“Unlike the public sector, the private sector is bred for efficiency. Left to its own devices, it will always find the means to provide services faster, cheaper, and more effectively than will governments,” said James Jay Carafano. I suspect the vast majority of Americans would agree with Mr. Carafano. They probably consider the statement self-evident. The facts, however, lead to the opposite conclusion. When not handicapped by regulations designed to subsidize the private sector, the public sector often provides services faster, cheaper and more effectively. Continue reading
Viewing the efficiency tag archive
The report [Synapse Energy Economics Inc.: Costs and Benefits of Electric Utility Energy Efficiency in Massachusetts] is worth reading in full, but this paragraph is absolutely vital:
Synapse recently undertook an extensive review of numerous utility and third party EE programs from across the United States in order to explore the empirical relationship between the cost of saved energy (CSE) per kWh saved and program scale in terms of first year energy savings as a percentage of annual energy sales. In the analysis, we found that the CSE tends to decrease as energy savings increase relative to annual energy sales. This finding is contrary to the idea of an energy efficiency supply curve that is often constructed to estimate economic potential of energy efficiency measures. These supply curves generally indicate that the CSE increases as energy savings increase, much like a generation supply curve would. In English: Energy efficiency gets cheaper the more you spend on it. [emphasis original]
Most environmental leaders and Democratic Party officials argue that we should support the Waxman-Markey carbon cap and trade bill (American Clean Energy Security Act) no matter how imperfect because it represents an important small step forward. In this commentary by David Morris, he concludes that the bill would be acceptable if it was stripped of its cap and trade provisions. Retaining the cap and trade provisions and he sees it as a giant step backwards that may well hobble further progress in federal efforts to combat climate change for years to come.
This November 2007 report by David Morris and Ann Robertson evaluates the evaluates that issue by analyzing the impact of the proposed $1.5 billion tax shift legislation, the Economic Efficiency and Pollution Reduction Act (EEPRA) on Minnesota’s most energy-intensive business sectors and estimating the potential for those sectors to offset any increased tax burden through cost-effective efficiency improvements.
Under EEPRA, energy-intensive businesses would pay higher net taxes while energy-efficient businesses would pay lower net taxes. While this is an intended outcome of the tax shift, businesses in Minnesota are concerned that the tax shift could impose a competitive burden on certain sectors.
Watching minutes, ignoring hours by David Morris Originally published in Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 1, 2005 A few years ago the following tongue-in-cheek economics lesson made the rounds of mainstream news journals: Bill Gates would lose money if, on his way to work, he stopped to pick up a $100 bill. Why? Over his business… Continue reading
A Tale of Two Countries by David Morris Originally published in Alternet, December 8, 2003 The most telling similarity between Japan and the United States is not our shared addiction to baseball, but our shared dependency on imported oil for our survival. Roused to action by the first Gulf War and memories of the destructive… Continue reading
Sometimes doing the right thing is almost too simple. Requiring publicly funded construction projects to produce no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions is one example: it’s hard to find the down side. By David Morris Continue reading
Use Construction Bonds to Fight Global Warming By David Morris March 26, 2000 What can Minnesotans do to curtail global warming? The problem seems immense, but the solution is straightforward: Use energy more efficiently and shift to renewable fuels. An effective and easy first step toward redressing our share of global pollution would be to… Continue reading
This Novemeber 1998 report by David Morris and John Bailey examines the impact of a proposed $1.5 billion ecological tax shift proposal on Minnesota’s agricultural sector. Overall, the net impact is beneficial for Minnesota farmers that are growing crops. On a statewide level, the carbon tax raises costs to farmers by about $59.1 million while the property tax reduction lowers costs by $92 million. The benefit varies by crop and by farm size. Soybean farmers do better than corn farmers, large farmers do better than small farmers. Continue reading
Politicians’ Response to Gas Price Rise is Pitiful by David Morris May 7, 1996 In 1973 and again in 1979 this country was rocked with massive oil price hikes. Politicians of all stripes responded by devising a coherent strategy to reduce our dependence on imported gasoline. The federal 55 mph speed limit, according to Robert… Continue reading