Enough food if…

by Richard on April 16, 2013

…governments keep their climate promise

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Mark Byron 04.17.13 at 2:52 pm

Interesting bait-and-switch. Making shipping more expensive cuts down on global commerce (a feature if you’re not a fan of globalization, a bug otherwise) and makes imported goods more expensive, including food moving from places where climate change helps farmers to places that are struggling like the gal in the video.

That’s not to say that moving to cleaner engines on shipping isn’t a good thing, but it wouldn’t be my first move to fund global farmer-education (”extension services” in the US, where the state ag college reaches out to farmers to teach them the state of the art) services, which is a great idea to help folks adapt to changes, which are likely to happen even if global warming doesn’t kick back into gear as feared.

2

Richard 04.18.13 at 10:13 am

The levy wouldn’t make shipping more expensive. It’s just a way of accounting for costs which already exist but which are not currently borne by the industry. Isn’t ‘the polluter pays’ a fair and reasonable principle?

3

Mark Byron 04.19.13 at 12:11 am

Internalizing external costs would be a fair description; the pollution harms the society at large but since it only mildly inconveniences the owner, he’ll pollute until forced not to.

The trick is whether the taxes needed to clean up the emissions are on par with the problems caused by them. I do recall from a stretch writing on shipping/logistics issues that ships often have diesel engines that wouldn’t pass emission muster in cars. Getting newer, cleaner engines in could be problematic, especially in an industry that has a surplus of ships available; shipping hasn’t had a good patch since the economic downturn of 2008 and on.

4

Richard 04.20.13 at 8:52 pm

>> “…he’ll pollute until forced not to”

In a nutshell, why purely market based solutions to environmental problems won’t work!

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