enlightening us.

Cap and Trade means that there is a cap on the total amount of X (pollution in this case) which can be emitted in the production of Y (energy in this case).  Each producer of Y gets an allotment of credits to produce X, the sum total of which given out equal the cap.  Everyone with a credit can either use it to produce X, or sell it on an open market.  Thus people who need/want to produce more of X in their production of Y can buy the excess capacity from those with excess credits.  

The tax is like any other behavioral tax, in that the goal is to reduce bad behavior, such as cigarette sin taxes, etc., by putting a monetary disincentive to the bad behavior.*
Spoiler for Hiden:
Technically, these taxes aren't so much bad behavior, as they are trying to make sure that all the costs of the item are included in the cost of the item, including the public ones not included in the production cost - such as the health care costs associated with smoking which aren't inherent in the cost to produce a cigarette
 The nuance here is that this allows the market to determine what (if any) the actual tax will be, rather than it being a flat tax such as a cigarette tax of $1/pack or whatever.  Additionally, because the credits can now become a source of income for the producers of Y, the costs and benefits to the company of becoming more efficient at producing Y with less X are more easily calculated.

Balancing the Cap and Credits are very key to this - as an example, if you set the cap too high the goal of reducing bad behavior will not be achieved and conversely if you set the cap too low you will have artificially added too much cost to the initial product.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 12:34:48 AM by Pyperkub » Logged

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brettmcd
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2009, 01:16:26 AM »

Here is the problem, people dont seem to want the most efficient form of energy that causes no pollution, which is nuclear power.    You cant power the United States on Solar, wind, and other 'green' forms of energy, so we will still need the coal and other types of power plants we are using now and more of them.    I dont see how anyone can try and claim that this isnt an energy tax that is going to cost jobs in the US.   Any rational person can and should be able to see that.
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Moliere
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2009, 01:51:08 AM »

Quote from: brettmcd on July 11, 2009, 01:16:26 AM

Here is the problem, people dont seem to want the most efficient form of energy that causes no pollution, which is nuclear power. 
I don't know if used uranium rods would count as "no pollution".  icon_wink

Cap-and-Trade Delusions

It's another version of the broken window fallacy:

Quote
Another way to look at the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade proposal is that it functions like a tax increase. Under the bill, about half of all revenues raised by the cap-and-trade system between 2012 and 2025 will be recycled to businesses and consumers, with the other half spent by federal government. While recycling revenues is better than nothing, it introduces inefficiencies because the process distorts how workers and businesses would have spent the money had it not been collected and redistributed by the government.
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Ironrod
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2009, 02:20:10 AM »

Quote from: Moliere on July 11, 2009, 01:51:08 AM

Quote from: brettmcd on July 11, 2009, 01:16:26 AM

Here is the problem, people dont seem to want the most efficient form of energy that causes no pollution, which is nuclear power. 
I don't know if used uranium rods would count as "no pollution".  icon_wink
Yeah, solve that and brett wins the thread. I hear that nuclear fusion is just a few decades away....  icon_neutral
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brettmcd
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2009, 02:32:53 AM »

Quote from: Ironrod on July 11, 2009, 02:20:10 AM

Quote from: Moliere on July 11, 2009, 01:51:08 AM

Quote from: brettmcd on July 11, 2009, 01:16:26 AM

Here is the problem, people dont seem to want the most efficient form of energy that causes no pollution, which is nuclear power. 
I don't know if used uranium rods would count as "no pollution".  icon_wink
Yeah, solve that and brett wins the thread. I hear that nuclear fusion is just a few decades away....  icon_neutral

Under the concepts of cap and trade they dont produce pollution, please dont be intentionally dense as is the norm around here for so many of our liberal posters.
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SkyLander
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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2009, 04:13:52 PM »

I'm all for nuclear power. I also understand that while renewable energy would be able to power a lot of homes it doesn't provide the amount of power a lot of industry needs. I mean like wind/solar power since at least from what I understand it is inconsistent. I think hydro and wind can be rather consistent.

Nobody has really said how much of an increase or decrease cap n trade will cause to a power bill though or is there just not enough information to give a rough guess?
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Doopri
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2009, 10:37:14 PM »

okay im going from memory here so bear with me...

the epa and cbo were both saying about a 100 - 150 dollar a year increase by 2020 for the average family.  they are (especially cbo) notoriously wrong and it WONT be this low.  well correction, it will be for some people as part of the bill includes an energy rebate (a negative tax) to be incorporated, for those who would be most hurt

some of the wilder republicans were tossing around a figure of an average of 3000 dollars which is, equally, wrong.  the author of the MIT study that the 3K number originally came out of has said that number totally misrepresents his findings, and its more likely about 1500 dollars a year by 2020.  this is also the number figured by some of the more conservative thinktanks, heritage among them.

SOOOOO... my best guess at this point is that itll be about 300 - 1200 dollars a year for the average household, by 2020 (im totally guessing on these but i think its a fair and educated guess).  and some of that cost will be mitigated by a tax rebate, especially for the lowest income earners

sound about right to everyone?
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Victoria Raverna
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2009, 11:39:19 PM »

I think it'll be more useful if those research give the number in percentage. 3000 for  a family that spend 3000 yearly is 100% increase, but 3000 for a family that has mansion that use up 30000 yearly is just 10% increase.
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Canuck
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2009, 11:49:08 PM »

It encourages companies to invest in R&D and become more efficient.  Unless there some sort of impetus for change, companies will simply maintain the status quo.  Cap and trade provides that impetus.  I don't see how becoming more efficient and reducing waste will lead to an increase in cost-it should go the other way in fact.  As well, companies that can significantly reduce their carbon imprint can then take those extra credits which they no longer need and then sell them for profit.
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Ironrod
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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2009, 02:04:05 AM »

I understand the trade part, but not the cap part. OK, the government declares a finite allowable amount of carbon emissions. What happens if the total amount of carbon emitted exceeds the aggregate cap? If there aren't enough credits available for polluters to buy...what happens? Do they get shut down? Or do they pay a fine and keep on polluting? If the object is to reduce the cap over time, won't credits be perpetually in short supply? Can a company buy up credits it doesn't need and resell them at a higher market price? Who even measures carbon emissions, and how? Is every factory and power plant in the USA inspected?
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brettmcd
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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2009, 02:15:23 AM »

Quote from: Canuck on July 12, 2009, 11:49:08 PM

It encourages companies to invest in R&D and become more efficient.  Unless there some sort of impetus for change, companies will simply maintain the status quo.  Cap and trade provides that impetus.  I don't see how becoming more efficient and reducing waste will lead to an increase in cost-it should go the other way in fact.  As well, companies that can significantly reduce their carbon imprint can then take those extra credits which they no longer need and then sell them for profit.

How will it do that?   The companies will just pass the higher energy prices onto consumers, its not like we can shop around for electricity and natural gas and other home based utilities.   Also, how things will become more expensive is the most effecent ways to produce energy currently are carbon based.   That isnt going to change any time soon.
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Doopri
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« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2009, 03:51:15 AM »

Quote
OK, the government declares a finite allowable amount of carbon emissions. What happens if the total amount of carbon emitted exceeds the aggregate cap? If there aren't enough credits available for polluters to buy...what happens?

the fine has to be something so cost prohibitive as to make it completely unprofitable to exceed the cap.  it cant become (like has happened in the past and continues to happen) just another "cost of business" or else it simply wont create the benefits were shooting for

as far as who, how and how often - im guessing the govt, and it will be an "audit" type process like taxes?  and devices (like an electric meter) can be installed to monitor the emissions, or the emissions can be calculated based on the amount of inputs (stoichiometry for the win! smile)?   im guessing anyway

and brett as a recent example - canada has these nasty fields i guess what youd call oily sand, with chips and flakes of oil-like rocks in it (im REALLY simplifying here smile).  everyone knew they were there but no one ever attempted to extract actual, useable petroleum type products from them.  but as the price of oil went up, extracting this stuff became progressively more "profitable" at the margins.  when oil hit some magic number, it became viable to begin extracting this stuff, and investing / utilizing the technology to do so.  so it came to market.  i imagine the idea is something like that here.  what isnt wanted is something like what happened with ethanol - were temporary whims and a bunch of subsidies resulted in ethanol processing factories, enormous ethanol orders and the like - and then it was utterly forgotten within a period of about 2 freakin' years - resulting in wasted infrastructure, a lot of growers with buyers defaulting on corn contracts and brand spankin' new ethanol production factories that didnt open for a single day
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Blackadar
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2009, 12:55:27 PM »

So, am I to take it that some of you libertarians believe that companies should have the right to spew whatever they want into the air?  And that the negative effects of such activity - climate change, health problems and even intangible things like diminished views from a mountanside - are individiual problems that people should just learn to live with? 

Seriously, exactly what is government's role here?  Are they allowed to regulate businesses so things like bhopal, love canal, sevesto don't happen?  Can government regulate CFCs so our ozone layer doesn't get depleted?  If so, then why can they not institute a cap-and-trade system to use the power of the free market to regulate the amount of greenhouse gasses that scientifically proven to contribute to climate change?
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2009, 03:23:17 PM »

Quote from: Blackadar on July 13, 2009, 12:55:27 PM

So, am I to take it that some of you libertarians believe that companies should have the right to spew whatever they want into the air?  And that the negative effects of such activity - climate change, health problems and even intangible things like diminished views from a mountanside - are individiual problems that people should just learn to live with? 

Seriously, exactly what is government's role here?  Are they allowed to regulate businesses so things like bhopal, love canal, sevesto don't happen?  Can government regulate CFCs so our ozone layer doesn't get depleted?  If so, then why can they not institute a cap-and-trade system to use the power of the free market to regulate the amount of greenhouse gasses that scientifically proven to contribute to climate change?
There is a problem with your argument - so many people don't believe that the ozone is being depleted.  They think it's all a big myth.  It's hard to convince them that carbon emissions are a bad thing if the fundamental reason we want to do it is somehow a 'government conspiracy'.   
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« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2009, 03:52:22 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on July 13, 2009, 03:23:17 PM

Quote from: Blackadar on July 13, 2009, 12:55:27 PM

So, am I to take it that some of you libertarians believe that companies should have the right to spew whatever they want into the air?  And that the negative effects of such activity - climate change, health problems and even intangible things like diminished views from a mountanside - are individiual problems that people should just learn to live with? 

Seriously, exactly what is government's role here?  Are they allowed to regulate businesses so things like bhopal, love canal, sevesto don't happen?  Can government regulate CFCs so our ozone layer doesn't get depleted?  If so, then why can they not institute a cap-and-trade system to use the power of the free market to regulate the amount of greenhouse gasses that scientifically proven to contribute to climate change?
There is a problem with your argument - so many people don't believe that the ozone is being depleted.  They think it's all a big myth.  It's hard to convince them that carbon emissions are a bad thing if the fundamental reason we want to do it is somehow a 'government conspiracy'.   

Yes, we all know only Democrats care about the environment and pollution.  Roll Eyes  Which countries are the worst polluters? Those with the weakest private property laws. Look at any of the former communist countries. East Germany was a slag pit compared to West Germany. The Berlin Wall is filled with asbestos against their own regulations against the use of asbestos. If you want to reduce and minimize pollution the answer is to extend and protect private property laws.

Quote from: Ayn Rand
If a man creates a physical danger or harm to others, which extends beyond the line of his own property, such as unsanitary conditions, or even loud noise, the law can and does hold him responsible.

As for Blackadar's usual libertarian baiting there have been interesting debates on the subject.
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Blackadar
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« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2009, 04:24:43 PM »

Quote from: Moliere on July 13, 2009, 03:52:22 PM

As for Blackadar's usual libertarian baiting there have been interesting debates on the subject.

Gee, I didn't know that asking some direct questions is now considered "baiting".  Your inability to provide responses to simple questions regarding your brand of libertarianism is yet more evidence that it can't hold up to even rudimentary scrutiny.  I'm starting to be convinced it's not that you won't provide answers, it's that you can't.

It's interesting that you say the countries that are the worst polluters are those with weak private property laws when the USA produces more greenhouse gasses than any other country in the world, not to mention over 1,000 superfund sites and a long track record of environmental disasters.  If not for governmental regulation, how many more would we have?  Or do you honestly believe that we'd have fewer environmental problems with less governmental regulation?
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Knightshade Dragon
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« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2009, 05:03:51 PM »

Quote
Yes, we all know only Democrats care about the environment and pollution.
  Hmm...I didn't bring politics into it.  Thanks for helping clarify though.  I spent the last week talking with Republicans on my wife's side of the family that vehemently stood their ground that the ozone isn't depleting.  How?  Saying "Well, look at the south pole.  Plenty of ice there!  See!  No problem"  Pointing out that there isn't a gaping hole there just plug their ears and say "La la la la can't hear you" even more.  That's right guys...fuck those stupid polar bears and penguins for not having proper travel plans to move to the South pole.  I can't say that's representative of all Republicans, but it was an interesting cross section. 

Quote
Which countries are the worst polluters? Those with the weakest private property laws. Look at any of the former communist countries. East Germany was a slag pit compared to West Germany. The Berlin Wall is filled with asbestos against their own regulations against the use of asbestos. If you want to reduce and minimize pollution the answer is to extend and protect private property laws.
Apples to oranges.  You can't dismiss .gov regulation because somebody broke the rules.  That's like saying we can't have the internet because some people use it for child porn.  There are law breakers everywhere. 

Quote from: Ayn Rand
If a man creates a physical danger or harm to others, which extends beyond the line of his own property, such as unsanitary conditions, or even loud noise, the law can and does hold him responsible.
This makes me laugh.  Who is going to hold somebody responsible for having 10 cars on their lawn?  Oh right, local government.  But you can't have the .gov telling you what to do!  You aren't hurting anyone.  It's an eyesore though, so local laws against that kind of thing get passed and it's not hurting anyone anymore.  So who fixed that problem?  Government!  But we want less government.  Damn the cycle...
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« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2009, 05:20:06 PM »

Quote from: Blackadar on July 13, 2009, 04:24:43 PM

Quote from: Moliere on July 13, 2009, 03:52:22 PM

As for Blackadar's usual libertarian baiting there have been interesting debates on the subject.

Gee, I didn't know that asking some direct questions is now considered "baiting".  Your inability to provide responses to simple questions regarding your brand of libertarianism is yet more evidence that it can't hold up to even rudimentary scrutiny.  I'm starting to be convinced it's not that you won't provide answers, it's that you can't.

Since you obviously didn't bother to read the article I quoted about libertarians discussing the issue and possible solutions allow me to quote part of Ron Bailey's response:

Quote
As Lynne very ably pointed out, one of the problems with global warming is that it exists in a commons—that means the atmosphere is very hard to divide up and make into private property.

When you have an environmental commons, we typically have two ways of handling that problem. One is that we privatize it. In many environmental issues, we’re moving in that direction. Fisheries, for example, are being privatized. Forests are being privatized. Water resources can be privatized as well.

The problem with air pollution—and global warming is a form of air pollution—is that I don’t see a good, easy way to privatize it. The transaction costs are too large. And if you can’t privatize it, you have to regulate it. So now the question is: What’s the least bad way to regulate? And that is why I’ve come out in favor of a carbon tax.

As a good libertarian, I thought I would like cap and trade. The problem is I’ve been watching the European attempt to do this, and it’s a complete disaster. The governments, not surprisingly, cheat constantly. Their carbon market collapsed a year ago because the governments allocated more permits for carbon emissions than were necessary to cover what was being emitted, so naturally the price went to zero. And if the Europeans can’t pull this off, how could you expect the world to pull this off?

I'm not saying that Bailey is correct, but the discussion about alternatives should be had.
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« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2009, 05:23:37 PM »

Quote from: Blackadar on July 13, 2009, 12:55:27 PM

So, am I to take it that some of you libertarians believe that companies should have the right to spew whatever they want into the air?  And that the negative effects of such activity - climate change, health problems and even intangible things like diminished views from a mountanside - are individiual problems that people should just learn to live with? 

Seriously, exactly what is government's role here?  Are they allowed to regulate businesses so things like bhopal, love canal, sevesto don't happen?  Can government regulate CFCs so our ozone layer doesn't get depleted?  If so, then why can they not institute a cap-and-trade system to use the power of the free market to regulate the amount of greenhouse gasses that scientifically proven to contribute to climate change?


Since the Feds are giving away money why not have the Feds pay for upgrades to polluting business's which would be re-paid thru profits or future business. If we force the changes on industries here the industries will just go somewhere that doesn't regulate their pollution thus adding to the problems of the world......
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« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2009, 05:27:25 PM »

Quote
Their carbon market collapsed a year ago because the governments allocated more permits for carbon emissions than were necessary to cover what was being emitted

this is exactly the type of problem that has to be avoided.  otherwise it becomes (like so much of politics) a meaningless gesture.  "look we can all smile and be happy because we did something, yay!"

in the end, the policy becomes a thin veneer for actually doing absolutely nothing - which im guessing was exactly the object of those who had the highest influence in creation of the (non)policy.  its not about substantive policy, its about PR.  its like how in the us we now have all these companies "going green"... by running commercials saying how "green" they are

people need to open their eyes and figure out that the words do NOT make it so
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« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2009, 05:29:17 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on July 13, 2009, 05:03:51 PM

Quote
Which countries are the worst polluters? Those with the weakest private property laws. Look at any of the former communist countries. East Germany was a slag pit compared to West Germany. The Berlin Wall is filled with asbestos against their own regulations against the use of asbestos. If you want to reduce and minimize pollution the answer is to extend and protect private property laws.
Apples to oranges.  You can't dismiss .gov regulation because somebody broke the rules.  That's like saying we can't have the internet because some people use it for child porn.  There are law breakers everywhere. 
This isn't about breaking the rules, it's about the fact that these countries had no rules about private property. If the government owns the means of production and pollutes the citizens had no recourse. You can't sue the government over your local river being polluted. Without private property people had no incentive to avoid pollution. There were no repercussions and lack of competition meant there was no incentive for productivity.

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on July 13, 2009, 05:03:51 PM

Quote from: Ayn Rand
If a man creates a physical danger or harm to others, which extends beyond the line of his own property, such as unsanitary conditions, or even loud noise, the law can and does hold him responsible.
This makes me laugh.  Who is going to hold somebody responsible for having 10 cars on their lawn?  Oh right, local government.  But you can't have the .gov telling you what to do!  You aren't hurting anyone.  It's an eyesore though, so local laws against that kind of thing get passed and it's not hurting anyone anymore.  So who fixed that problem?  Government!  But we want less government.  Damn the cycle...
Ayn Rand wasn't an Anarchist (hated them in fact) and neither am I. I live in an HOA that has a rule about having cars on the street and on your lawn. I chose to live by those CCR's. The same is true for any local government and the neighborhood rules you choose to live by.
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« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2009, 05:31:15 PM »

Quote
If we force the changes on industries here the industries will just go somewhere that doesn't regulate their pollution thus adding to the problems of the world......

this will only occur IF the costs of relocating said business and transporting said business' goods back to the us are cheaper than compliance

and of course many of the polluters, by the very nature of what they are doing CANT relocate.  im talking things like local power generation.  you cant exactly "outsource" the power grid of the sunbelt to china you know?
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« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2009, 05:33:40 PM »

Quote from: Doopri on July 13, 2009, 05:31:15 PM

Quote
If we force the changes on industries here the industries will just go somewhere that doesn't regulate their pollution thus adding to the problems of the world......

this will only occur IF the costs of relocating said business and transporting said business' goods back to the us are cheaper than compliance

and of course many of the polluters, by the very nature of what they are doing CANT relocate.  im talking things like local power generation.  you cant exactly "outsource" the power grid of the sunbelt to china you know?

No you cant, which is why so many of us will be paying sharply higher energy bills if this crap becomes law.    The companies will just pass the costs on to us, and we will just have to pay it.    Thats change I guess, not much hope though.
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« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2009, 05:43:40 PM »

ya brett that is really the heart of the issue.  the idea (and im keeping my fingers crossed too with you on this) is that some of the costs i mentioned above (on average HOUSEHOLD increases) stay true, and that the legislation comes packed with some form of rebate for those at the very bottom who would be most devastated by any increase

but im a very conservative person and if even SOME of what is said about the results of inaction is true, then we simply cannot continue doing what we are doing.  the results would be catastrophic.  maybe not for us (though at this point...) but certainly for our children and their children. 

someone already mentioned something about superfund sites in this thread.  that was the last time inaction in a similar area had a profound effect - and that effect is that to this day there are areas (im looking at you pacific northwest) that are areas of this country that are still polluted, dangerous and forever altered because we decided we didnt give a damn
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Scuzz
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« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2009, 05:45:35 PM »

Quote from: Doopri on July 13, 2009, 05:31:15 PM

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If we force the changes on industries here the industries will just go somewhere that doesn't regulate their pollution thus adding to the problems of the world......

this will only occur IF the costs of relocating said business and transporting said business' goods back to the us are cheaper than compliance

and of course many of the polluters, by the very nature of what they are doing CANT relocate.  im talking things like local power generation.  you cant exactly "outsource" the power grid of the sunbelt to china you know?


true,

but who would have thought our clothes, toys, cars, electronics etc would all go that way.....
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« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2009, 02:58:56 PM »

I do not deny we are doing damage to the environment, given the way we currently produce and use electricity.  My biggest concern with Cap N Trade is what does this do to an area such as Western PA/West Virginia, that has a large percentage of jobs in coal mining/coal power plants.  While coal can and should be used more efficiently, many groups are fighting companies like Consol Energy and others who are trying to improve how coal is used.  Living where I do, Solar and Wind on a large scale are just currently not feasible.  The sheer amount of land that would have to be cleared to put up enough windmills would likely do just as much if not more damage as burning coal currently does.  The idea of solar is even more bleak.  Now that said as an individual, I could make use of a combination of Solar and a personal Windmill to offset my electric demands on the system, but it would be at a cost that would easily take 20+ years to just break even.  So you have companies like Consol who are looking to make plants more efficient, but are being blocked because it still involves coal, so in the end they will be getting hit hard under Cap N Trade.  This cost will likely force considerable rate raises as well as job loss in our area.

Quite honestly I think a bigger benefit would be seen by giving individuals more incentive to reduce energy usage, thus reducing the load on the grid.  I paid $20,000 to install a geothermal system in my house.  Given my current yearly savings over my previous oil based system, it will take me about 10 years to recoup that cost.  Of that $20,000, I was able to get a $3,000 tax credit, bringing my cost down to $17,000 eventually.  However I could have gone with a new oil furnace and AC unit for about $6,000... when you have such price disparity most individuals don't have the money to upgrade to the more cost effective systems.
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« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2009, 05:29:25 PM »

The same applies to solar systems.

Wind turbines in the SF area have been objected to by enviromentalists because they harm birds.  You can't have it both ways boys.
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Doopri
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« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2009, 09:36:46 PM »

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Wind turbines in the SF area have been objected to by enviromentalists because they harm birds.  You can't have it both ways boys.

this one always amused the hell out of me as i know in my area (NE) all the "environmentalists" who suddenly came out against them because of the poor little birdies - were coincidentally all the folks with beachfront property smile

(in NE when we talk about turbines, more often than not theyre going to be offshore)
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« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2009, 01:50:21 AM »

Quote from: Doopri on July 15, 2009, 09:36:46 PM


(in NE when we talk about turbines, more often than not theyre going to be offshore)

This is actually a hot-button topic in the Berkshires (western Mass.) right now. I'm heading out there tomorrow, and expect to hear more about the natives' perspective.
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« Reply #33 on: July 16, 2009, 04:11:06 AM »

Quote from: Doopri on July 15, 2009, 09:36:46 PM

this one always amused the hell out of me as i know in my area (NE) all the "environmentalists" who suddenly came out against them because of the poor little birdies - were coincidentally all the folks with beachfront property smile

The two of you are being overly dismissive of an actual problem that requires mitigation - it's not just that "birds" are killed by turbines.  Raptors across the central valley, most notably golden eagles, are killed by the thousands annually - that's a violation of the bald/golden eagle protection act.   It's not treehugger propaganda.
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« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2009, 03:18:44 PM »

Quote from: Brendan on July 16, 2009, 04:11:06 AM

Quote from: Doopri on July 15, 2009, 09:36:46 PM

this one always amused the hell out of me as i know in my area (NE) all the "environmentalists" who suddenly came out against them because of the poor little birdies - were coincidentally all the folks with beachfront property smile

The two of you are being overly dismissive of an actual problem that requires mitigation - it's not just that "birds" are killed by turbines.  Raptors across the central valley, most notably golden eagles, are killed by the thousands annually -   

Cite
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« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2009, 03:43:57 PM »

Quote from: Brendan on July 16, 2009, 04:11:06 AM

Quote from: Doopri on July 15, 2009, 09:36:46 PM

this one always amused the hell out of me as i know in my area (NE) all the "environmentalists" who suddenly came out against them because of the poor little birdies - were coincidentally all the folks with beachfront property smile

The two of you are being overly dismissive of an actual problem that requires mitigation - it's not just that "birds" are killed by turbines.  Raptors across the central valley, most notably golden eagles, are killed by the thousands annually - that's a violation of the bald/golden eagle protection act.   It's not treehugger propaganda.

Yes please cite. My first reaction is that the wind turbines are mostly in the passes at Altamont near SF and I believe near the Grapevine. There are also some near the San Luis Resovoir. I would not describe that as across the valley (trivial). Also I have seen nothing in the news about raptors here.

Now, on the plus side the valley is becoming a big location for solar technology and solar farms.
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« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2009, 03:49:14 PM »

Quote from: Ho-Hum on July 16, 2009, 03:18:44 PM

Quote from: Brendan on July 16, 2009, 04:11:06 AM

Quote from: Doopri on July 15, 2009, 09:36:46 PM

this one always amused the hell out of me as i know in my area (NE) all the "environmentalists" who suddenly came out against them because of the poor little birdies - were coincidentally all the folks with beachfront property smile

The two of you are being overly dismissive of an actual problem that requires mitigation - it's not just that "birds" are killed by turbines.  Raptors across the central valley, most notably golden eagles, are killed by the thousands annually -  

Cite

Your first post here, and you didn't even go for a complete sentence?

Enjoy.

Quote
The study estimated that between 881 and 1,300 raptors are killed annually in the APWRA. For all birds combined, that number is estimated at between 1,766 and 4,721. These estimates translate to 1.5 to 2.2 raptor fatalities/MW/year and 3.0 to 8.1 bird fatalities/MW/year. Over 40 different bird species are represented in the fatalities. Among these, researchers estimate that the APWRA wind turbines are annually killing 75 to 116 golden eagles, 209 to 300 red-tailed hawks, 73 to 333 American kestrels, and 99 to 380 burrowing owls.

APWRA is the Altamont Pass wind farm.

Golden eagle populations are not sustainable because of turbine deaths, as evidenced by another recent study by the state.

Quote
However, these findings of continued occupancy cannot be extended to indicate that the WRA has a benign effect on the population of golden eagles within the range of direct mortality and recruitment demand. The WRA decreases the resiliency of that population by reducing its demographic potential. Turbine blade strikes kill more eagles than are produced within the area of our survey, thereby demanding a flow of recruits from outside the area to fill breeding vacancies as they occur. For example, the authors calculate that 50 fatalities per year would consume the annual production of 78 pairs of golden eagles if all eagles were killed as recent fledglings and the annual reproductive rate were comparable to that estimated during our earlier studies (0.632 fledglings per territorial pair). However, the actual impact is far greater. The average age of death of turbine-killed eagles in our sample was 44 months. Applying the point estimates of age specific mortality reported by Hunt (2002), the probability of a fledgling surviving to that age in the absence of blade-strike mortality is 63.3%. Fifty eagles annually killed by turbine blades would thus account each year for what remains of the issue of 124 pairs and an additional 43 pairs would be necessary to compensate annual deaths among those breeders. In all, therefore, 50 turbine blade-strikes occurring annually would require the existence of 167 pairs of golden eagles, that population existing at the demographic “break even” point, i.e., producing no buffer of recruits in excess of that required to sustain itself.
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« Reply #37 on: July 16, 2009, 03:57:42 PM »

Quote from: Scuzz on July 16, 2009, 03:43:57 PM

Yes please cite. My first reaction is that the wind turbines are mostly in the passes at Altamont near SF and I believe near the Grapevine. There are also some near the San Luis Resovoir. I would not describe that as across the valley (trivial). Also I have seen nothing in the news about raptors here.

Now, on the plus side the valley is becoming a big location for solar technology and solar farms.

What pointless quibbles.  So you don't think Tracy's in the valley?  The Tehachapi wind farm, near Bakersfield, is enormous, and is also in the central valley.
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Scuzz
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« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2009, 04:00:37 PM »

Based on the number cited I would say the population around the turbines may be impacted but there are therefore huge populations (i cannot cite but am extrapolating based on your figures) in other parts of the state. I know lakes near me (Millerton and Friant) are thick with Golden Eagles. And since the turbines are located in passes the other foothill areas and lower lakes (and mid-lakes) populations should not be effected.
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« Reply #39 on: July 16, 2009, 04:03:41 PM »

Quote from: Scuzz on July 16, 2009, 04:00:37 PM

Based on the number cited I would say the population around the turbines may be impacted but there are therefore huge populations (i cannot cite but am extrapolating based on your figures) in other parts of the state. I know lakes near me (Millerton and Friant) are thick with Golden Eagles. And since the turbines are located in passes the other foothill areas and lower lakes (and mid-lakes) populations should not be effected.

Oh, "you would say"?  Where's your citations?  Also, please explain how the federal protection act is inoperable here.
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