Re: CLIMATE: Cooling, not warming...

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Feb 04 2002 - 15:19:10 MST

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> In a mixed libertarian-leaning democracy-compromise government, the
> government would set an overall total limit on the allowable amount
> of some certain emission (or extraction), and issue trading rights.
> Companies would buy and sell pollution rights on the free market; the
> total level of pollution would be fixed (hopefully at roughly the
> sustainable level), but who did the pollution would end up being
> whoever produced the greatest benefit from it and was therefore able
> to offer the highest price. Higher prices would encourage research
> into alternatives, and lower prices would encourage some people to
> buy up the rights and bury them, reducing the overall levels.

If pollution rights are deemed to be evenly split among all the humans in
the world, then the market in environmental credits (go ahead, just try
and sell "pollution credits") may provide a small amount of income for
developing countries and low-income individuals. Hopefully, this would
not have the usual problems attendant with wealth-redistribution schemes
and totally unearned income.

I don't think it would take much longer than five minutes before people
started complaining about too many credits, not enough credits, prices
being manipulated, and even antipoverty activists complaining about
low-pollution environmentalist technologies driving down market prices,
but hopefully the effect would remain positive despite the inevitable

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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