Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cash for Clunkers, Part II

Gwen Ottinger, who is "a program researcher in environmental history and policy at the Center for Contemporary History and Policy in Philadelphia," writes in this morning's Post (here) about why the cash for clunkers program is bad environmental policy:
  1. "Even when new cars and appliances are more efficient than the ones they replace, the act of replacing them entails environmental costs not accounted for in the stimulus programs. Building a new car, washing machine or refrigerator takes energy and resources ... [and] disposing of old products, a step required by most incentive and rebate programs, also has environmental costs."

  2. "Policies that encourage purchases of energy-efficient products may increase, rather than decrease, energy use ... For example, Energy Star refrigerators, which now qualify for rebates in many states, are certified to be 10 to 20 percent more efficient than "standard" models. Yet the Energy Star rating is awarded overwhelmingly to refrigerators far larger than would have been the norm two decades ago."

  3. "Product-replacement policies send a message that old things are dirty and inefficient, while new ones are necessarily green and efficient ... By assuming that only new products can be environmentally friendly, these policies lead us to discount the environmental gains that could be made through well-established and low-tech means, such as smaller refrigerators."
These are great points, and I hope that the Senators who are on the fence re: the extra $2 billion are reading.

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