Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Carbon Pricing Conference-Brief Thoughts

I will have a more detailed post later, but here are some quick observations:

  • There was no mention of a possible nationwide carbon pricing scheme in California
  • There were very few economists; also most didn't seem to view a carbon price as the centerpiece of climate change legislation, only a supplement to traditional regulation.  I am curious what the economists think of that assertion.
  • Fran Pavley, author of AB 32, mentioned lowering energy prices while increasing efficiency and increasing jobs.  I wanted to question her more about this, because I feel strongly like environmental legislation should focus on helping the environment (at least as long as the marginal social benefit is worth the cost), not on necessarily increasing jobs.
  • There was some interesting discussion of linking different carbon trading schemes.
  • There was a clear support of cap-and-trade over a carbon tax.  The people were mostly regulators, lawyers, investors, and it's interesting that none seemed to be more strongly supported of a clear price.
  • Carbon offsets and accounting for offsets was an interesting topic that I actually did learn something about.
  • There was a lot of support for government spending, but this might have been skewed because of the people present (regulators, investors, government officials).
Overall, I am worried that there is not enough of a sense of energy and not nearly enough support for a global price on carbon, which is really necessary in order to limit our contribution to climate change.

By the way, this was the agenda: http://policyinstitute.ucdavis.edu/files/general/pdf/2013-01-05_Final-Agenda.pdf .  Again, more to come later.

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