Clean Air Has Costs, Even If It Does Kill Us All

A sad sign of the times in, well, The Times. An insistence that we should all have air just as clean as it can be. With absolutely no understanding of the costs associated with having that lovely clean air:

This newspaper’s Clean Air for All campaign is right to call for an independent regulator with strong powers of enforcement rather than vague targets pushed into the foggy future. Yes, there is a political cost to cleaning up cities and industries while getting dirty cars off roads but the rewards are great, whether saving NHS cash or creating a greener and more pleasant land for us all to live in.

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Zimbabwe’s One Sensible Economic Move – Abolishing The Special Exchange Rate For Fuel Purchases

Something that’s just so hard to get across to people is that special exemptions and treatments for certain parts of the economy just don’t work. People are interested in money and they’ll exploit any system at all to try and get it. Thus this move to using the basic market exchange rate for fuel purchases is a step forward for Zimbabwe’s economy – for it removes one of those exploitable special treatments.

Sure, it means that fuel prices have gone up.…

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Dear Zimbabwe, Stop Setting The Petrol Price Too Low, Yours Etc, Reality

If we could actually get the universe to write letters to people that’s what the current one to the Zimbabwean Government would read :

Sirs Please stop setting the petrol price too low Yours etc Reality.

Because that’s what they’re doing, setting it too low. No, I know, no one can afford the stuff, there’s a shortage and all that. And that there’s a shortage is the very proof we need that the price is too low.…

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Monbiot’s Mistake- Pollution Kills, Fer Sure, But Creating Pollution Has Benefits

George Monbiot makes the standard mistake in his insistence that as pollution kills people therefore we should have no pollution. This is not so, pollution kills people it most certainly does but the creation of pollution has benefits as well – like not killing people by being able to make or move something. Thus we do not need, not even desire, to have no pollution, we require the optimal amount. Even if we stick with the idea of killing people only that means that we want as much pollution as saves lives and as little as kills people – the optimal amount being where the lives saved equal those taken.…

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Moody’s To India – Oil Excise Duty Changes Not A Good Idea

Moody’s, the ratings agency, is telling India that cuts in oil excise duties aren’t a good idea – not unless spending gets chopped too. And that’s the political difficulty, isn’t it? Cutting taxes is popular, cutting spending isn’t.

It’s also true that cutting such duties just because oil is expensive at the moment isn’t a good idea either.

Rating agency Moody’s has sounded a note of caution that any reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel would adversely affect fiscal deficit unless it is matched by a commensurate cut in expenditure.

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Shouldn’t The EPA Have Learned From The VW Emissions Scandal?

It would appear that Donald Trump’s version of the Environmental Protection Agency has learned the lesson of the VW and others diesel emissions scandal. It would also appear that pretty much no one else has. If you set emissions standards that are expensive to reach then people won’t reach them – they’ll lie, cheat and dissemble instead. There is indeed a better method of dealing with these emissions problems though, simply increase the gas tax to cover the social cost of those emissions.…

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A Parking Lot With 21,000 VW Diesels Parked For Scrap

It’s not obvious that this is a useful environmental solution. Sure, Volkswagen cheated and lied on those emissions tests from its diesel engines. The why of that we know – it’s impossible to make a cheap diesel engine which meets current emissions standards. We can make expensive diesel engines which meet them, but we can’t make cheap ones which both have the reduced CO2 output from higher fuel efficiency and also meet the NOx emission standards.…

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