When asking the question, does the market work better than the government at transitioning to sustainability, I have to say that I would be more in favor for the market than for the government in transitioning to sustainability. I think that it makes more sense to enact free-market incentives and let the market work on sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint than for the government to place policies and regulations on every industry out there. The ways in which the free-market incentives work is through emissions trading and carbon tax. I believe that it is smart to tax carbon products, although the closest thing we have to a carbon tax is gasoline taxed in the United States, it allows the government to use the tax money by putting it back into clean air projects or other ways to help our environment become more sustainable. The emissions trading approach was also a smart move in my opinion because it was incorporated into the U.S. Air Pollution Act and it established a cap-and-trade on sulfur dioxide from coal burning industries. I raise the question that is this something established to go along with the Air Pollution Act that was enacted by the government? If so, is this really a free-market incentive, or did the government say it was a free-market incentive which persuades industries into thinking that this is really a benefit for them, or is it just the government trying to control big carbon using industries?
Another big question that can be raised in this argument is that of who gets to decide what. Do governments get to decide about how to act when it comes to industries using high amounts of carbon and fossil fuels, or can we count on the industries themselves to understand and limit their negative impacts of using too many fossil fuels and burning too much carbon? Can local governments impact these industries, or is the national government the biggest enforcer for cleaning up carbon use? I think that money is the root of all problems. If the government were to limit or put certain restrictions on industries, this could reduce economic profit and job opportunities. Industries themselves don’t want to put a cap on what they are producing because that means less profit for them economically.
Ways to move forward in this problem not only of carbon pollution but of becoming a more sustainable world are not few and far between. There are ideas of going green, in the restoration of old buildings to building green buildings and houses in the now. Industries using the waste of each other to prevent from allowing waste into the land and water is based off of this cycle-cycle idea rather than the cycle-death idea. We would be creating things that would somehow be cycled back into earth to be used again rather than creating something that will just end up being thrown away or put in a landfill somewhere. Those of course, are large scale changes and are best to occur over a longer period of time. Small scale changes include things in our everyday lives, such as carpooling to work, using eco-friendly grocery bags and lightbulbs, turning off lights and heaters when leaving the house, and even traveling in an eco-friendly car. By doing the small-scale things, it makes a large scale difference. Any change we make could possibly alter the state of our planet and create a safer and healthier environment for us and generations to come.