查看: 655|回复: 0

[经济学人] [2007.6.1]Irrational incandescence









Rank: 22Rank: 22Rank: 22Rank: 22

发表于 2010-4-29 00:17 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
地球有多暖,我心有多凉    关爱地球,关注环保

Irrational incandescence


People can't be bothered to make easy energy savings


SOME ways of cutting carbon are cheaper than others. So, at different carbon prices, different sorts of methods of abatement become worthwhile. Vattenfall, a Swedish power utility, has tried to quantify which ones would be worth undertaking at what price.


The result is a testament to economic irrationality. The measures below the horizontal line have a negative abatement cost—in other words, by carrying them out, people and companies could both cut emissions and save money. At a macroeconomic level they would boost, rather than reduce, economic growth.


Lighting, for instance, accounts for some 19% of the world's electricity use. A standard incandescent light bulb costs around EURO1, says Theo van Deursen, chief executive of Philips Lighting, and uses EURO15-worth of electricity a year. A low-energy one costs EURO5-6 and uses EURO3-worth. The payback on investing in a compact fluorescent bulb, therefore, is less than a year. Yet low-energy lighting makes up only 30% of Philips's sales. Mr van Deursen admits to being disappointed. Sales are rising faster in the developing world: there, people pay more attention to electricity bills than they do in the rich world.

举例来说,照明用电占世界用电量的19%。飞利浦灯具公司的高管Theo van Deursen说,一个普通的照明白炽灯泡值一欧元,一年用的电值15欧元。而一个值5-6欧元的节能灯的年耗电值3欧元。投资一个节能灯,一年就可以收回成本。然而,节能灯的销量之占飞利浦总销量的30%van Deursen坦言,这一结果令人失望。发展中国家的销量增长更快一些:发展中国家的人们比富裕国家的人更在意用电帐单。

Economists trying to explain this apparent irrationality suggest that the savings are too small and the effort involved in change too large. People find their electricity bills too boring to think about; within companies, those responsible for keeping bills down may not have the authority to spend the necessary capital. Another explanation is the agency problem[注二]: that the developer who would have to pay higher capital costs up front will not be forking out for the electricity bills. Besides, people buy houses not because they have good insulation but because they have pretty views.


Compared with pursuing greater energy efficiency, the abatement measures into which so much money is now being poured look rather expensive. Carbon capture and storage[注一] and wind and solar power, for instance, all have positive, and relatively high, abatement costs.


But the cheapest sources of abatement are difficult for policymakers to get at. Billions of different actors are involved. They cannot be targeted in the way that a few hundred factories can. What is more, a moderate carbon price is not likely to be effective, since people clearly do not care enough about cost.


One policy option is to decouple the utilities' revenues from the amount of electricity they sell. That gives them an incentive to increase the efficiency of power usage rather than to produce and sell extra power. California is already doing this, which is presumably why electricity prices there are among the highest in America, while consumption is relatively low.


Energy-efficiency standards, such as building regulations, are another option. Economists generally prefer to avoid rules that specify what companies can produce and how, because they require governments, rather than markets, to allocate resources, and markets tend to do a better job. But if, as in this case, a public as well as a private good is involved, and the market does not seem to be doing its job properly, there is an argument for governments giving it a nudge.


There are lots of energy-efficiency regulations in place already, and they are being tightened. Incandescent light bulbs are the top target at the moment. Both the European Union and Australia said earlier this year that they are planning to ban them. But the man in the vanguard of this green revolution is Fidel Castro, who started phasing them out two years ago.




使用道具 举报

您需要登录后才可以回帖 登录 | 注册


诚聘英才|移动端|Archiver|版权声明|大家论坛 ( 京ICP备06071611号,京公网安备11010802018363号 )

GMT+8, 2020-10-26 15:18 , Processed in 0.084725 second(s), 13 queries , Redis On.

Powered by Discuz!

© Comsenz Inc.

快速回复 返回顶部 返回列表