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Ramez Naam
Books: Nexus Series / The Infinite Resource. Faculty . Energy, climate, & innovation wonk. Optimist.
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Ramez Naam retweeted
Ada Palmer 16h
Global wealth map: Earth's geography with color where there are human residents, color-tinted by income.
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Ramez Naam retweeted
Simon Evans Feb 20
Incredible. Can you imagine having read this 5yrs ago? Even 2yrs ago? "The main reason coal may battle to fuel India’s future energy needs is that it’s simply becoming too expensive relative to renewable alternatives such as wind & solar"
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Ramez Naam 20h
Replying to @ElephantEating
We can talk another time, but I disagree that mitigating those other sectors has to be expensive. It's all about scaling alternatives until they're cheap. Later. :)
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Ramez Naam 21h
Replying to @noahqk @ElephantEating
Hmmm. I think I've shown that the subsidies actually move a much smaller amount of money around. They're highest when the technology is very small volume, and can drop as the tech scales and gets cheaper.
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Ramez Naam 21h
Replying to @noahqk @ElephantEating
Consider this: The EU's fuel taxes (1 euro / litre?) are equivalent to a $400 / ton carbon tax. And yet the EU still has very significant ground transport emissions. EV tax credits + US ~$500m loan to Tesla did far more to put us on the road to 0 carbon cars than fuel taxes.
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Ramez Naam 21h
Replying to @noahqk @ElephantEating
Again, I'm not talking about R&D. R&D is important, but the bulk of the cost declines of renewables have come from industry scaling. A subsidy that makes a clean tech competitive at year X scales them faster than a carbon price that makes them competitive at year X+10.
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Ramez Naam 21h
Replying to @ElephantEating
As I posted in my thread on carbon pricing, carbon prices are uniquely powerful in electricity, where alternatives to switch to both exist and are very close in price to existing fossil electricity. No other sector is like that. Not transport, not industry, not agriculture.
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Ramez Naam 21h
Replying to @ElephantEating
I think that's happening in the UK is that: 1. The UK's coal fleet is old and expensive. 2. The UK has the cheapest on-land wind in the EU. UK wind buildout (and some gas) has decreased coal. Heating and transport emissions have not changed.
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Ramez Naam 21h
Replying to @ElephantEating
I'm not at all sure that the UK's carbon emissions drop is due to its carbon price. 1. The UK's carbon price is set by the EU-wide ETS, right? Yet EU hasn't had same decarbonization. 2. All of the UK's decarbonization has come from shutting down coal:
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Ramez Naam 22h
Replying to @ElephantEating
R&D isn't what brought those technology prices down. It was learning-by-doing, triggered by scale, which was triggered by subsidies.
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Ramez Naam 22h
Replying to @ElephantEating
Or consider the development of carbon free steel. That tech isn't even close to ready yet. If you want to, say, double the price of coal-made steel to provide a big incentive, you'd need a carbon price more like $350 / ton. Massive impact. And politically impossible.
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Ramez Naam 22h
Replying to @ElephantEating
At the $250/ton Germany would have needed, the tax would have collected on the order of $1 Trillion a year. No matter how you're redistributing that, that's a massive intrusion into the economy, with real side effects.
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Ramez Naam 22h
Replying to @ElephantEating
Consider the solar in Germany example. When solar was 1% of electricity, subsidizing it enough to make it competitive changed money flows 1/99th as much as an equivalent carbon tax on the other 99% of electricity gen.
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Ramez Naam 22h
Replying to @ElephantEating
My point is different. In terms of total change to money flows, a tax big enough to make an early expensive tech deployable has a much much larger impact on an economy than a subsidy for the new tech.
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Ramez Naam Feb 20
Replying to @angel189
Thank you! I hope so too!
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Ramez Naam Feb 19
For long distance aviation, I don't see any real solutions on the horizon. It's also just about 2% of emissions. Not top of the list.
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Ramez Naam Feb 19
Replying to @ElephantEating
Eric, as someone who's spent most of the last decade on carbon taxes, I respectfully disagree.
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Ramez Naam Feb 19
Replying to @tveitdal
This study's methodology is flawed. I wouldn't be basing much on it. See the note at the vox link you tweeted.
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Ramez Naam Feb 19
Legacy assets will be retired (or sidelined) early if the cost of new tech is cheaper than the cost of even operating the old tech. Which is happening now with renewables vs coal. And could happen soon with EVs vs ICE cars.
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Ramez Naam Feb 19
Agreed. We should be monitoring all aspects of our ecology with greater precision, rigor, and consistency.
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