Friday, December 7, 2007

Why oh Why?

Tyler Cowen:"The problem with realists is they can get depressed and feel they are not going anywhere.." via Marginal Revolution.

My feelings exactly...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

International solution to the global warming

Let's assume that there is the global warming, that it is a problem, and that humans can solve it by reducing the emissions of CO2 (or something else). Also, let's assume that we know how much of CO2 the humans on this planet can produce to reduce the problem (Ideally, you would need to know costs and benefits to choose the appropriate level of emissions).
These are all strong assumptions, but let's say they are all satisfied. The tough question is, how do you reach a global/international agreement that will lead to enforcement of the right level of emissions? It is a very difficult thing to do, because poor countries want to grow (we did not care about emissions during technical and scientific revolution, which made our progress much faster, so why should they?), rich countries do not want to reduce their living standards (which would be an effect of a significant reduction in emissions). Morally, you cannot simply cap the emission on some historical levels - this is pure nonsense that would make poor countries poor forever. There has to be a solution that will allow smooth transition, allow poor countries to grow and rich countries to slowly adjust to the new requirements.
I believe there is. And it seems surprisingly simple. Take the right amount of emissions of CO2 and divide it by the number of people (according to UN or whatever). This is what every country can produce. Establish world market for these "permissions". Establish a system of enforcement (this is tough, too, but has to be part of every system). Voila!
Currently, the poor countries produce less emission that they are entitled to, so they can sell extra permissions to rich countries who produce (probably) more than they should. As the poor countries will grow, they will be selling less of these permissions. And as rich countries will finish their investments into low-emission technologies, they will need less of them.
The system would start best if there is a cushion, that is if we(all people) produce about the same amount of emission we should. Otherwise, some transition system (say small reduction every year till the "right" amount is reached) needs to be established.
Such system would, I believe, solve many problems and seems enforceable/acceptable (depending on reduction needed by rich countries) and also helps poor countries to get richer! This might help to solve poverty (hunger,...) problems, too!
It seems to me that such system would be superior to anything I heard so far. Will see whether somebody will come with something similar on the international level (or whether I will find a mistake in the idea).

Sunday, December 2, 2007


At a local meeting of Fulbright Association in San Diego today, I talked to about 10 of ex-Fulbright scholars, mostly US citizen. Every single one of them visited Prague! They, of course, liked it.