Cutting down the clutter in Earth orbit by imposing a debris tax

Wednesday, 16 October, 2013

If a tax on orbital debris, that is the dead satellites, burnt out rocket parts, and who knows what else, that is circulating above the Earth’s atmosphere, doesn’t make sense right now, it will after you see Gravity.

The study found that commercial satellite firms launch more satellites than is “socially desirable,” and they use launch technology that is more likely to create debris “because they only compare individual marginal benefits and costs of their technology choice and fail to take into account social benefits and costs.” That puts space debris squarely into the category of a “negative externality,” much like regular Earth-bound pollution, where the costs are unfairly borne by a third party – in this case just about everyone else on Earth.

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