|Average temps in Oregon from 1895 - 2018 (L to R)|
(Show Your Stripes)
For drivers, that means higher gas and diesel prices -- significantly higher as time goes on.It's all about pain, feeling it in the wallet, stickin' it to 'em.
This is the no-pain-no-gain reality at the heart of the “market-based” cap and trade policy. If businesses and consumers don’t feel it in their wallets, they won’t change their behavior and reduce emissions.
|Front page yesterday in the Oregonian|
But it's not really about pain. An important foundational frame is about pricing signals, information, and rational choice. The basic Econ 101 framework of markets is missing in the article. There are alternatives to gas and driving, and people will make choices about travel.
There is also the frame of opportunity cost. The price advance in gasoline is paltry compared to the costs of doing nothing, costs to the planet and to civilization our current trend is certain to impose.
Gas is also cheap right now. Any "pain" is a relative thing!
And there is also the frame of idealized markets from Econ 101 and the ways actual, broken markets come up short. The current price of gas and gas powered travel occurs in a market that is missing key information, is badly distorted, and is a failed market in important ways; the article's frame doesn't situate the price of gas in the context of a failed market. Our travel and petroleum markets have incomplete information and incomplete costing priced into them, and the "invisible hand" goes off in unwanted, non-optimal directions.
The choice isn't just about batteries
The article alludes to costs and choices in travel a little, but limits the choice to electric cars.
Oregonians can avoid the added cost with an electric vehicle – that’s the entire goal of the policy. To reach the state’s emission goals, all passenger vehicles would need to go electric by 2050.
|Both carbon and safety program|
The climate goal must also include reductions in the total miles traveled, and this means more walking, biking, and busing.
These are travel choices also. Because of our compulsory autoism, we have subsidized driving with things like free parking, parking mandates in code, road funding that is no longer self-funded with road use fees like a gas tax, employee commuter benefits, the ID function of drivers licenses, and such. Conversely, we have made the non-auto choices inconvenient and costly: Slow, exposed to the elements, with workplaces and culture intolerant of mussed hair or rain gear. Walking, biking, and busing have meaningful non-financial costs in our system of compulsory autoism.
|Free parking is a big subsidy|
and key in our autoism
(City of Salem)
Altogether, increasing the cost of carbon is a necessary adjustment to a market that operates with too much subsidy and therefore has fallen out of whack. Carbon pricing is correction, not punishment. Carbon pricing will make the "invisible hand" of the market work better.
Loggers protested at the Capitol yesterday, and if they think doing nothing is going to keep them in business, that a restoration to earlier 20th century practice is possible, that's a tragic misapprehension.
|Front page today|
|via OSU Library|