Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Farmers and Cap-and-Trade

From The Economist:
Rural Americans are on average poorer than their urban compatriots, and rely more on fossil fuel. Their draughty homes cost more to heat than snug apartments. Their tractors are seldom solar-powered. They cannot ride the subway to work, or haul their hogs by bicycle. Even rural folk whose jobs are not energy-intensive... must drive miles to the shops, or to visit friends. A study by Michael Cragg and Matthew Kahn found that poor, conservative areas emit more carbon dioxide per head than rich, liberal ones. By an amazing coincidence, the politicians from such areas are much less likely to support carbon curbs. That was why the House cap-and-trade bill had to be sweetened—and made less effective—with hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of giveaways. ...

In his book “$20 per gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better”, Christopher Steiner, a journalist, rejoices that Americans will eventually give up driving and move to densely-packed cities where they can walk to the shops. To people like Mr Wright, that sounds like Hell. “It’d be like living in Beijing,” he gasps, gazing across an open plain to the mountains in the distance.

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