How could reality possibly be tidy enough to make that a valid assumption? Doubtless some people who pollute less will come out winners, and some heavier polluters will lose.

But there will be layers upon layers upon layers of complications. The gas station owner will be driven out of business. Serves him right, you may say, for destroying the earth. What about his children? They’re not big polluters, why should they be punished?

Meanwhile Elon Musk is a CEO. CEOs spend all their time on airplanes, so he personally probably has an enormous carbon footprint. But he comes out a winner.

I don’t even think it’s safe to assume that on average the green will win and the brown will lose. Every market inefficiency creates arbitrage opportunities, and carbon taxes will be no different. It’s at least as plausible the winners will be those who are most resourceful and well-connected, who can position themselves to game the new rules.

Tech guy trapped in the data mines of San Francisco. Follow me at

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