Ambrose's sanguine analysis is flawed on so many lavels. He neglects to
provide any pricing mechanism to show that the shift from coal to utilities is a
response to the costs of climate change. That's because there isn't
any. Climate change (and the burning rivers and other environmental problems
cited by others above) is an externalized cost-- a cost not borne by the
consumer. The costs of building dikes and levees in the Maldives and
Netherlands are not shouldered by the ratepayers of Con Ed, AEP, or Duke Power.
Utilities are shifting to gas because it is cheaper than coal-- a change in
behavior not based on climate concerns but on operating costs. That gas yields
less CO2 than coal is just a happy accident.Here's a question
for Ambrose: Suppose that a fuel came along that was a tenth the cost of coal
but produced ten times the CO2 per Btu. In a free market, absent government
interference, would utilities switch to this fuel or stick with coal?Another question for Ambrose: Would he suggest applying his laissez-faire
free market solution to other problems, say drunk driving, bank robbery, or
The author states "let the free market do most of the work." Well, a
true free market couldn't do "most" of the work and succeed. Most
does not mean all, so there would have to be some other player besides the free
market involved. The bottom line is that a true free market has
never worked and will never work. A free market led to rivers catching on fire,
inner city slums, the elimination of local natural resources, etc.
The same free market that blew a whole in the world economy by greedy gambling
Here at the utah armchair climatologists' association, we have a better
plan. Quite simply, we know man is not responsible in any way for climate
change. So we don't have to do a thing about it.
What nonsense! Letting the free market decide gave us air thick with pollutants,
rivers that caught on fire, coal ash that destroyed an entire community, and so
on and on. Letting the free market decide will virtually end the access and
existence of the things he claims to love. Government intervention is what
cleaned things up and protected what we now enjoy. This piece is ludicrous.
The free-market led to problems with smog, refusal to shift to less polluting
coal plants, and has no interest in reducing pollution unless it impacts the
bottom line, which it rarely does which is why the EPA and other government
entities have had to put regulations on them.
Jay, you are cherry picking and overlooking some important issues.First off, the conservative free market plan WAS cap-n-trade. Ask G HW
Bush.Yes, the free market has the greatest chance of solving the
problem.Is Fracking and the increased production of natural gas
really saving the day? Well the prices are certainly dropping.But,
it is a very very small percentage of our cars that run on it. Why is that?Kinda a chicken and egg thing. Very few CNG cars are being built,
possibly because of cost and the absence of places to refuel.No one
is building CNG refueling stations because there are not enough cars to justify
them.A business and government plan could get this technology past
the tipping point.India is mandating CNG cars. And they have taken
off.I always cringe at the all-or-nothing solutions. There is
usually more sensible middle ground.