Sunday, May 17, 2009

Krugman on Carbon from China

Paul Krugman's column from Friday's NY Times paints a depressing picture of China's willingness to curb carbon emissions.

Notably, China plans to continue growing at a rapid pace relying principally on coal power.

If this is the case, what will be the implications of emissions reduction policy here in the U.S. and in Europe?

Background reading:

Last week the NY Times notes that China is building cleaner coal plants

Blog post on Nader discussing tax vs. cap-and-trade

Blog post on Al Gore and "The Climate for Change"

And a few short readings on cap-and-trade vs. carbon taxes:


Greg Mankiw

Environmental Defense Fund

The Carbon Tax Center

Common Tragedies response to the CBO


Kendyll Goeman said...

The Krugman article addresses a major issue: developing countries want to develop exactly like the United States developed. It’s interesting that sanctions and taxes most likely will be used to pressure China to change, reduce their emissions, and continue their development in an environmentally friendly manner. The second article is confusing because it highlights the environmentally friendly changes that China is making. Increased wind capacity and efficient (and surprisingly cheaper) power plants are two of China’s endeavors. The first article offers a pessimistic view of China’s future compliance, while the second offers a more optimistic view. The Nadar article states, “we in the rich world must recognize our culpability for creating three-quarters of this global warming mess.” Despite siding with the pessimistic or optimistic view, this fact remains constant. The United States must take the first step to reduce emissions, since the United States is to blame for the majority of emissions currently in the atmosphere. Carbon taxes allow this monumental change to go into effect immediately. The simplicity of the carbon tax taxes each polluter, and the public will benefit from the revenue return. The last link states that the only flaw with the carbon tax would be if the actual costs are much higher than predicted. If the costs are similar to those predicted, the carbon tax is superior to the intricate cap and trade system.

James Marshall said...

I agree, if I was China I wouldn't want to have my develpment held back because of emmissions, when all the other countries got to develop "scott free." Diplomacy is the best way to deal with issue. If America wants China to reduce CO2 then we need to lead the development and marketing of such technology. This is a chance to create technology that we can export, which considering the country runs a deficit, might be helpful to more than just the planet.