Thursday, July 17, 2008

Want to fight Global Warming, put a value on carbon

One of the more interesting things about capitalism is putting a price on something will change behaviour but putting a value on something will change attitudes and beliefs.

At the moment, the best way to reduce ghg emissions is to put a price on those emissions. It is an imperfect solution to an imperfect problem. It is a necessary step because to do nothing is to march toward oblivion. However, make no mistake, it will not be enough to stop that march. It will just slow it down.

To really reduce ghg emissions and reverse GW we need to find a way to put a value on them. Right now we spew tonnes of the stuff into the atmosphere because it is considered a worthless waste product. If that were to change, if it became a valuable commodity, then you would really see a change as companies and entrepeneurs fell over themselves to develop ways to capture this commodity for exploitation.

There are examples. Technology is being developed to capture and utilize the methane created by city land fill sites. Someone realized that this stuff could make them a profit and letting it seep into the atmosphere is a waste.

The most pervasive ghg is carbon dioxide. Considering how much of the stuff we spew into the atmosphere on a daily basis the person or company that comes up with a process or product that puts a value on it will become very wealthy indeed.

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