The Implications of Positive Feedback Loops
Scientists from all disciplines are sounding the alarm on irreversible climate change. One of the most concerning aspects of these warnings is a process termed “runaway climate change.” This is the scenario where the Earth takes over by commencing an irreversible and uncontrollable series of events. An example of such a scenario is highlighted in a recent article from The Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-paris-agreement-permafrost-melting-carbon-emissions-a8541686.html). The journalist summarizes the concerns of prominent scientists with regards to permafrost melting in the Arctic. This case is already playing out in the Canadian north and highlights the increasing economic, political, and social urgency for climate action.
The Invisible Hand
The market system is one of the most powerful mechanisms humanity has ever created. The incorporation of shipping distance, assembly process, material selection and many other factors, filter through the market to generate accurate prices. Prices then enable individuals to make informed complex decisions in an instant simply based on what something costs. The power of this instantaneous decision-making process is something to be harnessed and preserved. A modern standard of living, communication, and efficiency are all maintained through markets and may degenerate without them. However, the goals of humanity have slowly shifted since the conception of this powerful mechanism, and what was once a limitless environment to be exploited is now realized to be finite and well within humanity’s influence.
(aka Carbon Credits or Transferable Emissions Permits)
The goal of a “Cap and Trade” system is to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in an efficient and market-based way by putting a price on climate altering pollution. In general, this system sets an upper cap on GHG emissions below a level that is scientifically considered to be dangerous. Industries then buy, or are given, credits from the government where each credit represents a fraction of the total acceptable emissions over the year (ex. 1 credit = 1 ton of emissions).