Thursday, May 29, 2008

Footprints and thumbprints

I suppose that until we get the prices right in terms of emissions and how they impact climate change and/or we emerge from the hysteria, there will be carbon footprint measures and discussions. Now Brookings has released its "Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America".

But we know that all resources are scarce and that efficiency is all about making trade-offs in light of the best scarcity information.

The Brookings report and the carbon footprint idea are not helpful in this regard. We get reports of a "bias against public transit" (which has received ever larger subsidies even as ridership has fallen for the last 40 years) and recommendations to "promote more transportation choices to expand transit and compact development options" and other similar chestnuts.

Trouble is that this stuff is now dressed up in seemingly serious analysis. And that can launch a thousand more policies, most of which are likely to make us worse off. I do listen to what the candidates say.