jlsoaz
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Re: Musk's advocacy of a Carbon Tax and Carbon Capture

Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:37 am

WetEV wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:29 am
jlsoaz wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:48 am
Imposing GHG taxes is not primarily a matter of economic optimization. It is a matter of arguably the single most important mechanism at our disposal for addressing a planet-scale life-and-death inherently slow-developing and hard-to-fix-quickly pollution emergency.
Rather than reading what I wrote, you show you didn't understand it. Costs are NOT static. So a carbon tax isn't the most important mechanism today... but it may be so in the future.

Go back to 1977, about the time I was first concerned about climate change.

Solar cells were $77 per watt. Power generated from them would be roughly $10 per kWh. Or more.

To incentivize solar power, a carbon tax would need to be roughly $10 per kWh, or $20 per pound of carbon, $100 per gallon of gasoline or $40,000 per ton of carbon. Over 99.9999+% of the economy.

Don't you see that a massive carbon tax wouldn't have worked as well as the historic subsidies for solar power, some inadvertent subsidies like solar powered satellites? The size of the subsidy required is a minuscule compared with the required tax.

Image
I have read what you've written, but I suspect I'll never be able to articulate my case to your satisfaction. It might be useful if you'd reference a link to a full statement of the case for when carbon taxes are "most important" according to a criteria of "most important" being in-line with quantitative measurement, pricing, economics, etc. In my fallible view you're using a lot of quick shorthand for economic arguments, and then turning around and complaining that you are not understood. A way to clear that air more productively might be to just reference a calm mainstream paper or two.

Notwithstanding whatever such links may say, as to why I and others think carbon taxes are presently a most measure of top importance, this from my standpoint is not strictly a mathematical calculation. For one thing, my point was to try to get across that carbon taxes are a measure that subsumes all other measures. Imposition of carbon taxes allows for carbon pollution damages to be reflected in pricing for everything. Right now the pollution property and damages are substantially under-reflected (hidden) throughout our economic system. A very minor (but to me sort of interesting) example might be that Musk has just invested in Bitcoin currency. But carbon taxes might (I suppose) help drive down the value of the currency if (as people are assuming) the blockchain aspect of the currency is heavily carbon-intensive. I'm trying to think of other examples, and it's not that easy (even though they would literally impact everything).

I suppose there is the basic point to make that..... instead of pointing fingers at oil companies, car companies and lenders for cashing in on the unpriced toxic externality of carbon pollution, ... we could see higher pricing for gasoline and diesel, and one of the key arguments for consumers sticking with the traditional vehicle/fossil fuel paradigm could be diminished. Other related measures such as extremely expensive taxpayer subsidization of BEV purchase could be somewhat reduced, but also, importantly (in my view), we could reduce and ultimately end the moralizing of looking at someone driving a 10 mpg vehicle and pointing a finger at them and their supposed lack of moral/social awareness, and just accept that we have agreed penalties for them to pay, and those penalties will ramp up, and even help to pay for the expensive transition to BEV.

As to your point about "massive" (?) carbon taxes and solar subsidies in 1977 (?!)
- I'm not sure why anyone is talking about "massive" carbon taxes. How about imposing very modest taxes and some moderate transparent ramp-up schedule appropriate to estimations of the property-damaging and life-taking poisonous pollution problem?
- I'm not sure I would have supported taxes in 1977 since I'm not sure the central global warming case was sufficiently proven by then, though I guess some proven pollution issues with fossil fuel burning warranted some rational economy-changing taxes, just as they warranted creation of some of the environmental agencies. And in the end, as you seem to point up, the pricing and solution availability equations were very different.
- So, it's 2021, 44 years after the example you gave. I'm not clear if your argument in the here and now is that carbon taxes should still be put off, or that they simply are not the super-important matter that I and Musk and others have elevated them to. Or perhaps your argument has more to do with when is the right time to ramp up carbon taxes, depending on development, availability, real-world viability and pricing of alternatives.

Yes, the pricing of low-carbon alternatives still has a ways to go to fall, and there are some technologies that simply have not been invented or sufficiently improved yet. Even if we assume for a moment some mixture of agreement/disagreement as to when/to-what-extent to impose pollution taxes earlier in a crisis, when do you think a carbon tax might be ok with you? Or are you arguing it's ok now, but that the argument for "most important" is what is at this point the point you disagree with?

I don't know for certain Musk's reasoning in assessing the "top" suggestion designation for carbon taxes. I have mentioned that part of my own reasoning is that such a tax subsumes other measures. Another second part of my own is that, in dealing with a toxic pollution issue, .... even assuming it is of importance in the process of policy-response to take into account pricing changes, low-polluting technology innovation, manufacturing ramp-up, unexpected harm caused by those "solutions", etc., .... choosing not to put *any* price (or ban) on behavior that is known to be property-damaging and life-taking is flat-out objectively wrong, regardless of timing. *Some* price or ban must be assessed, once a level of confidence is reached as to the designation that the behavior is damaging to property and life, because it is, morally and legally and in government philosophy, the right thing to do. Taking several other fancy smart expensive and inexpensive policy measures, (and spending decades arguing, as some have done, that carbon taxes cannot even be discussed because such taxes are supposedly inimical to a free society) and not imposing such a price or ban amounts, in my fallible view, to a snipe hunt that is already a candidate for a historically large Darwin Award for the whole community.

With that said, assessing the key turning points, granting that it may never be possible to know with 100% certainty the level of damage that is taking place or will result in future, and it may be difficult to assess what the solutions are in a way that takes into account further fallibility of solutions, and is generally humble in the face of the problem, certainly it is appropriate to raise questions around when to intervene with taxes, how much to begin with, and on what slope a tax size ramp-up should be planned, and so-on. Even assuming strong agreement on that point, then I'm not entirely sure what the disagreement is here but my own view is I think we're presently well at the point where our system is crying out for carbon pricing to complete the complement of policy tools that should be wielded in addressing such an enormous issue (we are told, with increasing details and hard justifications) as the climate emergency.
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WetEV
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Re: Musk's advocacy of a Carbon Tax and Carbon Capture

Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:48 am

Duplicate, sorry.
Last edited by WetEV on Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
WetEV
#49
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WetEV
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Re: Musk's advocacy of a Carbon Tax and Carbon Capture

Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:59 am

WetEV wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:48 am
jlsoaz wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:37 am
Go back to 1977, about the time I was first concerned about climate change.

Solar cells were $77 per watt. Power generated from them would be roughly $10 per kWh. Or more.

To incentivize solar power, a carbon tax would need to be roughly $10 per kWh, or $20 per pound of carbon, $100 per gallon of gasoline or $40,000 per ton of carbon. Over 99.9999+% of the economy.

Don't you see that a massive carbon tax wouldn't have worked as well as the historic subsidies for solar power, some inadvertent subsidies like solar powered satellites? The size of the subsidy required is a minuscule compared with the required tax.
I have read what you've written, but I suspect I'll never be able to articulate my case to your satisfaction. It might be useful if you'd reference a link to a full statement of the case for when carbon taxes are "most important" according to a criteria of "most important" being in-line with quantitative measurement, pricing, economics, etc. In my fallible view you're using a lot of quick shorthand for economic arguments, and then turning around and complaining that you are not understood. A way to clear that air more productively might be to just reference a calm mainstream paper or two.
I've given a simple example, and you can use google scholar just as easily as I can. What you are looking for are papers comparing Pigovian taxes and Pigovian subsidies, and when non-Pigovian taxes or subsidies might be required to achieve a Pigovian endpoint.

A carbon tax can be a good thing, but it doesn't "subsume all other measures". It's a good hammer, but a poor drill and a worse saw.

Setting a tax equal to damages is morally satisfactory, and fits some political persuasions. The world is more complex than that. If you don't want to see that complexity, I can't make you do so.
WetEV
#49
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Oilpan4
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Re: Musk's advocacy of a Carbon Tax and Carbon Capture

Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:09 am

Man, nobody hates the poors like some of the electric car people.
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Re: Musk's advocacy of a Carbon Tax and Carbon Capture

Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:59 pm

If you are looking to get booted for trolling, go ahead: make our day.
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jlsoaz
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Re: Musk's advocacy of a Carbon Tax and Carbon Capture

Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:06 pm

WetEV wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:59 am
WetEV wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:48 am
jlsoaz wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:37 am
Go back to 1977, about the time I was first concerned about climate change.

Solar cells were $77 per watt. Power generated from them would be roughly $10 per kWh. Or more.

To incentivize solar power, a carbon tax would need to be roughly $10 per kWh, or $20 per pound of carbon, $100 per gallon of gasoline or $40,000 per ton of carbon. Over 99.9999+% of the economy.

Don't you see that a massive carbon tax wouldn't have worked as well as the historic subsidies for solar power, some inadvertent subsidies like solar powered satellites? The size of the subsidy required is a minuscule compared with the required tax.
I have read what you've written, but I suspect I'll never be able to articulate my case to your satisfaction. It might be useful if you'd reference a link to a full statement of the case for when carbon taxes are "most important" according to a criteria of "most important" being in-line with quantitative measurement, pricing, economics, etc. In my fallible view you're using a lot of quick shorthand for economic arguments, and then turning around and complaining that you are not understood. A way to clear that air more productively might be to just reference a calm mainstream paper or two.
I've given a simple example, and you can use google scholar just as easily as I can. What you are looking for are papers comparing Pigovian taxes and Pigovian subsidies, and when non-Pigovian taxes or subsidies might be required to achieve a Pigovian endpoint.

A carbon tax can be a good thing, but it doesn't "subsume all other measures". It's a good hammer, but a poor drill and a worse saw.

Setting a tax equal to damages is morally satisfactory, and fits some political persuasions. The world is more complex than that. If you don't want to see that complexity, I can't make you do so.
I'm not quite sure why you're talking about massive taxes, or projecting onto my own points that I think the tax should be equal to damages, or even trying to cause "punishment". I'm trying to advocate for building an incentive into the system so we can steer (more) clear of the millions and possibly billions of deaths that are on the radar if we don't do more to dis-incent the behavior that is killing people (now), and destroying a lot of property, and will be doing so more of both in the future. It would make sense, in my view, to introduce various ways to put a higher price on ghg polluting without overdoing it, but rather ramping it up.

We've been trundling along for a few decades with the opponents of any action on climate change winning in part not only by lying about the science facts but also projecting that advocates of change must solve the situation by moralizing at each other. They're also winning, in my view, by being joined by a demand that carbon taxes not be imposed until some indeterminate percentage of economists be satisfied that something has been "optimized". Why assume the goal of a tax (particularly one intended to address a deadly externality) is to optimize the flow of the economy? I don't think it's so terrible, or disrespectful of your time, for me to request a link which makes something resembling your argument (that it is not time yet for a carbon tax).

You seem to be dismissive of arguments in this area that do not accept such a tax must show that it is in some way optimal, in timing, form and degree, according to economic theory, otherwise it should not be done. So, providing a link or two would not magically bring about some agreement, (because I'm not trying to satisfy economic optimization efforts) but it might at least provide a bit more understanding of why some economists seem to think the country and world should wait longer for carbon taxes.

As for my own view, I'm watching a planet of people poison their environment. I'd like to see an effort to correct this that includes a plan for imposing and then gradually ramping up a thoughtful economic disincentive as to the poisoning activity that goes beyond sitting on our thumbs moralizing at each other and waiting for market solutions that remove all market advantages of the incumbent polluting technologies (even as those incumbent technologies are protected from having to take into account any of the property-damaging costs that any other technology is asked to take into account, and which (the taking into account of property damages) is actually a sign of a healthy-functioning so-called "free" market. Maybe my approach really is provably wrong, with reference to some political-economic idealistic system or goals that I could accept as correct, but I don't know. I'm guessing there is a fair amount of thinking published by others over the last few decades and centuries on both sides of that discussion.

I will say in the last few quarters we have seen Carbon Dioxide Pricing and Carbon Dioxide Cleanup (more or less the two things I have thought for a couple of decades were being under-discussed, and apparently two things that Musk also has on his mind) ... these two things have emerged in recent quarters as focus points for increased discussion, technological development and action. As to developing the tech (and lowering the costs) of carbon dioxide cleanup, in the absence of carbon taxes (in whatever form) the incentive hasn't quite been there, but there is clearly building momentum nonetheless. As to carbon pricing, I think some of the conversation about carbon taxes tends to get bogged down too much with projected assumptions (as above) as to exact amounts or forms of the tax, but I've enjoyed seeing at least the pricing emerge in California, Canada, a return of its strength in Europe and, in development in China. It's hard for me to say how much of this amounts to a "carbon tax", but at least somewhere in there is imposed, by a hard regulation, a cost of polluting,

Relating to this, I want to mention, for those who might be interested, there is a decent (though time-consuming) presentation in the last hour or so of this video (starting at 3:03) by two experts, including a Nobel Economist, as to carbon pricing and the exchange traded product that they have participated in creating to help trade on this. There is some conversation buried in there as to understanding their stance(s) as to taxes and such, though it is not the main point of it, and I did not take notes on that point.

https://kraneshares.com/webinars/kranes ... ng-summit/
Replay: KraneShares’ Future of Green ETFs Summit
Thursday, March 25, 2021
9:00am - 1:00pm EDT / 13:00 - 17:00 GMT

In any event, I'm sure it's not for everyone, but I'm mentioning for those who might be sort of into that sort of discussion.
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WetEV
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Re: Musk's advocacy of a Carbon Tax and Carbon Capture

Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:52 am

jlsoaz wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:06 pm
As for my own view, I'm watching a planet of people poison their environment. I'd like to see an effort to correct this that includes a plan for imposing and then gradually ramping up a thoughtful economic disincentive as to the poisoning activity that goes beyond sitting on our thumbs moralizing at each other and waiting for market solutions that remove all market advantages of the incumbent polluting technologies (even as those incumbent technologies are protected from having to take into account any of the property-damaging costs that any other technology is asked to take into account, and which (the taking into account of property damages) is actually a sign of a healthy-functioning so-called "free" market. Maybe my approach really is provably wrong, with reference to some political-economic idealistic system or goals that I could accept as correct, but I don't know. I'm guessing there is a fair amount of thinking published by others over the last few decades and centuries on both sides of that discussion.
Both carrots and sticks are useful. Or incentives and disincentives. When alternative technologies are tiny incentives work better.

>> kraneshares

I'm not taking stock tips today.
WetEV
#49
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jlsoaz
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Re: Musk's advocacy of a Carbon Tax and Carbon Capture

Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:10 pm

WetEV wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:52 am
>> kraneshares
I'm not taking stock tips today.
Thanks, but let me take a moment please to be clear - this wasn't about a stock tip, and I don't have anything invested in any of the products discussed in the 4 hour video. I have to attend this sort of conference sometimes, and when I noticed Nobel Economics winner Engle discussing these matters that are somewhat germane to our own discussion, I thought I"d pass them along. However, I must admit that I didn't narrow it down much (an hour of video) so at some point if I'm able I'll try to point to a more exact spot, if anyone might be interested.
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