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Selling CO2 on EBAY

Could the climate crisis be curbed by auctioning off our country's carbon to the highest bidder? I'm starting to think it's more than possible, it might be the best chance we've got. Plus, you might end up with a check from Big Coal in your mailbox at the canada generic cialis end of every month. Can't argue with that. So how does it work?

Right now there are two big-picture ideas for reducing CO2 emissions quickly:
  1. A Carbon Tax
  2. Cap and viagra generic Trade legislation
A carbon tax would simply increase the cost of any fuel based on the amount of CO2 it produces. Unfortunately, this means taxing people to drive to work, especially poor people, because you can't telecommute to delivering pizzas or cleaning bathrooms. Additionally, no politician would ever vote for a carbon tax in the USA. It just won't happen.

Cap and Trade legislation basically makes allowances for polluters to pollute to generic pack cialis a certain level, and then they have to buy carbon credits from other companies that are using less carbon than they've allocated. The bad news here is that the system rewards current polluters who have done nothing to curb their emissions yet by giving them the highest caps.

But there's an unexplored third option at hand. Something clever and simple and with relatively few flaws: Carbon Auctions.

Here's how it would work:
At the beginning of ever year, the US government says how many tons of carbon they're going to allow to be released into the air by corporations. Then the put that amount of carbon up for auction. Companies then bid for the right to emit carbon dioxide. So coal plants would have to buy enormous numbers of carbon credits, or incorporate sequestration technology.  Wind, solar and geothermal would not, and so would become relatively inexpensive.

Now, obviously power producers will have to pass this cost on to the consumer. However, the US government will pass the proceeds from the carbon tax to only today buying real cialis without prescription the consumer as well. In effect, we'd be selling the rights to pollute the country, and we'd each get a check at the end of the month.

The end results of a carbon auction are:
  1. Increased cost of carbon-intensive activities
  2. Increased demand for carbon mitigation technology
  3. Decreased cost of carbon-neutral activities
  4. Decreased greenhouse emissions
  5. A Monthly dividend check in your mailbox to help pay higher bills.

Finally, a carbon solution that could ACTUALLY PASS THROUGH CONGRESS!

To hear more about carbon auctions check out this podcast with Robert Reich, Clinton's Labor Secretary.

Hat Tip to Eric
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Comments (40)Add Comment
written by orig_club_soda, July 11, 2007
Taxes have not ever eliminated a bad condition or activity. In this case, the worst polluters have the wow look it buy viagra online cheap most money and take advantage of the math and figure it's more profitable to pay the tax than it is to clean up.
written by Hank, July 11, 2007
First, this isn't a tax. It's, in effect, a cap. It will, by default, decrease emissions, because it will be a law. Companies who do not buy the credits will be fined, and that will be the end of it.
written by PJD, July 11, 2007
Schemes like this may at first seem to buy viagra soft tabs have no net economic effect, since what the government is taking out of the system it is redistributing. However, it strikes me that without some complicated offsets this could dramatically worsen our trade deficit. It would make US products more expensive because companies here would have to buy the emission rights. This would make our products harder to sell overseas thus reducing exports. US consumers would have the extra money to spend, but unless offsetting import tariffs were imposed they would likely shift spending to cheaper overseas products that didn't have the burden of emissions rights. Unless of cheap cialis without prescription course this is proposed as being a worldwide system.
Individuals must be made aware
written by AATT, July 11, 2007
Awareness must be increased at individual level.
Individuals must be informed about the emissions caused by them using a service; directly or indirectly.

An informed individual would preffer to use energy generated from a cleaner source, thus making the companies which emits less co2 more favourable chouce for the consumers.
Idea -
written by Random Brit, July 11, 2007
Brilliant idea - this is the best thing I've heard to do with CO2 emmisions - you deserve a big mention.
Not an original idea
written by C Sense, July 11, 2007
Couple of points:

Firstly Carbon credits do not have to favor companies that have done little to stop polluting. The credits would be assigned based on the function and the volume of the polluter. For example if you're producing X MWh from a coal power fired power station you get the same credits whether you've taken any previous action or not. If you're already super clean then you're quids in - if not then it's going to cost you both in buying extra credits and cleaning up your act.

Secondly carbon auctions - far from being an "unexplored option" are currently being used in the EU. Granted only a small proportion of emission credits are currently auctioned - but this is set to canada cheap propecia increase over the next few years.
written by Rob, July 11, 2007
PJD hit a major concern of mine with this plan. Obviously this is only a proposition and would need major reworking. While this may sound crazy, reinvesting the profits from the CO2 auction back into industry through incentives, R&D and loan programs that promote the advancement a green economy. This could reduce the hardship on U.S. manufacturers in the world market and also cap the financial burden on the average taxpayer. As time progresses and if the only today cialis online canada programs due what they are intended the revenue from the auction will diminish due to the net reduction of CO2 and by that time we should have accomplished are target reductions.

Regardless of what road we take on the CO2 agenda, it all comes down to politics and whether or not our government will come to its senses.
When the goverment sends me a check...
written by Hglman, July 11, 2007
Yeah not a bad idea, certainly a very nice way to give cleaner fuels a boost. However, I would love to see the day the government sends the profits back to me. It would perhaps be more realistic to tramadol with money orders use the money to invest into future energy solutions. In that way you help control carbon emissions while not only making current greener solutions more attractive in the market now, while helping larger scale future energy solutions to get off the ground so that we don't have to worry about carbon at all.
So what insentive does this give to comp
written by Mark, July 11, 2007
You take company X, a huge energy company with a hundred coal plants.

Company X currently sells energy at "operating costs + $A / kWhr".

Under your plan company X would be selling at "operating costs + $A / kWhr + coal tax overhead".

We then give the canada cialis generic consumer the difference, "coal tax overhead" which they just give right back to company X.

So how does company X have any incentive whatsoever to change anything? They don't because they get the same profit regardless PLUS they're now seen as a "good" company because they comply with this new coal tax and they change nothing.

Meanwhile company Y who makes product Z is a small little company with relatively little pollution. But they still have to buy coal credits but now they have to buy then against company X who has billions of online cialis cheap dollars. Company X doesn't care about spending $$$ for the coal credits because they get it right back no matter what, but company Y can barely compete with some other company that makes all it's products overseas as it is.

So company Y goes out of business because raising their prices by 10% means nobody wants to buy their product anymore and taking a 10% profit cut means they're dead anyway.
written by buggy, July 11, 2007
this page does not render correctly in firefox and click here where to get levitra cheap it crashes IE. great work!
Punish the producers not the consumers?
written by ..., July 11, 2007
It's like drugs, you can't go after the casual smoker or even addict only, in the hope this will stop the consumption. It's the dealers/growers etc you need to go for.

The people buying the products do so mostly because they need to. Some, through awareness, may switch to companies who are greener. Many, through laziness, indifference or lack of education won't care.

How about taxing businesses, based directly on how much co2 is emitted, but restrict them from passing that tax onto the canadian pharmacy online viagra consumers in the price of their products? This will directly eat into the profits of the company, hurting the bottom line and encouraging them to cialis transdermal find an alternatve.

Another option would be to base it not just on how much co2 emitted, but also on a percentage of revenue. The more you polute and the more money you make, the more you will be taxed.

Normal taxes and fines are all well and good, but generally don't seem to do much in the context of big business. It becomes a business decision, as opposed to a punishment with a lesson learned. "Is it more cost effective to continue the way we are and pay the fine, or change our business model?"

written by Mark, July 11, 2007
Plus you're talking about the gov't giving the money back to the consumer - how? If you're planning on sending out 100,000,000 checks every month - well there goes a large chunk of the money that you gained from the auctions in the first place, just in postage. If you plan on giving it back in more discreet ways: lower taxes somewhere else, people are going to complain because they care about immediate feedback and getting a more expensive energy bill (and more expensive products in general across the board) is, to most people, much more immediate feedback than lower taxes somewhere else.
written by steve-o, July 11, 2007
Your site breaks in Firefox. Fix it. >:(
written by Mark, July 11, 2007
the previous post, starting with "It's like drugs" has it right. You need to give large corporations incentive to not pollute as much while, at the same time, allow smaller companies to pollute a bit without taxing them through the roof.

Basically we need to make a law that taxes the largest polluting companies through the roof to the point where it is cheaper for them to get equipment that pollutes less than it is to keep polluting - maybe an exponential tax? :-) $1 for the first ton, $10,000 for the millionth.

It would work, but it would NEVER pass because the buy viagra without prescription companies it hurts have $$ in DC.
written by ..., July 11, 2007
It needs to indian cialis generic be a tax on the corporation, tho, and not something that will just be passed directly onto the consumer.

"Oh no, the government is taxing us so the product now costs more, sob sob, shareholders are sad" etc will just result in a tax.

If there were someway to ensure the corporation ate the tax and did not pass it on, it would actually get somewhere. Otherwise it's just another justification for a price hike.
It would work, but it won't
written by Thomas Brakar, July 11, 2007
Mark, you've missing a point here. If you get a monthly carbon check, you would not just hand it back to your old polluting energy provider. No way! You would hang on to that extra money and look for a cheaper energy company. And, to your surprise, you'd find that cost-expensive eco-friendly energy suddenly got slightly cheaper than fossil energy. Good for you - good for the environment.

The reason it won't work is that there is no way the government would give that extra money to you. They would hang on to it just as strongly as you would, looking for other things to spend it on.
written by alli, July 11, 2007
i think we should just ban airplanes. they use a lotttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt of fuel i believe??
Thomas -
written by Mark, July 11, 2007
Thomas - No I wouldn't (and by "I" I mean 99% of the public). I would hand it right back to the polluting energy provider.

Why? Because
- I'm too lazy to look for an alternative
- There are none where I live for what I need
- I'm uneducated that there are any
- I just don't care

I happen to personally live in an area where probably 30% of the cars on the road are either hybrids or bio-diesel and canadian phamacy cialis as such there are alternatives. Are there any in areas like NYC? I have no clue and I can guarantee you that almost nobody else does either.
You're Silly.
written by jeff, July 11, 2007
That is just one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard. Have you ever seen the federal government give back this type of money? They would be spending more than they are getting in tax credits and grants to companies that are "working" to a better solution. This effect has already been seen in the auto industry where the EPA required a gas mileage (mpg) increase mandatory by now (which has been pushed back indefinitely). They put a law into the books and grant billions to the big three automakers and right at the deadline the we like it best price levitra online only consensus from the grantee's were that it was impossible... With out grant Toyota has proven them wrong. You're idea, though on a much larger scale, would be even more catastrophic and cost many more billions in R&D that will be stuck in a filing cabinet one day, as soon as the ggrant funds wear away.

What about credits?
written by Layne, July 11, 2007
So, a company that plants trees to buy levitra online without prescription offset their carbon output gets no credit for that effect? How do you account for these? And then, do paper producers / tree farmers get to sell off their excess credits?
The plan is like this web page, you thin
written by Joe, July 11, 2007
Here is why it won't work. This is a socialistic thought out solution your trying to apply to a capitalist system.

I am energy company A. US puts in these regulations. Do I put up Solar Farms or Windmills.....NO. Why? Because I only care about money. So I buy energy from other countries that produce it by emitting C02 (but hey they are not bound to US protocol) and it still works out to be cheaper then Solar/Wind Power watts.

So have we reduced US C02 emissions....yep. But globally our C02 emissions are still there, they have just been offset to another country. And perhaps some of those third world countries refining processes might even pollute the environment with more C02 then their US equivalents.

Congratulations to us, we can call ourselves green, pay higher prices and just point the finger at our energy suppliers and say they are the true polluters.

This is a behavioral problem. And unfortunately to fix a behavioral problem you need people to be on-board. And frankly most people just aren't and never are going to be.

So you need to find a solution that provides incentives significant enough that it makes no sense to practice wastefully.

The only common motivating factor that seems to work across the board (even for greedy people who could care less about the community) is money. Make it cheaper to produce green energy through scientific advance and people will start abandoning polluting practices.

This problem has a scientific solution (that we have not found yet) but unfortunately no behavioral fix is realistic (unless we can perfect mass mind control). Try to artificially manipulate the numbers and people will find a way to subvert it and you have lots of time and money wasted without the intended result.

What we need is super cheap Green energy. A perpetual motion machine would be helpful. Or how about a mining operation on the moon (keep C02's out of our atmosphere), Maybe some way to harness the power of the tides. Or converting gravity to electricity (but not too much cause we all don't want to fly away).

Seriously stop take a step back and think about this clearly for a second, who do you think holds the click here viagra online switzerland eventual solution to the problem, politicians, human nature or scientists.

Sorry to say the problem is you and me, the solution will come from some brilliant scientist. We all just need to accept this, pray for a solution and then grab a latte cause you might as well enjoy life while it lasts.

You're wrong
written by Chris Winn, July 11, 2007
"Unfortunately, this means taxing people to drive to work, especially poor people, because you can't telecommute to delivering pizzas or cleaning bathrooms."

Most people that deliver pizza aren't poor. As for people who clean bathrooms, sure they commute. In fact public transportation is a big part of the being under the poverty line in this country. People earning less than $12,000 can't afford a car, insurance, etc. It's why they're forced to wake up at ridiculous hours and pfizer cialis cheap get home late -- they're tied to public transportation.
incorrect rendering
written by d, July 11, 2007
your site doesn't render correctly in firefox. i was going to read the article, but now i'm not.
written by Not a Gore Fan, July 11, 2007
Global warming is a sham the liberals are using just to control people. Like welfare, affirmative action...
written by sdfs, July 11, 2007
This site is horrible, there is a huge add covering the right third of the page for some crappy landrover, why would you do that seriously. It is over the top of the text, using an uptodate firerox.
written by mad firefox user, July 11, 2007
Hey. What's the deal? Lots of people use firefox and it's portable to every platform. But, you site doesn't render correctly in the latest version of firefox. I think you need to check your site.
SVU hypocrisy?
written by mad firefox user, July 11, 2007
The ad at the top of your page is for a landrover. How can any self respecting eco blog have advertising for landrovers?
written by andy, July 11, 2007
This system would definitely increase prices for consumers. However, that is a good (and fair) thing. Energy companies produce the energy directly create the pollution, but they only produce the energy because consumers demand it. If it were not for consumer demand, energy companies would not produce energy.

The costs of pollution are externalities, and cap and trade schemes (like this one) are a really good way to internalize those costs. However, the people responsible for creating those costs include both the consumer and the producer.
Layout is broken
written by Melikoth, July 11, 2007
Besides the land rover ad at the top of the page that someone else mentioned, a lot of the text at the top of the page is hidden underneath that ad, and the subscribe to ther rss feed box.
economics and the environment
written by Mike, July 11, 2007
To those wondering if this would actually work:

Pollution reduction in terms of economics works pretty much like a diminishing marginal benefit curve. The first reductions in pollution are relatively cheap and have huge amounts of benefit, but each progressive effort in pollution reduction for a firm will have considerably less effect for more cost (think if you ran a company and needed to reduce emissions by law, you would take the cheapest, most efficient way of doing so first then follow it up with more expansive, more expensive projects if necessary).

Under this "auction" scheme, the companies that have done little to reduce their pollution to this point will find it cheaper to install new mechanisms than to purchase carbon credits. And companies that have already done a lot to reduce their CO2 emissions will find to curb it any more it will cost a lot more than a company that has really done nothing, so it would most likely be cheaper for them to buy the auction credit (and the price of those would most likely be dictated by how many companies are hoping to buy CO2 credits up).

I imagine the CO2 auction would work a lot like a regular auction. Each company walks in with an expectation of how much they are willing to spend on credits (probably based on the estimated costs of projects to reduce emissions within their company). The people who will walk away with the credits will be the companies that can least afford to curb emissions.

This scheme also allows environmental lobbies and organizations to purchase CO2 certificates to drive the price of polluting up. The way I see it, everyone wins.

It needs to be a tax on the corporation, tho, and not something that will just be passed directly onto the consumer.

Turns out it doesn't matter where you put the tax. If you tax the producer, the tax burden could lie on the consumer. As in if you tax the producer, they could raise prices enough so that the consumer is effectively paying the tax. It all depends on a number of things, and I have no idea where the burden would lie in this case. However, if all you are looking for is peace of mind, then go ahead and tax the producer.
Does anyone relize
written by Jono, July 11, 2007
That a single volcanic eruption puts more "greenhouse gases" into the air then all the cars from the first one that rolled off an assembly line to Now. Also that the sun is getting Hotter by it's self. Just curious if everyone just likes to blindly follow people...
written by Vince, July 11, 2007
"So coal plants would have to buy enormous numbers of carbon credits,"

"or incorporate sequestration technology."


"Wind, solar and geothermal would not, and so would become relatively inexpensive."

RELATIVE TO THE NOW-MORE-EXPENSIVE COAL PRICES. Prices of wind, solar, and geothermal would not decrease, they would simply look more attractive becuase CO2 based energy would be drastically more expensive.

"Now, obviously power producers will have to pass this cost on to the consumer."


"However, the US government will pass the proceeds from the carbon tax to the consumer as well."



"we'd each get a check at the end of the month."

Do you also realize...
written by Josh, July 11, 2007
... that every time a new car is purchased and an old one is parked the emissions get a little bit better. Cars are a lot cleaner than they used to be. A LOT.
Authorized Carbon Dealer
written by MardiGras Bandit, July 11, 2007
I am a strong supporter of such market based solutions to the man made climate crisis. That is why I have taken the revolutionary step of applying this principle to the small scale individual level via a sincere grass roots effort. This is my work:

My eBay Listing

Dumb Dumb and Dumb
written by Dan, July 11, 2007
CO2 is not the cause of global warming so all 3 of the proposed ideas are dumb.
written by Shocked, July 11, 2007
Holy crap - this thread is completely infested with trolls. Do the admins here actually monitor their threads?
written by Hank, July 12, 2007
We monitor...but we generally just make sure that no one is gay bashing or blaming islam. We believe in free speech here at annoying as that speech can sometimes be.
Remember science?
written by science is important, July 12, 2007
Also that the sun is getting Hotter by it's self.

FALSE. There is NO evidence to support this hypothesis. Educate yourself:

Just curious if everyone just likes to blindly follow people...

Oh you mean follow people like you? No, not if there wrong. The ability to educate yourself is an important skill.

Wiil it work?
written by Acura legend parts, November 15, 2007
I don't think it will resolve our problem with the greenhouse effect.
I believe there's still more to do aside from those.Thanks though for the initiative,hope the government will do more...

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