@velartrill If you want energy use to go down, energy /prices/ have to increase.
Efficiency /buys more power expenditure/, because it effectively /lowers prices/.
Wm. Stanley Jevons, 1860s. The Jevons paradox.
We've made computers millions of times more efficient over the past 40 -50 years. That hasn't /reduced/ the number of computers or amount of computation, it's /increased/ it. And ... for comparatively little upside.
@velartrill Outlawing a thing is roughly equivalent to raising costs of production _of that one thing_. The problem is that this _doesn't_ affect the costs of production for _everything else_ that uses the same inputs, and specifically: energy (and fossil-fuel derived energy).
The real problem is that the costs of fossil fuels are far below the true economic and ecological costs.
That said: placing specific taxes or taboos on activities with high negative externalities is sensible.
@velartrill The points are this:
The costs rise _for that thing_. They might rise unacceptably high. If the punishment is light and conviction is rare, they might not. There are plenty of things which are technically illegal which are regularly performed. (And others which ... are not.)
But more significantly, _if you're trying to reduce utilisation of some factor of production_, you've generally failed. Because _competing_ uses of that input still exist, and if the input is cheap, ...
@velartrill Most especially, things in fixed supply. The classic is land. Taxing land doesn't reduce the amount, only the allocation of profit. It's a perfect wealth tax, and was advocated as such by Smith, Ricardo, and Henry George.
It's also relatively hard to hide.
@velartrill You're countering an argument I didn't make.
The law could be *perfectly* and *efficiently* enforced. But if there are cheap and wasteful applications of electrical power, or computational uses (say, hypothetically, tossing terabytes worth of Jquery code around the global infocomms network), you'll still be wastefully burning whatever it is you wastefully burn to get gigawatts.
The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!