re: [thread], pol 

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @cjd @freakazoid You can do it to an extent by measuring inputs, although it's quite possible that inputs aren't accurate!

(For instance, if a process generates methane, its carbon footprint is vastly higher than its inputs would indicate. The inputs could even be carbon neutral, and the emissions are positive...)

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @cjd @dazinism Right. You tax the carbon at the point it enters the market, whether by being imported or pumped from the ground. The underlying assumption is that all carbon eventually becomes CO2.

Some can become methane, which lasts long enough and has a potent enough effect to be worth taxing or regulating as a pollutant in its own right. But there are far fewer methane sources than CO2.

...

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @cjd @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @bhtooefr One could have a tax credit for sequestration, but deciding what should count as sequestration will probably be challenging.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @bhtooefr @Wolf480pl @dazinism
One problem with climate change is there's really no incentive to deal with it. If a democratic state starts to tax carbon, as soon as it begins to actually harm the economy people will vote that government out of power. Clean air is different because people in the cities directly feel the pain, climate change is always Someone Else's Problem.

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @freakazoid @bhtooefr @Wolf480pl @dazinism
Today in absolute condemnations of capitalism: " One problem with climate change is there's really no incentive to deal with it." This may be a hint.

re: [thread], pol 

@zeh
I don't care what kind of economic system you have, when people start to have difficulty putting food on the table, they're going to vote you out, and quality of life is unfortunately highly correlated with energy consumption.
@freakazoid @bhtooefr @Wolf480pl @dazinism

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd
That makes no sense. You're mistaking your experience for what is possible, when the first is a tiny subset of the second. Voting inside "economic systems" that constrict your options to what is profitable is a travesty of freedom and there could be as many ways to live well as there are people, correlated to energy spending or not.

@freakazoid @bhtooefr @Wolf480pl @dazinism

re: [thread], pol 

@zeh @dazinism @Wolf480pl @freakazoid @cjd Even a socialist autarky uninterested in profit can easily run into situations where, if carbon taxation starts impacting quality of life for the masses (that is, it artificially causes scarcity that does not otherwise exist), they'll attempt to depose the government (whether it's democratic or not), unless you have effective suppression of information flow.

Which is why you need to make alternatives to carbon emission and make them attractive enough that quality of life doesn't degrade, or at least make it such that you can blame degradation on someone else.

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @zeh @cjd @dazinism Interestingly enough, this seems to be something that entrepreneurship is fairly good at. I'm sure there are other ways to accomplish it, and entrepreneurship (at least when funded by intellectual property) is obviously bad at certain kinds of invention, like certain types of drugs and medical treatments, but nonprofit foundations seem to do the best job there, not government grants.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @dazinism @cjd @zeh @Wolf480pl I think there's a difference between R&D and deployment, though.

Private organizations do seem to be very good at throwing ideas at the wall and proving that they work... but getting them to the masses is extremely inefficient due to how capital allocation works in the private markets.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @Wolf480pl @cjd @dazinism @zeh (Just look at, say, Tesla as an example, and how rocky their ramp is. We know the technology works and can be cost-effective as fuck, at this point. The capital markets can't divorce that from the vagaries of a slow-building startup that isn't designed for an "exit". Meanwhile, China's state capitalism is subsidizing them massively (presumably partially to get access to their IP, but still) and in under a year they'll be from farmland in Shanghai, to a factory there. I don't think this is the *best* approach either, but it seems to work better than whatever we're doing in the west...)

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @zeh @cjd @dazinism Tesla is an interesting example. Elon Musk has as much money as he does because of the factors I mentioned, but Tesla itself is in many ways a charity; VCs and angels would never have financed such an endeavor out of a profit motive. It's going to take a very long time to even come close to paying Musk back, much less making him more money than he's put in.

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @cjd @zeh @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @bhtooefr And the current pattern of bringing new technologies to "early adopters", who tend to be wealthy, first means that those early adopters are the ones paying for the research. One can imagine ways to accelerate this process, but most new products that aren't just minor iterations on old ones end up failing, so most of the time you'd just make failure more costly in total.

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @zeh @cjd @dazinism Making failure more costly is bad, because the process of invention is mostly a random search, so failure should be fast, cheap, and plentiful.

This is a major problem with the current way the markets are allocating capital. Uber has essentially been treated as if the investors are certain it will succeed if only it gets enough money and grows large enough.

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @cjd @zeh @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @bhtooefr In a way this is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because that money is getting spent on lobbying and driving competition out of the market. But it's also extremely costly, because to make an above-market return on their investment, the investors are betting on the irrational exuberance of the public after it IPOs.

Follow

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @zeh @cjd @dazinism IOW, their plan is to build this thing that looks like the "next Facebook" and dump it on the public. And the public will suck it up because with enough VC money almost any idea can be made to look good.

So raise interest rates, shift more money into debt financing which requires actual profits, and actual savings accounts (or treasuries and CDs), and make companies grow more slowly and fail more quickly.

· · Web · 0 · 0 · 0

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @cjd @zeh @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @bhtooefr (Those latter things were consequences of raising interest rates, not additional actions that need to be taken.)

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @bhtooefr @Wolf480pl @zeh @dazinism
I would really really like to know how the monetary policy would work in the Federated Republic of Sean.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @bhtooefr @Wolf480pl @zeh @dazinism
Because these issues are things I've wrestled with in my mind and I never found any decent conclusions, nor even really proper understanding for some of the phenomenon.

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @dazinism @zeh @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @bhtooefr I don't have a good answer yet. As much as he's demonized, Milton Friedman came up with a couple interesting ideas late in his life: either target the broad money supply directly instead of interest rates, or keep the monetary base constant and let the market decide what the multiple should be. The problem with the latter approach is that there are still other levers like the Federal Funds Rate and Discount Rate.

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @zeh @dazinism @cjd I like the idea of "free banking" as well. This doesn't mean banks are completely unregulated, just that they are not backed by the government or Fed, which would not exist in such a scenario. I would probably have the government provide insured banking services, with the private banks left for folks who already had sufficient "safe" savings.

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @dazinism @zeh @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @bhtooefr Free banking is not exactly what used to exist in the US, for a couple of reasons: first, banks were regulated under state law and were prohibited from branching outside their own states or even a single neighborhood, which meant they had no diversification. Second, many states required banks to hold a percentage of their assets in the state's own debt. Those states, unsurprisingly, tended to default a lot.

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @zeh @dazinism @cjd A better example is Canada, where banks were allowed to branch nationally, and which had no bank failures during the Great Depression. Canada created a central bank, but in order to facilitate international payments without relying on London banks, not to promote stability.

re: [thread], pol 

You don't understand the magnitude of the problem. Capitalism is eating the planet for profit. All of production is organized for profit at the cost of everything else, and this force will continue to organize our lives to serve this goal. I don't know how to put it more clearly. Either read Das Capital or play universal paperclips until you get it. decisionproblem.com/paperclips

@freakazoid @cjd @dazinism @Wolf480pl @bhtooefr

re: [thread], pol 

@zeh @bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @dazinism @cjd Still haven't heard any practical alternative proposal, just "this is terrible we need to replace it". Ok, great. With what, exactly? Do we just burn it down and hope to somehow have enough left over to deal with the effects of climate change that will happen even if we stop all consumption of fossil fuels today? Not to mention all the stuff that will still continue to happen even without climate change.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid
You're shifting the subject all the time. You were just saying that there is low hanging fruit to address the issues, now you're saying that I didn't present a solution. That was diagnostics, prescription is a different matter. It's hard as hell, yes, and would need a force to overcome capitalism for another system to be born, one that organizes time and space for life. My point was precisely that nothing short of this will do.
@cjd @dazinism @Wolf480pl @bhtooefr

re: [thread], pol 

@zeh @bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @dazinism @cjd Hey you don't get to jump into a thread and then dictate how the discussion proceeds. As far as I can tell you haven't even bothered to read much of the thread that preceded your entry, so it is you who are trying to change the already existing subject.

If we don't have a solution, it doesn't matter how much of a crisis climate change is. We're just as likely to make ourselves extinct by creating chaos in the midst of a crisis.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid
Maybe you have a point. But I wasn't trying to dictate, it's just that I tried to reply to your points and felt that you didn't follow that through, didn't reply to what I said.
I think that correct diagnostics help, a necessary first step, otherwise we're just chasing our tails and hoping that will work. Moving on, jumping off the thread. Bye, take care.
@cjd @dazinism @Wolf480pl @bhtooefr

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @zeh @cjd @dazinism Addressing the other points in your post, while it's true that we know the technology works, the problem is that we also know there are a bunch of alternative technologies that are likely to be even better, so going "all in" now has a decent chance of producing a worse outcome (possibly much worse) than an approach that puts the decisionmaking and risk in the same (preferably distributed) hands.

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @cjd @zeh @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @bhtooefr In my view the best approach by far is to push *away* from the thing we know for sure is bad and let people decide on their own what they think the best alternative is. The best way to do that is with a carbon tax.

...

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @zeh @cjd @dazinism And also raise interest rates, but the immediate recession from that will slow things down a bit in the short term. We'll have a renaissance afterward, though, from all the capital and labor that's now been freed up from "zombie" companies that only existed because investors were constantly throwing money at them.

...

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @cjd @zeh @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @bhtooefr And the resultant increase in revenue will more than make up for the increased cost of borrowing, including the extra bonds the government will have to float in order to pay for expanded/extended unemployment, welfare, and health benefits or even a UBI in order to avoid making the most vulnerable worse off in the short term.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @Wolf480pl @zeh @cjd @dazinism The problem is that you need to make alternatives accessible and available.

If carbon taxation pushes everything out of availability, and progressive redistribution of the carbon tax isn't sufficient (you need to watch for things like developers increasing close-in housing costs in response to carbon taxes purely because the market can bear it, too, as this hits lower income people the hardest), then you need to subsidize, which means you've gotta pick winners and losers.

Also, I'm not aware of any technologies that look more promising than battery-electrics for personal car-based transportation - yes, there's hydrogen, but that's been a fossil fuel industry boondoggle for decades.

Mass transit also needs to be subsidized in every case I've seen, and mass transit systems can't just be given to "the market" to decide, you have to actually choose something and do it.

And, really, we don't have time to wait for better technologies to come to fruition, we need to go all-in on mitigation *now*. We have eleven years. Once the crisis is resolved, we've got time to rethink things in better ways.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @Wolf480pl @cjd @dazinism @zeh (Also, to be clear, I'm not saying that personal electric cars are the answer. They're *an* answer that is palatable to a wide swath of the population, but that should be deployed alongside improvements for low-speed vehicle infrastructure for electric-assisted low-speed vehicles (bicycles and scooters being among them), as well as widespread mass transit with frequent service intervals.)

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @zeh @cjd @dazinism I agree that battery powered cars appear to be the best choice, for cars. What we don't know is what kind of battery or charging system is best. If we picked CCS chargers and lithium ion technology, we'd be stuck with a system where charging takes at least 10x as long as fueling. Long lines at charging stations, etc.

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @cjd @zeh @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @bhtooefr Investing in alternatives to cars is exactly what the government should be doing. It can use a carbon tax to partially fund this if it wants, but IMO the carbon tax should be considered independently of any redistribution. If the carbon tax is a good idea, we should implement it. If subisidization of mass transit is a good idea, we should do that. Doesn't matter where the money goes from the first or comes from for the second.

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @zeh @cjd @dazinism Another thing that should be considered independently is the progressive or regressive nature of various policies. If a carbon tax is aggressive in its effect, instead of not implementing it, let's offset it. With cash, ideally, since the decision of whether to take mass transit or a car should not have to depend on how much money one makes.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @dazinism @cjd @zeh @Wolf480pl @bhtooefr imho strikes me as odd. What people are able to do is pretty much inherently tied to what they can afford in our society.

Where people live depends on how much money people make. Seems even more involved with peoples lives. Infact so much so that people might be forced to drive cars if other modes of transport are unsuitable to the area.

That's a reality for some, other than dealing with it, don't think cars are a "right".

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @dazinism @cjd @zeh @Wolf480pl @bhtooefr incidentally a right wing nutty politician in the netherlands actually said ... flying vacations are a right...

I think cars and flying across the world for vacations are basically luxuries we can't really afford.

I mean.. it's not absolute at all, like some areas with lower population densities and some cases like illness, or people moving homes. I mean to deal with shit..

re: [thread], pol 

@jasper @bhtooefr @cjd @dazinism
I totally agree with you that it's not great for someone to be able to choose to do something that's harmful to the planet just because they're rich. But at the same time, why do we ignore that they're also doing something (paying the carbon tax) that we have decided as a society is good?

I...

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @cjd @bhtooefr @jasper Whoops the "I" before the ellipsis was me failing to delete all the text I meant to move into this post.

I guess we can make absolutely certain the harm is fully offset by just banning fossil fuels entirely, but that would cause substantially more chaos in the short term than even a fairly steep carbon tax, and it would be just as regressive in its effect.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @dazinism @cjd @zeh @Wolf480pl You also assume that once a car is in service, that's it.

*Especially* if you move away from the current American-style of consumerist capitalism, retrofits become practical.

Better batteries come along? Install them as retrofits when the batteries stop meeting peoples' needs.

CCS is too slow (although really it has lots of headroom beyond what the batteries can take now, and a lot of time spent charging is below the peak)? Retrofit a new connector and charge system.

And, focusing on those issues is also not considering that aggressive deployment of high speed electric rail greatly reduces the need for large amounts of energy on board private cars, or fast charging...

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @zeh @cjd @dazinism Retrofits are possible but costly with the car itself. Also with the charging system, though to a much lesser extent. Keeping cars for longer and primarily buying used and refurbished does let you amortize the cost of a retrofit over a longer period. Higher interest rates would push us toward that ;-)

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @cjd @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @bhtooefr
(untagging zeh since they've jumped off the thread)

HSR is a good target for investment because the technology is mature.The challenge is building it in such a way that it will actually be useful to people. California's project died because it would have been so expensive and slow it wouldn't have had any ridership, and it was politically infeasible to subsidize it sufficiently to fix the ticket price issue.

re: [thread], pol 

@bhtooefr @Wolf480pl@niu.moe @cjd @dazinism And that's almost certainly generous given that early estimates in such projects are always overly optimistic by a large margin. This is where centralizing certain powers helps a lot; it makes no sense for local communities or even counties to be able to block transportation projects that benefit the entire state.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid
@dazinism @bhtooefr
Thinking a bruit carbon tax without a functioning alternative risks becoming another way to extract money from the poor. Cigarette tax didn't (afaik) have a material impact on smoking, what did was advertising bans and labeling regulation. Unfortunately "don't burn gas" is more complicated than "don't smoke", people need to get to work, and many of them would much appreciate not being slaves to their car, but "transport on tap" needs to be solved.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @dazinism @bhtooefr
Autonamous cars are a huge deal in this direction. Once the owners of cars become institutional and people pay for simple access, lots of problems become tractable:
* Businesses (unlike people) do behave as rational economic actors so even without carbon taxes, they will optimize for efficiency.
* If you can access a truck when needed, you don't need to buy one "just in case", you can go to work in a 1 seat car.

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @bhtooefr @dazinism This is a compelling argument and IMO the correct way to think about the problem. But I think there's a strong tendency among the public to couple it with the disposition of the carbon tax. This is a problem because a) it usually ends up being a general subsidy rather than specific projects targeted at creating alternatives, and b) there's no reason to believe that the correct level of spending on alternatives is the same as the correct carbon tax.

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @bhtooefr @cjd I feel the same way about autonomous cars. Also for people who can't drive for whatever reason. Of course, if mass transit works well, you don't need to drive a truck to work even if it's your only vehicle. (Plus I'm pretty sure 80% of the people who drive non-commercial trucks & SUVs don't actually "need" them at all.)

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid
@bhtooefr @dazinism
When it's CAPEX "need" means "might need" (want to go camping, snows where you live) this is purely perception and car companies love to play to fears of a smaller vehicle proving inadequate (with all the Freudian implications). Then you have behavioral economics, people but vroom and car companies know it.
Just make the buyers institutional then at least it's a fair fight.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @dazinism @bhtooefr
* If you don't have to figure out parking, taking a little car from your home to a train station and then taking the train to work becomes possible. You don't even get your suit wet in the pouring rain.

Emissions regulations have shown that if you push businesses, they do find creative solutions. Even without any carbon tax, EVs are interesting just because emissions control kit is becoming more and more expensive to produce...

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @bhtooefr @dazinism The problem with Uber in SF has been that, while it's somewhat improved the utility of already-crowded Caltrain and to a lesser extent BART, a lot of that was people switching from buses, and it was already pretty horrible to get to SF from not-SF so it's not like people needed encouragement to take Caltrain or BART, so the net effect is probably negative. Which means autonomous cars carrying single passengers will only make it worse.

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @bhtooefr @cjd I think what we actually need are autonomous passenger vans/mini buses using a network of designated pick-up and drop-off points and making people change vehicles when necessary to keep occupancy up. Couple that with bus and light rail for popular corridors and you have the makings of a very efficient transportation system.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @dazinism @bhtooefr
And when you think about what is involved in owning a car, it's actually pretty shit. First you have to get your license, then you buy one:
* If it's new, you make payments and if you're fired from your job then it will be repossessed.
* If it's old then it might break down and if you can't get to work you'll be fired.
* If you don't have one or it doesn't run, you can't get a job.
I think people would *love* to move to an OPEX model.

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @bhtooefr @dazinism This is the exact vision behind Uber AFAICT, and it's pretty clear not needing to pay a driver makes the economics work, once we can make autonomous cars work (which I suspect will be longer than we think). Car ownership even in the suburbs will plummet as soon as the cost of ride services drops below TCO of a car. It already is for occasional use, but not for the daily commute.

re: [thread], pol 

@dazinism @bhtooefr @cjd Of course, reducing the cost of riding around in a small passenger vehicle will make mass transit all the more unattractive by comparison, which will increase traffic. Which is why I think we need to be careful about how it's deployed. The market-based approach would be congestion charges to encourage people to use the car to get to transit instead of straight to their destination.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid
@bhtooefr @dazinism
Mass transit will be cheaper, which will play into the thinking of many daily commuters. But mass transit also needs to be competitive. Living in France (carless in fact) I can tell you that the SNCF behaves just like any other monopoly. So I'm partial to vans, buses, and trains indeed, but there needs to be choice.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @bhtooefr @dazinism
Also if one of these smart companies can figure out how to remove all of the friction of moving from a car to a bus or train with shopping bags and 3 kids, they can offer a "car ride" on train infrastructure and pocket the difference...

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @dazinism @bhtooefr This seems to describe Personal Rapid Transit pretty closely. And PRT works even without autonomous cars, though it doesn't solve the issues associating with owning cars, parking, etc. With autonomous cars, the main advantage the PRT "tracks" provide is allowing for much smaller batteries and less charging infrastructure and providing a dedicated lane for AVs "automatically".

...

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