Affecting a degree of distance from something is an easy way to belittle it. For example, those Americans who still can’t bring themselves to swallow hard and just say “greenhouse gasses”, love to use the adjective “so-called” when referring to greenhouse gasses, in a last, hot gasp of denial.
This is just what the “Wall Street Journal” did in its editorial on the ills of the Kyoto Protocol and the EU ETS on 14th December 2006. That editorial is breathtaking. Read it.
The editor of the Journal sniffs at Europe’s politicians for the folly of their emission trading scheme. It criticises the typically eurocratic political meddling in trying to influence the behaviour of business through the creation of an artificial market. Far, far better is the US approach of subsidising business through USD 1 bn of tax credits. So the Wall Street Journal thinks that Government subsidy through tax breaks is not an attempt to influence what it calls the “Wisdom of Markets”, but the EU Emission Trading Scheme is. There does not seem to be such a big difference between a scheme where the government imposes a cost of carbon through a market, and a scheme where the government imposes a negative cost of low-carbon through a tax credit. Either way, the government does not trust that wise old thing, the market. And for jolly good reason, if the market is anything to do with Wall Street.
At least in the emission trading scheme, the government leaves it to the market to select the best technology. In the US scheme of tax credit, the wiser government chooses which technologies to support.
The Wall Street Journal also gives a fine example of the Chinese buying US manufacturer Caterpillar’s gas engines for burning coalmine methane as nice proof of the “market” at work without the need for government intervention. Err, hello. Who’s that doing the buying? The Chinese government, in effect. So not the wise old market after all. And what prompts them to buy? Err … Just that confounded European Union Emission Trading Scheme which put the price of carbon high enough to make the coalmine methane deals in China viable. Right.
Why does the editor of America’s iconic newspaper flaunt his ignorance with such confidence? Could it be all the “hamburgers” they eat over there? Or perhaps the result of a free market in education?