I've never met a politician that is smarter than the free market.
Or a scientist.
Or an economist.
The problem with elitist "management" of "free" markets is the inevitable unintended consequences. Sometimes those consequences are accurately predicted by conservatives. Other times it takes turning the government micro-management loose on the free market to see what happens.
“They quickly figured out that they could earn one carbon credit by eliminating one ton of carbon dioxide, but could earn more than 11,000 credits by simply destroying a ton of an obscure waste gas normally released in the manufacturing of a widely used coolant gas. That is because that byproduct has a huge global warming effect. The credits could be sold on international markets, earning tens of millions of dollars a year...
So since 2005 the 19 plants receiving the waste gas payments have profited handsomely from an unlikely business: churning out more harmful coolant gas so they can be paid to destroy its waste byproduct. The high output keeps the prices of the coolant gas irresistibly low, discouraging air-conditioning companies from switching to less-damaging alternative gases. That means, critics say, that United Nations subsidies intended to improve the environment are instead creating their own damage.” (MSNBC)
So while the whole concept of carbon credits was to reduce gases related to alleged global warming, this perverse system has actually created an incentive to create more of those gases.
This would be a good time for conservative critics of carbon credits to say "We told you so."
We told you so.
The whole concept of carbon credits is the worst of both worlds. Not only is the government interfering in the free market, it's trying to create a market out of thin air by forcing people to want something they really have no use for (carbon credits).
Craig Steiner is a writer and political activist from Denver, Colorado.
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