A Question of Balance

“It’s a question of balance.” I guess, this might be the most often-used phrase on this blog. Today, again, I would like to write about an important balancing act that is not easy to achieve. Particularly so, as we have to achieve it (almost) everyday. It is the balance between being satisfied, on the one hand, and not being satisfied, on the other. Continue reading

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Emissions Trading and Feed-In Tariffs: Do We Need Both?

When I started this blog some 3.5 years ago, the focus was on climate issues, particularly climate economics. More recently, however, I have neglected this topic a little. Fortunately, working at a research institute gives one the opportunity to learn a lot about things other scientists do–e.g., regarding the quite popular question whether the EU needs both emissions reduction and renewable energy deployment targets such as the 20-20-20 target. In other words: do we need an energy mix consisting, e.g., of emissions trading and feed-in tariff schemes? Or is emissions trading enough to reach policy goals? And, by the way, what are these goals? Continue reading

About a Short-Sighted Polish Government

Recently the EU planned to commit to new greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals – 20% (compared with 1990) in 2020, 30% in 2030, 60% in 2040, 80-95% in 2050. Out of the 27 member states, only one refused to support this initiative – it was Poland. Its government argued that the goals cannot be possibly reached in a country where 95% of power generation comes from coal power stations. Furthermore, another argument was that EU-wide commitments are futile as long as the big polluters – United States, China, India etc. – don’t make binding commitments as well. However, in both cases the Polish government seems to have overlooked important issues. Continue reading

The Good Example of ETS

One of the most intensively discussed subjects in the economics of climate change is the question of what is the best way of pricing carbon. The most common (and the only one that has been implemented so far) proposal is cap and trade. The idea is simple: constrain the amount of emissions permitted and let market agents decide whether they want to buy permissions or invest in technologies causing less emissions instead. Continue reading

Hands Off Our Medicine

According to Medicins sans frontieres, the EU is trying to use its trade talks with India to constrain the possibilities of this country’s firms to produce generic drugs. Because 80% of the world generics are coming from India, it would be of huge harm to people in developing countries who cannot afford their AIDS/HIV and other drugs from the actual patent holders – they are fully dependent on generics. Continue reading