Friday, May 1, 2009

This is why I love carbon capping

At EcoAction's clothing swap last week, I was having an oh-too-serious conversation about carbon cap legislation, carbon capture technology (which some crazy people have tried to convince us makes coal green and clean), and why the government should support both. The conversation/argument was mostly about whether or not the government should subsidize carbon capture research. My argument was, as long as carbon emissions have a price, then renewable energy can beat dirty energy in the marketplace. Even with the government's help, coal would never beat wind under a carbon cap scenario. So why not help it out? I mean, capturing carbon emissions underground does seem pretty great if it's feasible.

Just as an aside, check out what happened last time the Dept. of Energy tried to do this on a large scale. Finance majors - remember to discount before making an NPV comparison!

Well, while I was at work the other day I found this great report on the consequences of different scenarios on the energy market. The Congressional Research Service estimates that under a cap & trade bill in which all allowances are auctioned off (Europe gave them all away for free and for the first few years of their program, total emissions increased.....) wind power would be about 20% cheaper than any type of coal power. In fact, even if the government subsidizes carbon capture research and the coal industry is able to implement carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) at costs 50% below current estimates, wind would still win on price! This made me unspeakably happy.

Despite what your views on the environment and global warming are, the truth is simple: carbon emissions cost us money. A lot of it. Like, hundreds of million of refugees and crazy silly droughts and rebuilding cities in less than a century type of money. So, why do we live in a fantasy land where polluters can emit carbon for free? Well, by the end of the summer, hopefully we'll be living in reality. The ball is in your court, Congress - give us cap & trade!

1 comment:

  1. Thought you might find this interesting/ sad (I'll admit I have not read the whole thing yet):