Posted by: John Savageau in cap and trade on
Aug 13, 2009
In the mid-1990s I frequently worked in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The city supported around 1 million people, nearly half of which were transients living in small tents called "gers." The "ger" communities had no real infrastructure such as electricity or water, and subsequently used raw coal in stoves as a primary heat source, and those people who had a little money occasionally had small gas generators for minimal electricity.
In those days unleaded gasoline did not exist in Mongolia, and transportation was either older used cars from Korea and Germany, or even more often Russian made vehicles such as Ladas or Volgas. During the winter months Ulaanbaatar's air was so bad you did not dare to wear any clothing with exposed white, as it would soon be covered with black soot, which could never really be cleaned.
Our employees were frequently ill, at a rate that is unprecedented in offices I've worked in over 35 years. Sadly, people also died at a much younger age, with respiratory problems and cancer being the most frequent cause. A very unhealthy place live and work.
Posted by: John Savageau in hr2454, cap and trade on
Aug 11, 2009
Nearly all people agree protecting the environment is critical to our continued prosperity and health. However there are arguments on how to best approach legislation that would either regulate or offer guidance on controlling pollutants and waste.
On the Cap and Trade issue, which is part of the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act (H.R. 2454, or "Waxman-Markey", most of the arguments are related to the potential high financial cost of reducing carbon dioxide. Those critical of H.R. 2454 list many reasons to reject the bill, with some of the highlights including:
- Huge increases in the cost of gasoline (due to higher taxes)
- US jobs will be lost
- The bill will not reduce our reliance on foreign energy
- Similar efforts in Europe have not been successful (under debate)
- Potential to lose control of carbon credits in open trading markets
- Does not force electric utilities using fossil fuels to re-engineer with technology that would reduce carbon
- Economies in coal-producing states could be devastated
- The American people would pay the full price of Cap and Trade with personal tax and cost hits of nearly $2000/year per family (Spectator.Org)
- Belief that global warming due to greenhouse gases is a fantasy
While it is clear much of the debate is based on politics and corporate special interest lobbying, a couple of the above points do justify further study and discussion. The most compelling argument may be the high cost of carbon credits being passed down to individuals, as well as the potential impact on jobs and local economies as fossil fuel-producing industries are forced to either re-engineer, or scale back operations.