Quote Of The Day

“I’d even argue that people’s views about climate change are extremely inconsistent. (#2) If you believe that lower demand for fossil fuels in in clean countries will reduce fossil fuel prices in dirty countries, why aren’t First World greens worried that reducing their carbon footprint will counter-productively increase carbon emissions in the Third World?” — Bryan Caplan

2 Responses to “Quote Of The Day”


  • why aren’t First World greens worried that reducing their carbon footprint will counter-productively increase carbon emissions in the Third World?

    Because it’s an irrelevant concern. The alternative, maintaining or increasing our consumption, is not going to solve the problem. Our reduced consumption reduces overall consumption. Consumption would increase outside our country, but OVERALL it will drop, and that’s a good thing.

    Take a look at an S-D curve. If we reduced our demand for fossil fuel by say a billion barrels a year the price would drop and the amount supplied would drop. Not by a full billion barrels, but by a lesser amount because the reduced price means more is consumed elsewhere. But it’s still going down. That’s good.

    Furthermore if we develop renewable technologies we make these alternative sources more feasible outside the US (we fund the R&D and even the poorer parts of the world benefit, just as they have benefited from other US funded R&D, like computers and the internet).

    Is Caplan suggesting we burn more in order to reduce the amount consumed in other parts of the world? Is that supposed to help the situation? Seems rather ridiculous, but on the other hand it does make the presently rich a little richer, and in the end that’s Caplan’s modus operandi.

  • Consumption would increase outside our country, but OVERALL it will drop, and that’s a good thing.

    His argument is that we are more environmentally friendly here, so you want more of the production being done here. If you reduce say 1% of oil consumption, but at the same time have half of that reduction be offset by greater production in say China, where extraction is significantly worse for the environment, than you are on net worse off.

    Sure, with time, this may fix itself. China will eventually become, as it reaches a higher and higher standard of living, an environmentally friendly place to produce oil – but time is precisely what we dont have when discussing issues like global warming.

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