Economics and Energy

Over at swords crossed there are some interesting economic and ethical points about environmental policy.

Lord Zorgon quotes Arnold Kling as saying:

The most important, inconvenient truth about energy policy is that there is no justification for a subsidy for good energy. Subsidies for wind farms, solar energy, ethanol, and so forth, whether they come from government “energy policy” or personal carbon offsets, are pure pork.


The public policy goal of those who worry about carbon emissions is for people to consume less bad energy. Whether people consume more good energy is beside the point. Trying to get other people to consume more good energy so that you can consume more bad energy is feeble-minded.

These two points contradict each other.  If consuming less bad energy is a goal, then moving more citizens over to good energy is a viable part of that goal.  To move more people over to good energy, there has to be more readily available.  Hence good energy subsidies.

Lord Zorgon considers Gore’s position to be “ridiculous moralizing”:

Al Gore’s absurd claim that global warming is a “moral” issue, as opposed to an economic/political issue that has no easy win-win solutions and only involves tradeoffs

Let’s consider a moral issue to be one that has a “right” and a “wrong” side to it.

If we do not act to save the environment, and the science behind global warming proves to be correct, we are knowingly bringing about conditions which will result in disease, displacement and death.  How is this not a moral issue?


One Response

  1. […] 7th, 2007 Arnold Kling responded to my earlier post.  He writes: I am not certain that he read my entire essay. I am absolutely certain that he did […]

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