Bridging the Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Gap

I could use some help here, finding organizations that can help cut greenhouse gas emissions. I’ll explain what I mean in a minute. But the big question is:

How can we bridge the gap between what we are doing about global warming and what we should be doing?

That’s what this paper is about:

• Kornelis Blok, Niklas Höhne, Kees van der Leun and Nicholas Harrison, Bridging the greenhouse-gas emissions gap, Nature Climate Change 2 (2012), 471-474.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, we need to cut CO2 emissions by about 12 gigatonnes/year by 2020 to hold global warming to 2 °C.

After the UN climate conference in Copenhagen, many countries made pledges to reduce CO2 emissions. But by 2020 these pledges will cut emissions by at most 6 gigatonnes/year. Even worse, a lot of these pledges are contingent on other people meeting other pledges, and so on… so the confirmed value of all these pledges is only 3 gigatonnes/year.

The authors list 21 things that cities, large companies and individual citizens can do, which they claim will cut greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 10 gigatonnes/year of CO2 by 2020. For each initiative on their list, they claim:

(1) there is a concrete starting position from which a significant up-scaling until the year 2020 is possible;

(2) there are significant additional benefits besides a reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions, so people can be driven by self-interest or internal motivation, not external pressure;

(3) there is an organization or combination of organizations that can lead the initiative;

(4) the initiative has the potential to reach an emission reduction by about 0.5 Gt CO2e by 2020.

21 Initiatives

Now I want to quote the paper and list the 21 initiatives. And here’s where I could use your help! For each of these, can you point me to one or more organizations that are in a good position to lead the initiative?

Some are already listed, but even for these I bet there are other good answers. I want to compile a list, and then start exploring what’s being done, and what needs to be done.

By the way, even if the UN estimate of the greenhouse-emissions gap is wrong, and even if all the numbers I’m about to quote are wrong, most of them are probably the right order of magnitude—and that’s all we need to get a sense of what needs to be done, and how we can do it.

Companies

1. Top 1,000 companies’ emission reductions. Many of the 1,000 largest greenhouse-gas-emitting companies already have greenhouse-gas emission-reduction goals to decrease their energy use and increase their long-term competitiveness, as well as to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility. An association such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development could lead 30% of the top 1,000 companies to reduce energy-related emissions 10% below business as usual by 2020 and all companies to reduce their non-carbon dioxide greenhouse-gas emissions by 50%. Impact in 2020: up to 0.7 Gt CO2e.

2. Supply-chain emission reductions. Several companies already have social and environmental requirements for their suppliers, which are driven by increased competitiveness, corporate social responsibility and the ability to be a front-runner. An organization such as the Consumer Goods Forum could stimulate 30% of companies to require their supply chains to reduce emissions 10% below business as usual by 2020. Impact in 2020: up to 0.2 Gt CO2e.

3. Green financial institutions. More than 200 financial organizations are already members of the finance initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP-FI). They are committed to environmental goals owing to corporate social responsibility, to gain investor certainty and to be placed well in emerging markets. UNEP-FI could lead the 20 largest banks to reduce the carbon footprint of 10% of their assets by 80%. Impact in 2020: up to 0.4 Gt of their assets by 80%. Impact in 2020: up to 0.4 Gt CO2e.

4. Voluntary-offset companies. Many companies are already offsetting their greenhouse-gas emissions, mostly without explicit external pressure. A coalition between an organization with convening power, for example UNEP, and offset providers could motivate 20% of the companies in the light industry and commercial sector to calculate their greenhouse-gas emissions, apply emission-reduction measures and offset the remaining emissions (retiring the purchased credits). It is ensured that offset projects really reduce emissions by using the ‘gold standard’ for offset projects or another comparable mechanism. Governments could provide incentives by giving tax credits for offsetting, similar to those commonly given for charitable donations. Impact by 2020: up to 2.0 Gt CO2e.

Other actors

5. Voluntary-offset consumers. A growing number of individuals (especially with high income) already offset their greenhouse-gas emissions, mostly for flights, but also through carbon-neutral products. Environmental NGOs could motivate 10% of the 20% of richest individuals to offset their personal emissions from electricity use, heating and transport at cost to them of around US$200 per year. Impact in 2020: up to 1.6 Gt CO2e.

6. Major cities initiative. Major cities are large emitters of greenhouse gases and many have greenhouse-gas reduction targets. Cities are intrinsically highly motivated to act so as to improve local air quality, attractiveness and local job creation. Groups like the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability could lead the 40 cities in C40 or an equivalent sample to reduce emissions 20% below business as usual by 2020, building on the thousands of emission-reduction activities already implemented by the C40 cities. Impact in 2020: up to 0.7 Gt CO2e.

7. Subnational governments. Several states in the United States and provinces in Canada have already introduced support mechanisms for renewable energy, emission-trading schemes, carbon taxes and industry regulation. As a result, they expect an increase in local competitiveness, jobs and energy security. Following the example set by states such as California, these ambitious US states and Canadian provinces could accept an emission-reduction target of 15–20% below business as usual by 2020, as some states already have. Impact in 2020: up to 0.6 Gt CO2e.

Energy efficiency

8. Building heating and cooling. New buildings, and increasingly existing buildings, are designed to be extremely energy efficient to realize net savings and increase comfort. The UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative could bring together the relevant players to realize 30% of the full reduction potential for 2020. Impact in 2020: up to 0.6 Gt CO2e.

9. Ban of incandescent lamps. Many countries already have phase-out schedules for incandescent lamps as it provides net savings in the long term. The en.lighten initiative of UNEP and the Global Environment Facility already has a target to globally ban incandescent lamps by 2016. Impact in 2020: up to 0.2 Gt CO2e.

10. Electric appliances. Many international labelling schemes and standards already exist for energy efficiency of appliances, as efficient appliances usually give net savings in the long term. The Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program or the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment Initiative could drive use of the most energy-efficient appliances on the market. Impact in 2020: up to 0.6 Gt CO2e.

11. Cars and trucks. All car and truck manufacturers put emphasis on developing vehicles that are more efficient. This fosters innovation and increases their long-term competitive position. The emissions of new cars in Europe fell by almost 20% in the past decade. A coalition of manufacturers and NGOs joined by the UNEP Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles could agree to save one additional liter per 100 km globally by 2020 for cars, and equivalent reductions for trucks. Impact in 2020: up to 0.7 Gt CO2e.

Energy supply

12. Boost solar photovoltaic energy. Prices of solar photovoltaic systems have come down rapidly in recent years, and installed capacity has increased much faster than expected. It created a new industry, an export market and local value added through, for example, roof installations. A coalition of progressive governments and producers could remove barriers by introducing good grid access and net metering rules, paving the way to add another 1,600 GW by 2020 (growth consistent with recent years). Impact in 2020: up to 1.4 Gt CO2e.

13. Wind energy. Cost levels for wind energy have come down dramatically, making wind economically competitive with fossil-fuel-based power generation in many cases. The Global Wind Energy Council could foster the global introduction of arrangements that lead to risk reduction for investments in wind energy, with, for example, grid access and guarantees. This could lead to an installation of 1,070 GW by 2020, which is 650 GW over a reference scenario. Impact in 2020: up to 1.2 Gt CO2e.

14. Access to energy through low-emission options. Strong calls and actions are already underway to provide electricity access to 1.4 billion people who are at present without and fulfill development goals. The UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative could ensure that all people without access to electricity get access through low-emission options. Impact in 2020: up to 0.4 Gt CO2e.

15. Phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels. This highly recognized option to reduce emissions would improve investment in clean energy, provide other environmental, health and security benefits, and generate income. The International Energy Agency could work with countries to phase out half of all fossil-fuel subsidies. Impact in 2020: up to 0.9 Gt CO2e.

Special sectors

16. International aviation and maritime transport. The aviation and shipping industries are seriously considering efficiency measures and biofuels to increase their competitive advantage. Leading aircraft and ship manufacturers could agree to design their vehicles to capture half of the technical mitigation potential. Impact in 2020: up to 0.2 Gt CO2e.

17. Fluorinated gases (hydrofluorocarbons, perflourocarbons, SF6). Recent industry-led initiatives are already underway to reduce emissions of these gases originating from refrigeration, air-conditioning and industrial processes. Industry associations, such as Refrigerants, Naturally!, could work towards meeting half of the technical mitigation potential. Impact in 2020: up to 0.3 Gt CO2e.

18. Reduce deforestation. Some countries have already shown that it is strongly possible to reduce deforestation with an integrated approach that eliminates the drivers of deforestation. This has benefits for local air pollution and biodiversity, and can support the local population. Led by an individual with convening power, for example, the United Kingdom’s Prince of Wales or the UN Secretary General, such approaches could be rolled out to all the major countries with high deforestation emissions, halving global deforestation by 2020. Impact in 2020: up to 1.8 Gt CO2e.

19. Agriculture. Options to reduce emissions from agriculture often increase efficiency. The International Federation of Agricultural Producers could help to realize 30% of the technical mitigation potential. (Well, at least it could before it collapsed, after this paper was written.) Impact in 2020: up to 0.8 Gt CO2e.

Air pollutants

20. Enhanced reduction of air pollutants. Reduction of classic air pollutants including black carbon has been pursued for years owing to positive impacts on health and local air quality. UNEP’s Climate and Clean Air Coalition To Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants already has significant political momentum and could realize half of the technical mitigation potential. Impact in 2020: a reduction in radiative forcing impact equivalent to an emission reduction of greenhouse gases in the order of 1 Gt CO2e, but outside of the definition of the gap.

21. Efficient cook-stoves. Cooking in rural areas is a source of carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore, there are emissions of black carbon, which also leads to global warming. Replacing these cook-stoves would also significantly increase local air quality and reduce pressure on forests from fuel-wood demand. A global development organization such as the UN Development Programme could take the lead in scaling-up the many already existing programs to eventually replace half of the existing cook-stoves. Impact in 2020: a reduction in radiative forcing impact equivalent to an emission reduction of greenhouse gases of up to 0.6 Gt CO2e, included in the effect of the above initiative and outside of the definition of the gap.

For more

For more, see the supplementary materials to this paper, and also:

• Niklas Höhne, Wedging the gap: 21 initiatives to bridge the greenhouse gas emissions gap.

The size of the emissions gap was calculated here:

The Emissions Gap Report 2012, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

If you’re in a rush, just read the executive summary.

20 Responses to Bridging the Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Gap

  1. Jim Cliborn says:

    #18–Help me figure out how to reforest the Pacific Northwest logged areas: perfect growing weather; lots of bare previously forested land. What logic could stop an effort to replace the logged trees?

  2. [...] Professor John Carlos Baez summarizes a 2012 article from Nature Climate Science on both the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the way we can get there. In fact, 21 different ways are proposed, all which could be used in combination. Many of these are voluntary efforts. There is a detailed look at the emissions gap in another report by UNEP. [...]

  3. Michael Brazier says:

    Under “energy supply”, put “Nuclear fission power plants”. No existing technology other than nuclear fission can replace fossil fuels for base-load electric power generation; hydroelectricity is tapped out, solar and wind are unreliable, and everything else is still experimental.

    In fact, changing the law to make nuclear power plants profitable to build and operate would, all by itself, reduce CO2 emissions more than every proposal on your list combined.

    • John Baez says:

      I agree that nuclear power is crucial for reducing CO2 emissions. It’s a tragedy that among the people who care about global warming, many reject nuclear power out of hand. I don’t know the authors of this report, but it seems they’re making that mistake. Nonetheless we can learn from their other suggestions.

      I hope soon to feature a guest post on thorium reactors. My recent talk on Energy and the Environment: What Physicists Should Do includes a figure from James Hansen’s paper on the number of lives already saved by replacing coal-fired power plants by nuclear plants:



      I’m afraid that for political purposes we need to pursue a two-track strategy, where people (and governments) that favor nuclear power push to develop that, while those who dislike it coaxed to put most of their energy into positive goals. (Positive goals include developing other forms of energy, and making sure nuclear power is safe, but not trying to regulate it out of existence.)

      • This is a nice 5 min video by Kirk Sorensen that summarizes the main concepts behind LFTRs.

        I believe that Thorium reactors can be successfully marketed as “the other” nuclear energy, which is clean, efficient and safe. Because it actually is …

  4. Jackson says:

    As you strategize your plan, consider the following stats of the US…

    Gasoline sales are back to 1999 levels

    Total petroleum products consumed are back to 1997 levels

    Cummulative miles driven are back to 2004 levels

    Percentage of global CO2 emissions by US has fallen from 28% to 22% from 2000 to 2010, while in Europe, it has fallen from 17% to 13% in that same time. However, the Asia Pacific percentage has risen from 33 to 44% of the global total in that time period.

    http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Percentage-of-Global-CO2-Emissions.png?00cfb7

    In fact, increases in CO2 emissions since the year 2000 are exclusively coming from Asia, Middle East, Africa, and South America.

    http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Percentage-Change-in-CO2-Emissions.png?00cfb7

    The point of all this is that Europe and the US are NOT the source of rising CO2 emissions by a long shot. In fact, they HAVE BEEN REDUCING CARBON CONSUMPTION FOR THE PAST DECADE whether we realize it or not. The only way to get in front of growing carbon emissions is to cut off Asia, Africa, South America, and the MIddle East, which just happen to correspond to the poorest areas of the world. Any reduction here in the US will be dwarfed by increases from the developing economies.

    Before you demand that people in developing economies use solar cook stoves, you may just want to restrict yourself to that scenario and see how long you last before firing up the ‘ol grill.

    I posted a comment a few months ago along the lines that all of these global climate scientists sure do burn lots of fuel to jet around to their conferences, drive to work, etc, etc. Someone retorted along the lines of “well what do you want us to do? Live in a tent on campus and grow potatoes in our dung?”

    Well….technically, that is what you will probably be asking people in these developing economies to do as these economies are the ones accounting for the growing CO2 emissions. Yet, at the same time, almost all readers of this blog will be maintaining your same high-energy consumption lifestyle.

    I’m just sayin…

    • John Baez says:

      Jackson writes:

      The only way to get in front of growing carbon emissions is to cut off Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East, which just happen to correspond to the poorest areas of the world.

      I don’t think ‘cut off’ is the best verb, especially not from a diplomatic perspective, but I agree that these places are hugely important for the rise of carbon emissions.

      The point of all this is that Europe and the US are NOT the source of rising CO2 emissions by a long shot. In fact, they HAVE BEEN REDUCING CARBON CONSUMPTION FOR THE PAST DECADE whether we realize it or not.

      I don’t completely agree with this. While US carbon emissions are decreasing, one reason is that we’re outsourcing more and more manufacturing, and thus carbon emissions, to countries like China and India. So, it may be somewhat misleading to say (in capital letters) that we are NOT the source of rising CO2 emissions.

      Getting the actual numbers here is an interesting challenge. People have proposed four main explanations for decreasing carbon emissions in the US: increased efficiency, the switch to natural gas, the economic crisis starting in 2008, and outsourcing of carbon emissions. They probably all contribute, but how much? There are also lots of smaller contributing factors.

      Here’s what I know, which is not enough:

      The US has been cutting carbon emissions more than any other country in the world in recent years: 7.7% since 2006. Emissions fell 1.9% in 2011 and were projected to fall 1.9% again in 2012, putting the US back to 1996 levels of carbon emissions. Apparently CO2 emissions due to energy consumption by the US dropped from its 2007 peak of 6,020 megatonnes down to 5,473 megatonnes in 2011.

      In 2004, the US outsourced 395 megatonnes of CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, I don’t know how this has been changing with time, so I can’t tell how much of the supposed CO2 emissions decrease of the US is due to increased outsourcing!

      There’s a discussion here:

      • David Roberts, U.S. leads the world in cutting CO2 emissions — so why aren’t we talking about it?, 17 July 2012.

      but unfortunately it doesn’t mention carbon emission outsourcing at all! There’s a quantitative discussion of carbon emission outsourcing here:

      • Andrea Thompson, U.S. and Europe ‘outsource’ greenhouse gas emissions, 8 March 2010.

      but unfortunately it’s based on a paper which treats outsourcing based on data from one particular year, 2004—not how it’s changing in time:

      • S. J. Davis, G. P. Peters and K. Caldeira The supply chain of CO2 emissions, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci (2011).

      If anyone has more data on this, I’d love it! I haven’t done a systematic search.

      I posted a comment a few months ago along the lines that all of these global climate scientists sure do burn lots of fuel to jet around to their conferences, drive to work, etc, etc. Someone retorted along the lines of “well what do you want us to do? Live in a tent on campus and grow potatoes in our dung?”

      That was a stupid remark. Almost any successful academic can reduce their carbon footprint enormously by flying to fewer conferences, so climate scientists should take the lead in making conferences virtual… and all academics should follow suit. I’m turning down lots of invitations to fly places for this reason… but I need to do better. I walk to work. But we all need to look for ways to cut our personal carbon footprints and push our institutions to rethink how things are done.

      • Frederik De Roo says:

        John Baez wrote:

        If anyone has more data on this, I’d love it! I haven’t done a systematic search.

        > I posted a comment a few months ago along the lines that all of these global climate scientists sure do burn lots of fuel to jet around to their conferences, drive to work, etc, etc. Someone retorted along the lines of “well what do you want us to do? Live in a tent on campus and grow potatoes in our dung?”

        That was a stupid remark. Almost any successful academic can reduce their carbon footprint enormously by flying to fewer conferences, so climate scientists should take the lead in making conferences virtual… and all academics should follow suit. I’m turning down lots of invitations to fly places for this reason… but I need to do better. I walk to work. But we all need to look for ways to cut our personal carbon footprints and push our institutions to rethink how things are done.

        Actually, that someone was probably me, even though I didn’t use the word “us” and I answered hypothetically — if someone has the time to dig through all the wordpress comments he/she can find out. My ‘stupid’ remark was actually motivated by the following two opposite claims: some skeptics claim AGW is a conspiracy by leftist academics who want us to return to the stone age, while others claim these leftist academics don’t care about the environment themselves. Perhaps skeptics simply don’t agree among themselves, but to marry both claims one would be led lead to the conclusion that academics would form a hypocrite leftist nomenclatura. Just in case the irony is not apparent, my personal idea is that both claims are simply not true. But it’s a bit ironic that my comment is taken out of context, regarding our earlier discussions about flying here on the blog.

        About the US cutting carbon emissions most fast, that sounds very good, but since they started high up, it gives them a comparable average to cut down.

        I actually also have some comment about the voluntary reduction of 10% of the richest 20%, item 5 from the Blok et al, but maybe I’ll rather post it on the Forum.

    • davetweed says:

      Hi, I tried to look up the response to your comment to see the full text of the response but unfortunately there’s quite a few references to books/papers involving a Jackson so I couldn’t find anything: could you let me know the URL, or at least the story, so I can see more fully what it was “along the lines of” please?

      Anyway, my main point was that I don’t drive to work, I take a train and bus. The last two conferences I went to I travelled by train (one from the UK to Europe via Eurostar). I’ve just booked my summer holiday choosing a destination based on how easy it was to get there by train. I’m careful about using heat only where I am rather than in my whole house. And you know what: living this way is bloomin’ annoying a large part of the time, and occasionally it’s a royal pain. But what keeps me thinking this says more about me than it does about the world is that my grandfather, due to very real constraints, lived a life if anything a little harder than this, and I imagine (didn’t think to ask) his father had even fewer luxuries; out of even just relatively recent history I’m the aberration in having grown up into a mindset that I ought to be able to have what I want without regard to the consequences. If one thinks that anthropogenic climate change is a significant threat to a mass-human-supporting biosphere, then the idea that being one of a group of small population nations with very large carbon footprints is exempted from having to change their behaviour due to the existence of other countries in the world seems again like an aberration of this historical period.

    • As Professor Baez remarks in his recent video lecture the proper long term target is zero carbon emissions. Thus, it is not helpful to point out Country X is emitting more per year than Country Y. That question of fairness surely needs to be addressed in the long run. But we each have our job to do, and we have more control over our own behavior and country than we do of others.

  5. arch1 says:

    The following idea from Robin Hanson at Overcoming Bias might suggest additional useful ideas/tweaks: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/11/marginal-charity.html.

    You really should look at his diagram, but here is a key excerpt:

    “At the choice that maximizes private value, a small change in the direction of raising social gain, as shown by the yellow arrow, comes at only a tiny loss in private gain. In fact, in the limit of going to the exact private gain maximizing choice, the ratio of the rates of change of social gain and private loss approaches infinity!”

    (I earlier commented in this blog on the same point, w/ my own rough summary in place of the teaser excerpt. Perhaps to Azimuth readers, Hanson’s point is too obvious to mention. But given that lots of entities out there are still optimizing pretty much independent of global utility, it seems worth making the point again).

  6. Bruce Smith says:

    My personal view is that it would be both silly and evil to ban incandescent lightbulbs, regardless of how inefficient they are. (Silly, because economics will lead people to switch on their own once the alternatives are truly good enough, as is starting to happen rapidly in the U.S. with LED bulbs; and the environmental costs not included in the price are probably worse for some of the alternatives (e.g. mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs, which are hazardous when disposed of) than for incandescent bulbs. Evil, because it’s a needless and in many cases harmful restriction on personal freedom. There may remain some uses for which only the incandescent bulbs work well, and the final decisions about that, as well as about when and how it’s best to phase out and replace old bulbs, can only be made well by the people directly involved.

    My “political calculus” view is that in the U.S. at least, many people care strongly about personal freedom, and agree that economic decisions are made better when not centrally planned, and will therefore feel the same way. I know there are efforts and perhaps partial successes to ban incandescent bulbs in some states, but there is also lots of opposition to this, and I predict there will be too much opposition to pass it on a national level, or for the state bans to survive once they start having a big effect. So the net result of pursuing that sort of ban (I predict) is mainly to discredit the proponents, feed conspiracy theories, distract from more important issues, and get conflated with other potential government actions which deserve to be considered separately.

    I would say the same things about any proposed ban of personal behavior or choices which are only moderately harmful on the individual level. As far as I know, whatever legitimate goals such proposed bans have could (in theory) be much better (and more fairly) achieved by taxes which try to shift external costs onto the individuals that cause them. (Of course taxes can also be harmful, but as long as their rates are reasonable they are far less harmful than bans.)

    In the case of light bulbs, that would mean taxes on pollution due to electric power production, and possibly on manufactured items based on their likely disposal costs. Those sorts of plans have long been proposed but never passed, but that’s a bad reason to try to pass a more limited but much worse and harmful plan.

  7. I am curious about your thoughts on this:

    • According to this researcher, increasing global populations of grazing livestock, while managing the grazing patterns of these large herds, has the (tested and proven) effect of bringing deserts back to life such that carbon can be sequestered through storage in (ever-thickening) layers of topsoil, soil which through current land management schemes is being eroded such that it no longer stores carbon. He claims that this is the only way that carbon can be brought back to pre-industrial levels, and that it is possible for this to work in a time-span appropriate to saving our planet, and that this method will surpass even complete elimination of carbon-based fuel usage. The necessary and important side benefit of managing large herds of grazing animals is that the humans that manage them have a source of healthy, grass-fed, natural food (i.e. the animals).

  8. To John’s original request, there’s a lot there, but only way to do it is one at a time. On #18, there is George Soros’ REDD+, at http://www.un-redd.org/aboutredd/tabid/102614/default.aspx

  9. To John’s original request, on #2, there is a loophole in the carbon tax concept pertaining to this, in that carbon emissions for transporting goods on extended supply chains may not, and probably will not be covered by individual national authorities. Thus, it is important to assess companies with extended supply chains the full cost of their indulgence. I do not know of any overall organization which does this. I know, looking at by-waste from producing consumer products, that the aphorism is 80 pounds of by-waste for every pound of consumer product. I don’t know of a similar relation for carbon dioxide, and I doubt it would be linear, but it’s several multiples, at least.

    So, along these lines there is the idea of “extended producer responsibility”, something quite different than “product stewardship”, and documented at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_producer_responsibility as well as at http://www.pro-e.org/ and http://www.ilsr.org/the-concepts-of-extended-producer-responsibility-and-product-stewardship/. This is actually, in my opinion, a conservative political position. Why should government and the general public provide subsidies of waste cleanup to the advantage of individual manufacturers or producers? Or their customers? Such costs should be borne by the manufacturers, including in the prices of their products. Thus, while value-added taxes might be loathed, to the degree each step in a supply chain works because there are unpriced externalities used to keep its costs artificially low means the general public bears the cost of cleanup.

    While it may be unworkable to file public nuisance lawsuits against greenhouse gas emitters, it may be feasible to assign to each member of a manufacturing chain the responsibility for cleaning up ALL their waste, and collecting the waste containers and the like that their consumers generate uniquely and specifically by using their products.

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