Externalized Costs and Other Self-Interests

by Little Guy @, Saturday, August 19, 2023, 12:06 (106 days ago) @ mindpilot

The real problem is none of these "incentives" do anything more than punish ordinary people. $5 a gallon gas is not going to motivate the guy who sells fruit from the back of his '89 F150 to buy an electric vehicle, it just makes him that much poorer.

The actual incentives and subsidies have been to petroleum corporations.

“The United States subsidizes the fossil fuel industry with taxpayer dollars. It’s not just the US: according to the International Energy Agency, fossil fuel handouts hit a global high of $1 trillion in 2022 – the same year Big Oil pulled in a record $4 trillion of income.”

“But the really big subsidy is the license to pollute for free. The IMF calls this global free pass an ‘implicit’ fossil fuel subsidy. Economists call it an ‘unpriced externality.’ You tally up the harms, and the IMF estimates it at a $5.4 trillion annual subsidy worldwide. In the United States, it’s $646 billion – every single year.”

US Senate Committee on the Budget

Add up the true costs of petroleum and $5/gallon hardly begins to cover it.

When a Coke in a plastic bottle is almost half the price of an aluminum can, it's no real surprise that the beach is littered with plastic.

The reason there are plastic bottles strewn about is because some governments permit these “unpriced externalities”. (A cost externality is when there is a business cost that the business gets someone else to absorb.)

I walk on the beach most days when I am at my home in Canada most days. I have never seen a plastic bottle on the beach. I walk on the beach in Mexico and it is strewn with plastic bottles. Why? Because where I live in Canada, plastic bottles can be returned for C$0.10 (M$1.26) each.

In Mexico, I sometimes see aluminum can litter, but it doesn’t stay there long. People collect them because they can be sold for recycling. Imagine how quickly the beaches woukd be scoured if every 100 soft drink bottles yielded M$126.

When power companies literally charge you more for using less and generate artificial shortages, who's going to put out the effort?

Nice allegation. Proof?

I couldn't really care less what my carbon footprint is because as long as governments and corporations refuse to deviate from their profitable status quo, nothing I do will make a damn bit of difference. I care what it costs me to live.

At least you are open about your self-interested approach to perhaps the greatest existential threat to human societies after nuclear war. Like the corporations you criticize, you are more interested in generating “unpriced externalities” for yourself.

So don't put all this on Joe's lifestyle. Joe is not on his knees in Sam's Club begging for a wider choice of TP. Joe would likely not be buying so much sugar water in plastic bottles if he were able to drink from the faucet, instead of buying water in freakin' plastic bottles!!

Joe doesn’t have to drink from the faucet. In fact, the idea of drinking from the faucet is preposterous for anyone who thinks about it. In the US and Canada we spend billions of dollars and use many tonnes of processing chemicals to purify water that will be used for watering lawns, cleaning cars, washing pets, flushing down toilets, etc. Consider the stupidity of purifying water to poop in.

In Mexico, a two litre bottle of water is cheaper than a two litre bottle of sugar water. In fact, a two litre bottle of Coke is more expensive than a 19 litre bottle of water.

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