29 July 2007

Positive Net Prosperity, Zero Net Carbon Emissions

Here is the global warming dilemma: the economic activities of modern societies that makes us all more prosperous, have negative externalities in the environment by emmiting carbon in the atmosphere.

There are 3 possible solutions to this problem:

  • "Wait and see": Do nothing and face the increasing consequences by trying to adjust to a deteriorating environment. In best case that could mean having to live more and more in increasingly isolated and artificial environments with air-co etc. Not very attractive.

  • "Go back to the caves": Greenpeace and other capitalist-haters would like to punish all economic activity and force us live like we did few thousand years ago. Two in one: environment may recover and no more annoying capitalism

  • "Deploy our best weapon": Instead we can resolve this crisis by using the ultimate tool for human ingenuity, the market. Private companies have already provided a sophisticated solution that allows us to just spend part of our wealth to eliminate excessive carbon. It is called carbon offsetting (here). The idea here is that after you calculate your personal primary and secondary carbon emission, you can offset them by contributing to cheap projects (like planting trees in Kenya) that absorb the carbon from the atmosphere. The net carbon emissions will be zero -or negative. I wonder what Greenpeace has to say about this market friendly solution.

No comments: