Let the free market take care of global warming

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  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 16, 2012 1:23 p.m.

    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 investment fraud?

  • govt rocks Salt Lake City, UT
    July 16, 2012 8:33 a.m.

    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.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    July 16, 2012 7:20 a.m.

    The same free market that blew a whole in the world economy by greedy gambling bankers?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 15, 2012 10:01 a.m.

    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.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 15, 2012 8:29 a.m.

    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.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2012 7:23 a.m.

    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.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    July 15, 2012 6:36 a.m.

    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.