I recently read an article stating that the CO2 emissions are at a 20 year low. I do have a scientific background and I agree that the Earth is heating up, and that a portion of this may be due to man's interference. However, I will not discuss or debate the extent or the problem that this may cause in this article (if you want a discussion on that, comment below). What can be accepted is that many governments find CO2 emissions to be a problem and have spent billions of dollars to counteract this perceived problem. Until recently, there was only marginal success at best for these efforts to curb emissions or to use other "alternative fuels" (again, if you want a discussion that...comment and I'll make one). The surprise from this story and to many big government thinkers is that the drop to a 20 year low was NOT from a huge government program, it was due to the market!
Wait, you mean that capitalist market that gets the reputation for not caring about the environment or the effect of industry on the environment? You mean that same market has actually come through and made a difference? And the simple answer is yes. The market has shifted to make cleaner burning natural gas cheaper than the dirtier burning of coal. The market has shifted to the cleaner source of energy and has done so primarily due to market forces and not to government forces. Despite the heavy meddling of government that produces limited results, the market has moved and provided less C02 emissions.
From this, it should be seen the sensible approach to CO2 and other emissions that governments, rightfully or wrongfully, wish to reduce. The market has to lean towards a cheap and viable alternative. Money spent on expensive alternative energy could be used to feed our poor or promote peace or other worthy goals. People tend to want to do the healthy option, the market just has to move to give it to them. So, more emphasis should be put on letting the market work to solve our problems rather than trying to force the market to accept more expensive and subsidized forms of energy. Ultimately, we all make decisions based on cost. And it is these decisions that move the markets. When a clean energy is made competitive in the market, it will succeed...but if it remains expensive and subsidized, it will not. Natural gas is where the market has moved now, whats next?
Here is the article I read if you want to see it: http://news.yahoo.com/ap-impact-co2-emissions-us-drop-20-low-174616030--finance.html