Wolf von Fabeck - june 3, 2021 - please click F5

Emissions trading

Economists often assume wrong assumptions

We have to prevent the climate catastrophe.

That is why we need an "energy turnaround" and that means the fastest possible switch to a hundred and more percent solar and wind energy with the simultaneous expansion of electricity storage facilities and an expansion of technical greenhouse gas recovery and climate-neutral use of the recovered greenhouse gases in carbon chemistry.

Our energy transition plan is threatened by emissions trading. The proponents of emissions trading claim to solve the climate problem in an economically compatible manner. But even trained economists are subject to a huge misjudgment here.

It says there that emissions trading offers incentives to improve the efficiency of fossil plants and that is why emissions trading or CO2 pricing would ultimately achieve the desired goal of zero emissions.

But that is grossly misinformation: zero emissions and good efficiency have nothing to do with each other.

A solar system may perhaps have poor efficiency, but in any case it is emission-free in operation.

    On the other hand:

A fossil system may perhaps be extremely efficient, but in any case it has high emissions of greenhouse gases.

You read that right! And this correction is a necessary prerequisite for understanding the following critical considerations:

One of the most prominent proponents of emissions trading, the "climate economist" Otmar Edenhofer wants to make the continued operation of fossil fuel plants more climate-friendly through a fundamental reform of the emissions trading.

Otmar Edenhofer in an interview on emissions trading
Edenhofer pointed out in an interview by Tobias Schmidt (published on May 29 and 30, 2021) that not only electricity generation, but also the transport and building heating sectors must be included in CO2 pricing. Literally: "That can only be done through direct emissions trading with a CO2 ceiling for the sectors that have not been taken into acount so far."
The title of his article was: Handle prohibitions very carefully..

Consequently, however, Edenhofer would have to introduce specially adapted greenhouse upper limits (caps) for all other "sectors" in addition to the sectors of industry, electricity, heat supply and transport that he specifically mentioned. So for the chemical industry, cold stores, water supply, medical supply, information technology, mining, basic industry, heavy industry, weapons technology, construction, transport, traffic, etc. For each of these areas designated here as sectors, special caps would be necessary. There would be overlap and a mess of rules.

But the fatal thing in Edenhofer's plan will be that, as already mentioned, in none of these cases the required useful energy can be obtained without emissions. A huge base of climate-damaging emissions remains.
The process aimed for is not only confusing but - even worse! - essentially ineffective.
But is that a sufficient reason to ban it?

In the following, some arguments should be given that even speak in favor of a judicial ban on emissions trading - regardless of whether it is modernized or continued unchanged.

  1. Energy plant operators are given the right to emit a certain amount of CO 2 or other climate-damaging greenhouse gases.

    In view of the impending climate catastrophe, it is ethically and constitutionally questionable to grant pollution rights that further damage the climate and thus in particular endanger the basic right to life and physical integrity as well as self-determination (Artikel 2 of the german Grundgesetz). In particular, it is no longer justifiable because solar and wind energy offer expandable, emission-free alternatives .

  2. Emissions trading legalizes the extraction of fossil fuels from the earth's crust

    The continuous extraction of fossil fuels from the earth's crust for several centuries was and is the main cause of the climate crisis. It is irresponsible to continue this process.

  3. Emissions trading cannot bring about a significant reduction in emissions.

    As already emphasized at the beginning, the greenhouse gas emissions of fossil-fueled systems can at most be reduced very slightly by improving the efficiency. Engineers have been working on this task since invention of the steam engine. The efficiencies are only slightly better, however, and the carbon atoms in fossil fuels do not disappear at all.


  4. The control mechanisms of emissions trading can easily be bypassed.

    So dirt cheap pollution rights from abroad can be used in international emissions trading. Also, the control of emissions is often not taken seriously because, especially in the energy industry, the denial of man-made climate change is good form in the whole country.

  5. Emissions savings, which fortunately have been achieved through the construction of wind and solar plants, are canceled out again by emissions trading, because every reduction in total emissions in emissions trading leads to the reduction of pollution rights.

No significant emissions savings can be achieved by emissions trading.
If, on the other hand, one country successfully converts energy generation to solar and wind energy at the national level and also achieves employment policy advantages, this is an example in other countries in the world to emulate. Nothing is more encouraging than the first successes.

We don't need any small improvements in an unsatisfactory makeshift program, but we need the total energy transition described at the beginning.

Achieving this energy turnaround should be the focus of progressive politics, if necessary with the help of the courts!