If you ran the world…how would you fix climate change? What would be your plan to implement clean energy? What renewables would you focus on, and how would you put a price on carbon?
Personally, I am more in favour of a carbon tax than cap-and-trade. It just seems simpler, more difficult for businesses to find loopholes around, and easier to gradually increase over the years. However, I would be happy with either of these two competing propositions…just as long as we can put a price on carbon, so that its true costs are finally reflected in goods and services.
From there, I would leave it to businesses to reduce their emissions through whatever method they wanted…no strict rules. When carbon has a cost, the invisible hand will be able to sort out the best methods. Businesses have spent centuries saving money and maximizing profit. Carbon would just be another form of currency, and we would take a fiscally conservative approach to spending it.
I believe that a multi-faceted approach to renewable energy is essential. At this point, no one technology will be able to replace fossil fuels. In combination, though, it would be possible. Lots more nuclear energy, supplemented with wind and solar (geographically suited to the area – in the future, though, a smart grid for better transport and storage of the energy would be ideal). We could use biomass from sustainable sources – algae looks quite promising, as it grows quickly, has a high content of oil, and its harvesting would have the benefit of reducing eutrophication in affected watersheds. Geothermal power is well worth developing, and in the meantime, it could be used for heating and cooling.
Continuing to burn natural gas, in the place of coal and oil, would be a very acceptable intermediate step. Collecting methane from landfills and farms would provide us with a carbon-neutral substance that’s chemically identical to natural gas.
Improved efficiency standards and cogeneration of heat and electricity could make a big dent in our energy usage, even before changing the source.
That’s what I advocate for – how about you? Leave your responses in the comments.