Comparison[edit | edit source]

Incentives for sustainable action take several forms:

Incentive Advantages Disadvantages
Personal satisfaction or sense of responsibility Only a small minority will take serious action. (Many us are well-intentioned but don't get far beyond good intentions.)
Social pressure/conformity No cost
Regulation Possibility of corruption? Depends on an authority to make decisions - likely to be less creative than a more open approach.
Taxes Revenue Difficulty and controversy involved in setting level of taxes; difficult for authority to raise taxes to the appropriate level due to political and electoral pressure.
Markets (e.g. carbon trading) Strong motivation of personal gain; efficient allocation of resources. Potential disadvantage: If allocations are given to existing emitters, that effectively rewards polluters.
Game Strong motivation of personal gain; to win. (I can't find it now, but in the mid 1990s Chicago had a 'superhero' would go through people's garbage and if everything was correctly put together (compost, glass, plastic, metal, garbage) then the family would win $500. It was brilliant. Potential disadvantage: not taken seriously

Note that increased awareness and access to information can help people to make better choices - these are not incentives in themselves, but can make the incentives more effective.

Other suggestions[edit | edit source]

This section allows some room for speculation.

  • Instead of "cap and trade," combine the carbon tax and carbon trading schemes, with "cap, pay and trade" where emitters must pay a basic amount for the carbon credits, which they can then trade. This would raise money for energy efficiency and clean energy schemes and research, and reduce the basic injustice (alleged by some left-wing and green groups) of the biggest and most inefficient polluters being rewarded with valuable carbon credits. --suggested by Chriswaterguy · talk 19:17, 13 March 2007 (PDT)

Suggested projects[edit | edit source]

Consider the policy suggestion(s) above, e.g. "cap, pay and trade." Have they been suggested before? Model their impact.[expansion needed]

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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Authors Chris Watkins
Published 2006
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