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Core functions of government, pollution, regulation

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by bwa, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. bwa

    bwa Member

    Dec 8, 2014
    Aptos, Ca
    #1 bwa, Jan 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
    Caveman poop in river. Downstream caveman hit pooper caveman in head. Government is born. Core function of government is to stop pollution. More generally, core function of government is to stop theft of life (including health) or things, and that includes ill health from pollution.

    Competition of companies is good. It creates better value for customers. But the market has to have good and sane regulations. Bad unchecked regulations ruin everything.

    Competition of regulation is good. It creates better regulation for citizens.

    For competition of regulation to work, it needs to have nations with strong borders, so the regulations don't leak across the borders, and the regulators are pressured to compete better. The worst thing that can happen to the world with regulation is unified regulation in the world, like WTO.

    The ONLY regulation that should happen worldwide is the most CORE FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT: TO STOP POLLUTION, theft and murder, but cross-border would be on international scales only.

    I read a piece about how Moss Landing reduced their pollution and the government agency tasked with penalizing them for pollution rewarded their half billion dollar massive pollution reduction measures by massively INCREASING their penalties. Furthermore, the penalties were round numbers not tied to amount of pollution caused by the plant. There is no direct cost associated with pollution. This is the same problem with Chinese pollution against the world: tarriffs need to be set up that directly associate EVERY nation's pollution with its costs, both internally to its own citizens (that's really up to them) and externally to the citizens of every other country (that should be mandatory, but the last stop is at the border of every country, where they can enforce those pollution fees via import fees and such things).

    Just because USA oil and coal companies don't want to pay for pollution isn't a good excuse for our great nation to fall behind economically by not charging China for its pollution of our land. Maybe you don't care, but the death toll in USA from China pollution is large and rapidly growing, and a lot of that is banked from pollution China already sent us. Utilities that want sane accounting practices for their solar fields should realize this and take the initiate to start payouts to recipients of their own pollution (usually fossil fuels) DIRECTLY IN RELATION TO THE POLLUTION DAMAGE THEY DO, and insist on import tarriffs against other polluting countries to accomplish the identical accounting, and lobby strongly and successfully against penalty one size fits all crony tax regulation disconnected pollution "guilt" fees. This more than anything will cause the accounting of pollution TO JUST TAKE CARE OF ITSELF, and our world will automatically convert to clean energy.

    The competitive market paired with competitive regulation will accomplish great things. We as citizens need to keep continuously holding companies and governments accountable for their actions (using good strong tools like competition, intelligence, etc.) and cause these policies to be implemented ourselves where we have control. Insist on strong borders, competitive regulation, and a marketplace of pollution that works well.

    "Pollution Rights" don't actually exist: they aren't like "water rights" where there's pools of water to draw from; instead, we should stop this concept of the right to pollute. Nothing is more antithetical to the purpose of human civilization than the "right to pollute". If that's how the system started to be set up, transform it in fair accounting principles to the per-effect pollution payments I described, and suddenly decent regulations and clean energy will naturally result.
  2. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

    Mar 12, 2015
    Kamloops BC Canada
    Agree 100%!
  3. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Oct 7, 2011
    Portland, Maine, USA
    There's a serious problem with the idea of "competition of regulation": when the harm created by weak regulation is primarily borne by other countries, but the benefit of attracting companies to your country is high, then countries have the skewed incentives to develop effective regulation.

    An example where competition of regulation can work: drinking water standards. Ireland's drinking water quality doesn't affect other countries' citizens much, so both the cost and benefits are primarily within Ireland.

    An example where competition of regulation works poorly: profit taxes on international corporations. Ireland's laws creating a safe-harbor for profits attracts a lot of companies to establish operations there simply to evade paying taxes where the profits are actually generated. A harmonized taxing structure (with country-specific rates) could solve this structural issue, allowing countries to compete on tax *rates* without allowing tax evasion.

    Regulating GHG pollution seems closer to the second example. Climate change linked to GHG emissions is a global problem, and the impact of extra emissions in one country are mostly externalized to all, while the benefits of making emissions cheap are mostly localized within the country. That's a recipe for weak carbon regulation in the absence of enforceable, per-country GHG limits. I don't see those coming any time soon, though.

    While I generally agree, we should recognize that there is a non-zero sustainable amount of most pollution. Carbon is the clearest example: Earth's biosphere has the ability to take up and sequester some amount of carbon without leading to widespread climate change. The problem today is that humans are pushing these carbon sinks to the limit, with predictable, adverse consequences.

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