Friday, November 13th, 2009
My latest post is online over at New Geography. It is called “Reducing Carbon Should Not Distort Regional Economies“.
Here is a map of proposed compliance costs by quintile for the pending cap and trade bill in Congress put together by the Brookings Institution:
As you can see, the costs vary widely by region of the country, with the lower Midwest through the Mid-Atlantic and the South getting whacked. New England, the Upper Midwest, and the West – notably California – get off light.
When it comes to carbon, here’s my really simple Hoosier logic. I don’t know what artificially inducing a material change in the composition of the atmosphere by pumping large amounts of carbon dioxide into it will do, but chances are it will do something. Since I like the world the way it is – I’m a Hoosier, remember – maybe we ought to think about maybe not doing that. I’m not sure I’d spend unlimited sums of money on it, but I’d spend something. And if it reduces our dependence on oil from unsavory regimes, so much the better.
I tend not to opine much upon national debates. However, I’m not going to just sit there and let California try to knife a good chunk of the Midwest’s economy. Any carbon reduction regime should be as neutral as possible in the way it distorts regional economies. And it shouldn’t encourage manufacturing businesses – of which, believe it or not, there are still plenty in the Midwest – to move to carbon havens like China, where they already would get the “benefit” of lax environmental laws, dubious workplace safety requirements, and no independent unions or much else in the way of labor rights.
This is doubly true since increasingly it seems like this cap and trade bill won’t even reduce carbon emissions. Two of the EPA’s own San Francisco lawyers penned a Washington Post op-ed to this effect. They also have a You Tube video comparing the cap and trade bill to the Challenger disaster.
The Brookings information on cap and trade was presented in a blog called The Avenue, which they are producing in conjunction with the New Republic. Brookings, through the Metropolitan Policy Program, is one of the most respected names in urban policy, so this one is worth checking out.
Pecha Kucha Indy
There was a little something different for Pecha Kucha Indy Vol. 7. This event was part of the Spirit and Place festival and involved a competition. Each entrant was proposing a project designed to make the city a more inspiring place, and the winner was awarded $10,000 from the local community foundation to make their project a reality. I was privileged to be one of the judges.
The winner turned out to be Growing Place, a proposal to create a slow food edible garden in White River State Park. Congrats to presenter Laura Henderson. Another proposal, to create murals depicting the narratives of the lives of the diverse residents in the East 10th St. corridor, was awarded an extra prize of $4000 from the community foundation and LISC Indianapolis. Congrats to presenter Mark Latta.
It was great to get to meet several of my readers for the first time. Thanks for coming up to say Hi. I always like to engage with my readers. Also, it was great to finally get to meet fellow judge David Hoppe for the first time. It’s another example of why Indy is not the small town you might think it is. You just assume everybody must know everybody, but I continue to be amazed at people who I would be sure know each other intimately but have never even heard of one another.
David everyone knows but I hadn’t physically met. He’s a columnist for alt-weekly Nuvo. He’s a staunch man of the left, but even if that is not your cup of tea, his writings on arts and culture, and also urbanism are among the best and required reading. Of course if you live in Indy you already know that. I think about writing a blog for three years, but this guy has been at it for over a decade, week in week out, not just writing about but helping to create the Indy cultural scene. Great to shake hands finally.
I’m going to be on vacation next week. I’ve got a few articles queued up but might not be around much in person.