How I Would Fix Global Warming
It sounds as if Copenhagen will be yet another disappointment. But a boy could dream, right? If it were up to me, we’d just set a world-wide, per-capita ration on carbon emissions. Use current US emissions as the ration for the first year, and then ratchet it down like 10% each year.
Basically, each year you’d receive your carbon entitlement, and then sell it on the market to the energy companies and other carbon emission points identified by the carbon administration as points of emission requiring use of a ration. That money would offset your increased fuel and electricity prices: if you conserve you come out ahead, and if you’re a heavy user, you pay something closer to the true cost of your energy consumption. Viva Capitalism!
As the entitlement reduces each year, you’d have two things going on. The first would be billions of human beings pouring some of their creative energy and talent into finding ways to reduce their own energy consumption. The other would be that you’d see wealthy first-world folks trading through the carbon markets with less wealthy people in the developing world for a shared, equal human right to emit carbon.
The current approach of each nation saying “well, we’ll spend somewhat less than we did at some year in the past when our economy was less developed” is a shell game. And I hate it when Americans are like “well, China’s the largest emitter now!” China has four times the population we have. That means that if they emit more carbon than we do, that the average Chinese is emitting just over a quarter of what the average American emits. China is operating at an insane scale with an infinite number of challenges that threaten basic stuff like food security and national coherence. We want them to take the lead on climate change? No. Our people got us into this industrialized carbon-economy world, and our people can lead us to the post-carbon world as well.