Sunday 20 October 2019

Extinction Rebellion

It should be clear that most of XR's activists are "useful idiots". I don't use this term to mean that they are mentally subnormal, but in the sense of propagandizing for a cause without fully comprehending its goals. We know know that the higher ups get paid (although it's not exactly clear by whom), we know that they have sprung from virtually nowhere in a matter of months, and we know that they have no problem with massive hypocrisy - causing massive queues of idling traffic to reduce CO2 emissions, flying across the Atlantic to reduce aviation, etc.

In terms of public policy to reduce emissions we have roughly four options. Option Zero is to do nothing - keep burning fossil fuels and eventually their scarcity will make nuclear and renewable energy economically competitive. This option doesn't get much support.

Option Four is for governments to take direct control of industry and travel and to implement low carbon policies. Planned economies do not work, and you always end up with everybody starving and a bloody revolution.

When anybody with any economic knowledge looks at this problem they come up with Option One. A blanket carbon tax. We've currently got all these lovely cars, aeroplanes, combine harvesters, power grids, roads, etc. It would be stupid/suicide to just throw them away, we need to get every last drop of use out of them while still encouraging the switch to clean energy. You put a little tax on the sale of anything that pollutes and you're done. Over the years inventors will find bigger profits in using fossil fuels more efficiently and in replacing fossil fuels. Consumers will choose low CO2 lives simply on price.

Option Two is something similar to the "Cap and Trade" or "Emissions Trading". This type of scheme had some considerable success in the American coal industry and it's currently going on in the European Union. Government issues quantitative permits to pollute to players in the industry. The quantity of permissible pollution reduces over time. The polluters can buy or sell their allocation, so the invisible hand of the market finds a price for pollution. When the price of pollution is too high for a dirty operation to make a profit, it goes bust, or it retrofits with clean technology.

So we find ourselves in a weird paradox. In Option One, the government gets all the money, but the consumers and the businesses get all the choices. In Option Two, the government grants itself massive new powers, but the trading and the profit is in private hands.

To make big money in a new market you need to invest early, and you need the market to be large and active. It's all very well cornering the market in frozen concentrated orange juice but there's no real money there - at least compared to global energy production. When you find out that the Rothchild's banking empire and some of the big energy companies are heavily invested in C.A.T markets it should become clear that they now very much favour Option Two over Option One.

Extinction Rebellion is just the publicity wing of big investors who need Option Two to happen (the more aggressively the better) rather than Option One.

I heard two different XR protesters asked about a carbon tax and they gave eerily similar answers - as though they'd been drilled in the most convincing counter arguments - What good does a big pile of money do to fight against climate change?

It's a good answer (actually a question) and tricky to refute, but if there were a big pile of money, that would mean two things: a) nobody had changed their behaviour, b) everyone had been able to pay more tax all along and hadn't spent the surplus on nice things.


Richard "Sod Off Swampy" B

1 comment:

  1. The solution to CO2 emissions is very obvious:
    Many, large RBMK nuclear reactors with a high positive void coefficient, built and operated by the lowest bidder (cheap to run and produce huge amounts of electricity)
    What could go wrong?