Why Don’t We Just Ban Fossil Fuels?

February 16, 2024

Imagine there were no law against arson and we were trying to figure out a way to stop it. One way would be to require people to pay for the right to burn down buildings. Another would be to issue a strictly limited number of tradable arson-permission certificates, which would-be arsonists could trade among themselves. We could spend money making buildings more fireproof. Or we could invent new flammable objects that would satisfy arsonists’ desire to burn things down but whose combustion would cause less societal harm.

There would be lots of creative ferment around the various approaches until someone said: “People. People. Let’s just make arson illegal.” Suddenly that would seem very obvious.

Burning fossil fuels isn’t the same as burning houses. Unlike arson, the combustion of oil, natural gas, coal and other fossil fuels provides real benefits — running our cars, heating and cooling our homes and so on…

“In the last four decades, the United States has outlawed lead paint, phased out asbestos and curtailed tobacco marketing and sales. Similar policies can be used for fossil fuels,” a pair of economists, Mark Paul and Lina Moe, wrote last year for an advocacy group called the Climate and Community Project in a piece titled “An Economist’s Case for Restrictive Supply-Side Policy.”

The New York Times, February 16, 2024

Recent Posts

The Biggest Barrier to a Vibrant Second-Hand EV Market? Price

New policies and broader subsides are needed to help lower-income buyers afford used electric vehicles, according to a Rutgers study As early adopters of electric vehicles (EVs) trade up for the latest models, the used EV market is beginning to mature in the United...

NJSPL – Extreme Heat, Coastal Flooding, and Health Disparities

Extreme Heat, Coastal Flooding, and Health Disparities: Climate Change Impacts on Older Adults in New Jersey By Josephine O’Grady New Jersey is facing a myriad of climate challenges, including extreme heat, heavy precipitation, coastal flooding, and more natural...

New Paper on Foreclosure Crisis by Prof. Eric Seymour

Prof. Eric Seymour co-authors Judged by Their Deeds: Outcomes for Properties Acquired by Contract Sellers Following the Foreclosure Crisis in Detroit Abstract Prior research has documented the reemergence of predatory land contracts in majority-Black neighborhoods in...

EJB Talks with Professor Michael Smart

Transportation, Urban Planning, and Racial Bias: Insights from Professor Michael Smart In this episode of EJB Talks, Stuart Shapiro interviews Professor Michael Smart, beginning with how he became involved in transportation planning and its impact on poverty and...

NJSPL – New Report: 15-Minute Neighborhoods

Report Release: 15-Minute Neighborhoods: A Pathway to Creating Healthier, More Just, Resilient, & Sustainable Communities in New Jersey By Jon Carnegie, June Greeman, and Jacob Thompson READ FULL REPORT Over the past several years, several policy threads have...

Upcoming Events

Event Series CAREERS

Career Virtual Drop-ins

Virtual

Bloustein Career Development Specialists Cheryl Egan and Andrea Garrido will be in a Zoom Room on Monday's beginning January 22, 2024 (excluding holidays and spring break) to answer questions, provide […]

Freights and Ports Capstone Presentations 2

Virtual

All are invited to attend the capstone presentations to be given by graduate students in the Urban Planning: Freights and Ports course.  There will be two sessions: Monday, April 15, […]