Carbon Pricing for Climate Crisis
Act now or collective ignorance has to pay the higher price much later
It was three months ago in May when I drove my car on the local road to the inner city of Tokyo that a digital display came into my eyes. It signaled the air temperature with two digits in big white dots. The readout at a glance from my seat indicated a clear 28 degrees or 83 degrees in Fahrenheit at 9:00 in the morning. At present time in August, it has gone up to 38 degree (104 F) in the same location. The weather forecast on the national television revealed heat stroke indicators until the end of September. For years, it has been record hot until the end of October. The air conditioner runs around the clock for more than four months. It was a crisis for public health.
A British newspaper, the Economist, reckons that daily emissions have reduced by 17% from last year in the first week of April. The International Energy Agency forecast 8% drop year-on-year in global industrial greenhouse-gas emissions. A lot of work still remains to be done. The paper explains the public polices to stop the climate crisis. It calls for unilateral cooperation among rich countries to decarbonize by carbon pricing. Heavy industry, including oil and gas, steel, and automobile, are often on the stage of scrutiny for their accountability of the temperature rise. The governments will be introducing a tax on carbon. The carbon-pricing, according to the Economist to show the opportunity, will capitalize on the use of market power to persuade consumers and firms to reduce emissions. That is the first out of three areas of consideration.
In business, the market pays attention to two new technologies. One is renewable energy such as wind mill or solar panel. The other is charging point of electric vehicles for hybrid automobiles. With a popularity of market participants such as investors and consumers, technological solution contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions. Wind and solar will be replacing fossil fuels as alternative clean energy in theory. But in the current market with products available for consumers, the benefits don’t outweigh the costs of installing and maintaining the panel. Over the past decades since the deployment in general consumers, the costs have tumbled. The government needs to act on this.
The initiative of carbon prices also addresses the massive scaling requirement of electric-vehicle charging-points. As of today, the scale is not expanding enough to attract automobile owners in consumer market. Consumers have been very cautious about purchase of electric-vehicle on the ground of economic justifications. Tax reduction at the deal is in effect only for one year, not enough to incentive the car owners to switch from conventional vehicle to fully electric-run automobiles.
The Economist raises the second domain in an increasing awareness of carbon pricing. In Europe, the public movement pushes the politicians to ratify the carbon-pricing scheme. Joe Biden, a democratic candidate for U.S. election 2020, is an advocate of carbon pricing in the campaign. Even China institutes a radical one still unclear to the readers of the magazine.
The third effort for climate fix can be found in Europe where passengers switch the route from air to a ground on high-speed trains. They are empowered by nuclear energy. Air France considers a scrap of domestic routes to reduce the emissions over the alternative transportation. The time is running out.
It is 13:24 on August 20 in Tokyo. Your writer will be driving his car in two hours, heading to the industrial cluster of Tokyo metropolitan area. It will be extremely hot with little air conditioner functioning and the windows wide-open in the congested local high-ways. Mega-ton trucks move fast, heavy buses go through bumper-to-bumper on magic act, and compact vehicles spend a good one-hour in 20 km on the heat wave. The average speed of any vehicles slows down at 20 km per hour. It is not easy to escape from the modern climate crisis but if the carbon pricing changes the direction of consumption behavior, I will be supporting the idea for the later generations.