Two types of feebates can help cut emissions, reduce greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere and the oceans, and more. From a policy perspective, it's good to implement feebates separately, but their impact doesn't need to be restricted to one area and each feebate may work and achieve benefits in several areas.

Feebates, preferably implemented locally, are recommended as the most effective way to reach targets. As discussed at the this page, the Climate Plan encourages decisions what works best locally to be taken locally. In other words, each local community can largely decide how to implement things, provided that each of the targets are reached.

Feebates may not always seem the best policy instrument. It makes sense to reroute commercial flights that now go over the Arctic. At first glance, outright prohibition of commercial flights over the Arctic may seem the way to go. Similarly, some highly polluting gases have been phased out thanks to the Montreal Protocol. And similarly, standards have managed to lead to higher efficiencies in lighting, appliances and vehicles.

Nonetheless, high fees could make such flights prohibitively expensive, so feebates could still be applicable. Feebates are especially effective due to the fact that they raise revenues that can be used to help the better alternatives locally. Furthermore, standards often do benefit the products that just meet the requirements under the respective standard, but standards do not the cleanest products much. In many cases, the shift achieved by standards can actually come at the expense of development of the cleanest products, which would benefit more from feebates. This is further discussed at Feebates.

Two types of feebates can best achieve the necessary shifts toward a sustainable economy, in addition to their benefits on further lines of action:
  • energy feebates
  • agriculture, construction, water and land care feebates

Energy feebates

Many carbon dioxide removal methods are energy-intensive. As long as the energy used is expensive and polluting, not much can be achieved. A rapid shift to clean energy is necessary, which is best facilitated through energy feebates.

As the number of solar and wind facilities grows, large amounts of clean electricity will become available at off-peak hours, when there's little demand for electricity. This will make such electricity cheap, bringing down the cost of methods such as enhanced weathering, which can take place at off-peak hours. Such energy will also make carbon dioxide removal more effective, since the energy is clean to start with.

Agriculture, construction, water and land care feebates

Energy feebates can best clean up energy, while other feebates (such as pictured in the above diagram) can best raise revenue for carbon dioxide removal and further action. Energy feebates can phase themselves out, completing the necessary shift to clean energy within a decade. Carbon dioxide removal will need to continue for much longer, so funding will need to be raised from other sources, such as sales of livestock products, nitrogen fertilizers and Portland cement.

A range of methods to remove carbon dioxide would be eligible for funding under such feebates. To be eligible for rebates, methods merely need to be safe and remove carbon dioxide.

There are methods to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and/or from the oceans. Rebates favor methods that also have commercial viability. In case of enhanced weathering, this will favor production of building materials, road pavement, etc. Such methods could include water desalination and pumping of water into deserts, in efforts to achieve more vegetation growth. Fees could be added to local council rates where land is eroding through neglect; conversely, growing a forest where once was a desert could be made more attractive through rebates on local council rates.

Some methods will be immediately viable, such as afforestation and biochar and enhanced weathering and combinations of those. It may take some time for additional methods to become economically viable, but when they do, they can take over where afforestation has exhausted its potential to get carbon dioxide back to 280ppm.

Methane Management and further Action

Feebates are particularly effective in achieving the necessary shift to a sustainable economy. Two types of feebates can most effectively facilitate the necessary shift to clean energy, and can also be very effective in methane management and further necessary action.

As an example, the shift to vehicles powered by electricity and/or hydrogen will reduce many forms of pollution, including methane and carbon monoxide, both affecting hydroxyl levels, while ground-level ozone will also be reduced. This will in turn help more vegetation to grow.

Another example is waste management. Currently, much waste ends up in coastal waters, causing toxic algae blooms that in turn cause oxygen depletion and suppress further life in the water. The problem gets worse due to run-off from nitrogen fertilizers. Pyrolyzing biowaste and adding biochar to soils can prevent many emissions from entering the atmosphere, while also helping making soils more fertile and retain more water. Olivine rock grinding is a method of enhanced weathering that can remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Olivine sand can be added to oceans and the silica and other nutrients will encourage growth of diatom algae, while suppressing algae and bacteria that cause blooms. This will remove carbon dioxide from the water and reduce ocean acidification. The carbon will be used to build the algae bodies, while oxygen will be added to the water. This oxygen will help reduce dead zones and help methanotroph bacteria and other microbes to break down methane in the water. This way, olivine sand can help with both CDR (carbon dioxide removal) and MR (methane removal) from oceans. 

Given the international nature of some of the necessary action, feebates may at first glance seem less applicable and it may seem less appropriate to delegate implementation to local levels. Yet, the concept of feebates is helpful, as it can overcome budget concerns, while it can also enable many operational decisions to be taken at a specific local level where action needs to be taken. As an example, where sufficient funding is lacking, fees could be imposed on international flights (in addition to the fees on fuel and airplanes that are part of the feebates discussed above) and the revenues could be applied directly and exclusively to support causes such as preventing large methane releases from clathrates. International agreement on what action is needed and how funding can be raised can do a lot to help speed up implementation of such action. 

For further details, view the Climate Plan page, the Feebates page and the Action page.

Two types of feebates can help cut emissions, reduce greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere and the oceans, and more....
Posted by Sam Carana on Monday, October 5, 2015

1 comment:

  1. Feebates are proposed in a world still using a monetary unit governed by the hydra of Corporate Worm..
    What needs to happen for any chance of keeping Earth with O2 atmospheric abundance at 21% for life is a root core change to the valuation system of Contract Law that pronounces Earth alive as value basis and not the pith of the agent of System Isolation causing Entropy to rise. Closed System must end.