Capitalism

No Impact? No Thanks.

By, 04/03/2007

We like pretty much everything about Daylight Savings Time. Losing an hour of sleep and additional grogginess that first Monday is a small price to pay for additional daylight at the end of our day. And this year, Daylight Savings came early! Sure, it confused our blackberries a bit, but we'll not complain.

Our government, however, is perplexed. Daylight Savings was pushed up 3 weeks solely to "save" energy-usage.

The move to turn the clocks forward by an hour on March 11 rather than the usual early April date was mandated by the U.S. government as an energy-saving effort.
http://money.cnn.com/2007/04/02/news/daylight_savings.reut/index.htm

Yet, apparently, it had no impact on energy use, whatsoever!

No duh! Maybe more daylight is a boon to that No Impact guy in New York (http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/ - read at your peril), who's stubbornly composting his, ahem, waste, and eating only locally produced food. (He appears indifferent to the fact his paycheck is signed by folks who produce and distribute millions of magazines—printed on paper—made from chopped-up trees.) But since the lights were on and the computers running all day at work, and we return home to fire up the washer/dryer and the DVR, it's not clear why turning on the compact fluorescent light bulbs we've all be harangued into buying an hour later should tip the scales.

Nevertheless, if this is our government's plan to "cure" us of energy usage, we're 100% on board. It costs little, allows us a quick 9 holes should we choose, and has absolutely no impact. Let's have more government programs like this one!

If energy consumption is a problem, why not let the market work it out? We're not buying the energy efficient light bulbs in droves because the government said so; we're buying them because they're cheaper and last longer. Technology is funny like that—the more it evolves, the more efficient it becomes. As a society, we've become less energy intensive, not the reverse—energy consumption per dollar of GDP is less than two-thirds what it was just 25 years ago. We're less energy intensive and we're wealthier as a society. Odd.

Market-driven solutions have more sticking power. Just ask Kyoto-signees in the EU, who are all failing to hit their arbitrary carbon-reduction targets. Apparently, the EU's top "polluters" (from here on out, referred to as "job-providers") are producing more carbon. (Can't think why. Cannot possibly be due to a globally expanding economy.) Despite a labyrinthine system of carbon trading and caps, Capitalism is finding a way, even in the EU.

The European Commission blames increased emissions on naughty governments for issuing too many carbon permits to the job-providers, and not issuing stricter carbon caps. (Read more about it here -

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2414741.ece)

We'll not fault any nation who signed Kyoto and later realized it was economic hara-kari. Rather, we'd respectfully point out Kyoto and the carbon caps are clearly an ineffectual solution. Ultimately, job-providers are and should be more focused on driving earnings, not satisfying a dubious governmental mandate. Mahi Sideridou, the EU climate policy director for Greenpeace, perhaps said it best, "The system is pointless if it doesn't deliver reductions." No member of Greenpeace has ever said anything so rational.

*The content contained in this article represents only the opinions and viewpoints of the Fisher Investments editorial staff.

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*The content contained in this article represents only the opinions and viewpoints of the Fisher Investments editorial staff.

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