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It's Time to Abandon the Delusion of a Carbon Tax

Carbon Mitigation and Tax Obstacles

At the United Nations last week, President Obama urged the nations of the world to follow our lead and begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The president has moved aggressively to use the powers of the Clean Air Act to begin the decade-long process of regulating greenhouse gases as air pollutants. Still, even though the president is articulating a strong policy on climate change, he is being criticized because the U.S. is not willing to set a price on carbon. As Coral Davenport reported in the New York Times:

…a major new declaration calling for a global price on carbon — signed by 74 countries and more than 1,000 businesses and investors — is missing a key signatory: the United States. The declaration, released by the World Bank the day before Mr. Obama’s speech at the United Nations Climate Summit, has been signed by China, Shell, Dow Chemical and Coca-Cola. It calls on all nations to enact laws forcing industries to pay for the carbon emissions that scientists say are the leading cause of global warming.

The Times article notes that 40 countries have some form of carbon pricing and the European Union has had cap-and-trade for nearly a decade. It also reported the administration’s sympathy for a carbon price that they would happily push if only they could get it approved by the conservatives in Congress. Unfortunately, even an American and European carbon tax would just be a drop in the carbon bucket. The real problem is not in the District of Columbia, but in China and India. Greenhouse gases are being reduced in Europe and the U.S. but are growing worldwide anyway.

It is easy to blame the conservatives in Congress for making a carbon tax politically infeasible in the United States. My guess is that even without the Tea Party, a carbon tax would be a heavy lift around here. Since we can’t even raise the level of gas taxes to pay for pothole repairs, I don’t think a carbon tax would get very far in any American congress.

While I consider global warming one of the great policy and management challenges of our time, I do not take seriously this effort to reduce greenhouse gases by raising the price of fossil fuels. A generous interpretation of the proposed carbon tax is that it is an act of political symbolism or perhaps impassioned idealism. A less generous interpretation would label it cynical baloney. No political leader responsible for ensuring the material well-being of his or her people in the modern global economy is going to willingly raise the price of something so central to that economy as the price of energy. This is especially true in the developing world. It makes for interesting cocktail party chitchat and impassioned rhetoric in global talks and academic conferences, but it bears no resemblance to political or economic reality. Fortunately, while price influences corporate and public behavior, and a carbon tax could work, we have other policy tools at our disposal that are politically feasible.

We will make the transition to a fossil fuel-free economy because our survival depends on it, but we won’t do it through a tax or treaty that prices energy at its complete cost. I know some economists consider a carbon tax, or internalizing the price of externalities, to be the magic bullet of environmental policy. They seem to have sold many climate scientists (and possibly our Secretary of State) on its mathematical elegance, but any realistic analysis of political and economic power and the force of self-interest make it clear that a global carbon tax will never happen. The political leaders of the developing world need to ensure that they have the energy required to grow their economies. Their political power and survival depend on it. Right now, that means they need fossil fuels. In the developed world, the fossil fuel companies will continue their ultimately futile battle to hold back the forces of technological change. They will fail because new technology creates new wealth and shifting wealth tends to alter the balance of economic and political power.

The real battle — and the one we should be fighting — is not over the economics of carbon, but over public funding of the basic research needed to make the transition to a fossil fuel-free economy. Raising the price of energy does not magically create new renewable energy technologies. While it would force some efficiency, innovation and fuel substitution, energy is so central to modern life that price alone may not force carbon reduction. I live in a city where the high cost of housing is borne as the price of living around here. People pay whatever it takes. Perhaps energy is different from housing in New York City. Still, politics blocked Mike Bloomberg’s effort to enact congestion pricing in New York despite the gridlock that only gets worse. In other words, even if one grants the theoretical attraction of a carbon tax and the power of price on behavior, it is still not politically feasible.

What we need is a combination of government-funded basic research along with public-funded private incentives to stimulate rapid commercialization and widespread global diffusion of new renewable energy technologies. We need to lower the price of renewable energy directly and drive fossil fuels from the marketplace. Renewables need to be cheaper, more reliable and more convenient than fossil fuels. That should be the basic climate policy strategy pursued by the United States and the rest of the world. That is a policy prescription rooted in history and reality. It is true that the fossil fuel companies will fight this policy with all the force they can muster, but it will not be enough. They will lose.

The history of economic development over the past two centuries (and longer) has been a story of technological development. Technology advances, reaches its limits, and is replaced by new technologies. New technologies change the way we live and improve our standard of living. Sometimes companies change with the times and continue to thrive like IBM and GE; other times they fail to keep up and struggle like Kodak and the folks who make the Blackberry. I do not see divestment from fossil fuel companies as a moral imperative, but as a reasonable investment strategy focused on the future.

In addition to R&D, a meaningful climate policy would include an emphasis on energy efficiency, smart grid infrastructure and the use of short-term bridge fuels such as natural gas. It would also include a strong signal from government, possibly in the form of a command and control regulation that the fossil fuel era is going to gradually come to an end. That is why the president’s admonition to reduce greenhouse gases and his use of executive authority to do so is a meaningful and important piece of climate policy. America knows how to limit pollutants through regulation. Our air is cleaner today than it was in 1970 because of the Clean Air Act. That old-fashioned, blunt-edged policy tool has two profound advantages: We know how to implement it and we know that it works. The fact that the U.S. has not signed onto a meaningless non-binding resolution on the way to another round of meaningless climate talks in Paris next year is a non-issue.

Instead of wasting time and effort on a futile attempt to tax carbon, we should be gearing up our national laboratories, research universities and high-tech sector on a massive effort to invent new forms of renewable energy. New battery technology, carbon capture and storage, new energy efficiency technologies and smart energy transmission technologies should be part of the mix.

While we work on technological innovation, we should do everything we can to reduce greenhouse gases using existing technologies. But we should focus on steps that are politically feasible. We should take steps that have a high probability of adoption, ones that are aligned with economic and political reality. A carbon tax is an elegant policy poorly suited for our messy and inelegant political world.

Photo Credit: Carbon Tax Delusion?/shutterstock

Steven Cohen's picture

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Elias Hinckley's picture
Elias Hinckley on September 30, 2014

I am going to respectfully disagree.

1) Correcting a market distortion isn’t the same as arbitrarily rising prices.

2) Price signals drive R&D, deployment and scale all of which drive technology costs down (not to say government funded R&D does not, but ignore the other ignores an important economic fact).

3) When did “the right thing seems too hard” become an acceptable policy position?

4) Big investment in alternative energy technologies will be embraced with bipartisan support just about as well as it was in 2011 as Solyndra’s failure became a rallying cry for the tea party about misused government dollars.

 

 

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on September 30, 2014

Steven, there’s so much wrong with this it’s hard to comment, but for starters you might want to review the history of British Columbia’s revenue-neutral carbon tax, which has lowered the country’s gasoline consumption by 17% in four years with no harm to the economy, before you dismiss the strategy as a “delusion”.

What’s delusional is the notion that passing the buck to India and China, on a problem of our own making, might prove constructive in any regard.

Lewis Perelman's picture
Lewis Perelman on October 1, 2014

Bob, BC is not the world. Nor the US, China, India, Indonesia, et al. It’s not even Canada.

Moreover, Jesse Jenkins showed in his recent 3-part essay here on carbon pricing that the cost to BC residents of their carbon tax scheme — because of the particular conditions in their local economy — is minimal. Jenkins showed persuasively that the willingness to pay in the US and other places is much less than the cost a behavior-changing carbon tax would impose.

And the fact remains, like it or not, that the unwillingness of China, India, and other developing countries to sign on to such a policy means that the climate impact of such symbolic gestures in BC or even California will make little noticeable difference.

Breakthrough technology innovation that can make clean energy cheap enough for the poor to afford without subsidies, is the only fix that has any prospect of working, as Steve says.

Lewis Perelman's picture
Lewis Perelman on October 1, 2014

Len, cap and trade has been tried and failed. It is even more complex, costly, and prone to corruption than the carbon tax. In any case, the great majority of the population is unwilling to pay the costs that any such scheme that seriously reduced emissions would impose. In short, the public will neither support nor tolerate any ‘stick.’

See my comment below and Jesse Jenkins’ analysis on why BC’s tax is little more than a local symbolic gesture having no global relevance.

Divestment is yet another symbolic gesture unlikely to have any significant impact.  The value of the shares pledged for divestment so far is about $50 billion; the value of all listed fossil-fuel stocks is some $5 trillion. Stocks that are sold will be bought by someone else. As long as fossil fuels generate profits, there will be no shortage of investors eager to own shares. Here is but one of multiple analyses explaining why divestment will not work:

http://www.ethicsandinternationalaffairs.org/2014/why-climate-change-divestment-will-not-work/

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on October 1, 2014

Lewis, BC is a provincial government with a representative democracy like the U.S., so perhaps your comparison would make more sense if you could explain what’s different about the U.S. which would preclude fee-and-dividend here.

I don’t recall Jesse writing that “the cost to BC residents of their carbon tax scheme…is minimal.” If he did, it would make no sense, because the cost is totally dependent on residents’ carbon use – some residents actually come out ahead. For that reason, “willingness to pay” research is irrelevant, unless it incorporates a factor for the benefit residents might receive from being able to actually make money on their payment. Can you provide a reference? Here are links to his series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Also, do you have any evidence that China and India have specifically considered a revenue-neutral carbon tax, or are you lumping the concept together with a plain tax penalty? Do you think they would be more or less willing to consider a revenue-neutral carbon tax if the U.S. and other trading partners had adopted it and it was successful?

Lewis Perelman's picture
Lewis Perelman on October 1, 2014

Bob, any carbon tax is signficant only to the extent it meaningfully reduces fossil fuel consumption. China and India, among others, have made it clear they are not going to do that — unless and until there is an alternative energy source that costs no more and is equally reliable and useful. In most cases, that alternative does not now exist. QED

I see no evidence that China, India, or just about any other country has any inclination to emulate or follow U.S. policies except when it coincidentally happens to suit their immediate national interests. The U.S. has been a staunch defender of Israel for over 60 years. Sadly, few other countries have followed America’s lead. The U.S. committed over a million troops to fight terrorism in Iraq (and Afghanistan) over more than a decade — at a cost of more than a trillion dollars and tens of thousands of American casualties. Yet so far none of the several countries in the supposed coalition the U.S. has assembled to combat the Islamic State has been willing to put any troops on the ground.

Re BC carbon tax, first, if you cannot perceive that the political interests and constituencies in Alberta, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Texas — not to mention in India, Indonesia, Poland, Russia, and most of the rest of the world — are very different from those of BC, I don’t know how to explain it to you.

Second, see Jesse’s comment in Part 3:

July 30, 2014

Jesse Jenkins says:

Thanks for the great links Arthur. So if the average initial household cost of the carbon tax in BC is just $125 per household per year, AND the policy rebates back an even greater amount ($277 annually per household) in income tax cuts and direct payments, that’s actually a remarkable testament to how little the rebates seem to impact household willingness to pay and political durability of a carbon price. $125/year is right in the middle of the $80-200/household per year range evidenced in the WTP research I surveyed in my paper. If you translated that $125/year to the average U.S. household, which emits ~34 metric tons of CO2 per year, that would be equivalent to support for a carbon price of just $3.68 per ton of CO2 in the U.S. So it seems like BC’s much higher carbon price is much more a function of the low carbon footprint per household in BC (due to very low CO2 from the power sector there) than it is the income tax cuts and rebates. (Although one could pessimisticly read the BC case as evidence that you need to more than fully offset the annual costs for an average household just to secure even that modest a WTP…).

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on October 1, 2014

Lewis, if the United States reduced its fossil fuel consumption by the percentage BC has succeeded at doing with gasoline in four years, it would save roughly 1 billion tons in CO2 emissions, or about 3% of the entire world’s output, or about half of India’s entire CO2 output. Perhaps if we stopped blaming other countries for the mess we’ve made and set an example, we’d regain a little of the moral standing we lost with our foray into Iraq. In that adventure, the US committed half a million troops and hundreds of $billions not to “fight terrorism” but on a misguided attempt to control the country’s oil supply. ISIS is a direct product of our errant foreign policy under the Bush Administration, which most other countries were wise to avoid.

If you’re unable to explain to me how people in the U.S. – or anywhere, for that matter – wouldn’t want to participate in a program from which they can profit and which also helps the environment, you’re correct – I don’t understand, because it makes no sense. Your arguments are the same as those put forth in BC in 2008. They were wrong then, and they’re wrong now.

In his argument Jesse erroneously uses WTP to compare the two countries. That metric alone isn’t valid in a system where residents are compensated for participating.

Robert Rapier's picture
Robert Rapier on October 2, 2014

I have proposed something several times, which is similar to the system in BC. A brief version is in today’s Wall Street Journal: Shift Taxes From Income to Energy. I have a longer version in my book, and have written several longer articles describing how it could be done. In essence, people have to buy the arguments for doing it, and they have to have some confidence that it won’t raise their overall tax bill. I think these things are both achievable. 

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 2, 2014

Bob, BC’s carbon tax has driven motorists to fill up across the borders, in either the US or in Alberta. That is the 17% decrease in gasoline consumption. What is funny is that the fans of the BC carbon tax, call that a win. Since we have just passed the 20th year of no global warming, why bother to tax carbon doxide? It obviously isn’t causing any harm.

Mark Carbone's picture
Mark Carbone on October 2, 2014

Mr. Cohen,

I cannot agree with several of the premises used in your arguments.  Funding R&D for renewable energy to create a medium term reduction in carbon pollution is profoundly inferior to a carbon tax.  No individual or small group who would choose what to fund can be as successful as market forces at developing and providing the best technologies that will be practical and cost effective.  Further, as long as fossil fuel externalities are ignored, it will be a very long time before fossil fuel use costs more than renewable energy. Therefore there would be no short-to-medium term reduction in carbon pollution.

 

Political will is indeed low in Washington.  As evidence of extreme weather events builds, even the most adamant deniers will be unable to hold back change.  The question here is will it be too late?  A REVENUE NEUTRAL carbon tax is ultimately the best solution.  Will it take longer to enact than the partial solutions being discussed?  Maybe.  But we should not saddle ourselves with half measures when so much is at stake, and we may be only a few disasters away from general support.  

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on October 2, 2014

Eve, BC’s tax equates to about 9 cents/gallon, so driving across the border to fill up would be more expensive for most residents that just paying the tax: Also:

Noteworthy is that BC had much greater reductions than the rest of Canada for all fuel types subject to the carbon tax. The consistency of this pattern across multiple fuels reinforces the inference that the tax contributed to this change. (It was not simply due to increased cross-border gas buying, as some speculate). By contrast aviation fuel, which is mainly exempt from the carbon tax, did not follow this pattern; its sales changed about equally in BC and the rest of Canada during this period – further suggesting that the carbon tax contributed to the differences in the use of the other (taxed) fuels.

CO2 is obviously causing a lot of harm. Below, see below for graph of average global temperature (up means warmer).

 

Mark Carbone's picture
Mark Carbone on October 2, 2014

Yes, a tax where the money disappears is not the solution.  A so-called “revenue neutral carbon tax” or “fee and dividend” on the other hand, would help immensely. Apply the fee to anything that would put carbon pollution into the air.  Each quarter, return the money equally to every citizen.  This will circumvent the problem of a carbon tax being regressive.  This is directly analogous to Alaska’s annual dividend given to every Alaskan each year.  

Many of those who are careful to save energy would be net beneficiaries of a carbon fee and dividend.  Those who wish to drive large vehicles, heat their homes to 75F in the winter and cool to 68F during the summer would be net payers.  But I would wager that most everyone would pay more attention to how much energy they use.  The Citizen’s Climate Lobby has a good description here:  http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1300404/planId...

 

It includes full dividend return, transparency, and border tax adjustments.  This is the most effective and economically efficient way to stop climate change.  

Mark Carbone's picture
Mark Carbone on October 2, 2014

While the details of Mr. Rapier’s plan would need to be worked out, it has the attributes to efficiently use the market economy to optimize the solution.  It targets equivalent taxes, although the effects of different income groups would need to be carefully considered and debated.  It removes the market externality of carbon pollution by not taxing renewable energy.  While I fear the details of such a plan are more difficult to finalize and gain agreement upon than a revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend, I would welcome a serious conversation of how to use market forces to reduce carbon pollution.  

Mark Carbone's picture
Mark Carbone on October 2, 2014

Mr. Rosen,

 

The only benefit of cap and trade over a revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend is that is has support from special interest groups: traders, lobbyists, and those who would receive the lowest cost emission credits.  While it has the appearance of being a market method, it is far less efficient, as decisions must be made on the cost of credits and money is continually siphoned off by the traders.  I suspect that the more you learned the details of cap and trade, the worse it would look to you.  

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on October 2, 2014

Robert, what you describe is almost identical to what BC already has:

For the first two years, these measures include a personal income tax decrease for the bottom two personal income tax brackets of approximately two percent in 2008 and five percent in 2009, a new low-income climate action tax credit, a one percent reduction in the corporate income tax small business tax rate, and a one percent reduction in the general corporate income tax rate.

It does increase the overall tax burden for those residents who use excessive amounts of fossil fuels, but that’s kind of the point.

Robert Rapier's picture
Robert Rapier on October 2, 2014

I have been arguing for such a system for years, but didn’t realize until this thread that’s sort of what BC has in place. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on October 2, 2014

I first read of it in James Hansen’s book, Storms of My Grandchildren, about five years ago. But who knows? Maybe Dr. Hansen’s grandchildren will one day be crediting you with the idea.

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 2, 2014

Odd then for that little money that people do fill up in the US and in Alberta. If they live close to the US border, they go over and go grocery shopping and fill their gas tank. The BC government knows this but they do not advertise it. Schools and hospitals in BC are the ones taking the biggest hit from the BC carbon tax bbecause they have no one to pass the cost on to. Plus the poor of course. What has the BC carbon tax done besides making money for the government? Changed the climate?

Your graph is out of date and in error. I suggest you stop using it. Here is a new one.

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on October 2, 2014

Eve, you apparently don’t understand the premise of the tax. It’s revenue-neutral, meaning all monies collected are returned to residents via income tax credits (because of the carbon tax, BC now has the lowest income taxes in Canada). Most of the money is directed to the lowest two brackets, so the poor benefit the most.

Debating climate change is considered a waste of time here on TEC, so you may get more interest in your views on rightwing, anti-science sites like wattsupwiththat.com.

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on October 2, 2014

We should not just scrap the best idea we have to reduce emissions: a carbon fee with 100% of the fees rebated to households.  A blue ribbon economic panel, Regional Economic Modeling, Inc.  projects a decrease in emissions of about 50% in 20 years, 3 x faster than EPA regs…

 

In this proposal, a fee is placed on carbon (coal, oil and natural gas) where it enters the economy (mine, well or port of entry). It is set at $10 per ton of released carbon dioxide and increased by $10 per year, with all proceeds given back to households.

 

 

This policy would lead to the following outcomes over 20 years: 2.8 million jobs created, an increase in the economy by $80 billion to $90 billion per year, 13,000 to 15,000 fewer yearly deaths from air pollution and reduced carbon emissions of 52 percent.

 

 

How would this carbon fee actually benefit the economy? First, by giving revenues back to households, the fee would actually stimulate the economy and create jobs in health care, retail, the service industry and other sectors.

“What about China, India, etc.?”  Carbon fee proposals in Congress also call for a “border tax adjustment”, that is, a tariff on imports based on the amount of carbon used in their production. This would protect U.S. manufacturers while giving our trading partners a powerful reason (profit)  to enact their own carbon fee.

 

 

Finally, by letting the market drive the transition to clean energy, over time other cleaner sources of electricity would actually become less expensive than the polluting fossil fuels.

 

There is a good reason why the World Bank and Nobel Laureates urge a price on carbon.

 

 

4 page summary includes description of REMI’s “credentials”  at http://citizensclimatelobby.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/REMI-National...

 

 

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 2, 2014

I do understand the tax. it is a pyramid scheme where the government taxes the people then gives them a little back. My question remains. Has it changed the climate?

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on October 2, 2014

Eve: what I don’t understand is why any sane, reasonably decent person would want to delay/distract/misinform and thereby recklessly gamble with our future (our children, grandchildren, the next 50 generations, billions of us) on this, the only planet known to support life.  Do I see the Koch roaches beginning to infest this site?

Please explain.

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 2, 2014

Did you think the graph I displayed is fradulent? It is a real graph of real measured global temperatures.I am trying to understand why any sane, resonably decent person would want to kill people by denying them energy to heat their homes, cook and store food, etc, just for the sake of making money. I rarely come on here because the sight of supposedly decent humans talking about taxing people makes me ill.

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 2, 2014

Did you think the graph I displayed is fradulent? It is a real graph of real measured global temperatures.I am trying to understand why any sane, resonably decent person would want to kill people by denying them energy to heat their homes, cook and store food, etc, just for the sake of making money. I rarely come on here because the sight of supposedly decent humans talking about taxing people makes me ill.

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on October 2, 2014

I would expect that any sane, reasonably decent and I add sincere person would ask the experts, the published scientists about  the so-called “hiatus”. If s/he really wanted to know that is, she might look elsewhere than Fox News, or WUWT, the Heritage Society, or The American Thinker, all funded by fossil fuels.

That person would know then that the graph is of a very short time period, and the average temperatures continue to climb.  S/he would know that last August was the hottest on record, that every decade (including the one in the graph) was hotter than the last, that the graph is only a narrow snapshot of atmosphere and that the oceans have continued to add heat.  S/he would, as clever as s/he is, be unable to explain why CO2 would suddenlty stop being a greenhouse gas or have good evidence for another factor causing warming. Perhaps you can explain?

S/he would have, by dint of diligent study, understand that we had been warned as early a 1896 that doubling CO2 would increase global temperatures in a serious way.. Arrhenius, who later won the Nobel,  did not profit from this discovery.

S/he would know that there are such things called “alternative energy sources” that are fine and dandy, except that the fossil tools in Congress contine to obstruct them, all the while sucking up to the sludge huggers..  S/he would wonder why fossil corporations do not have to pay for their pollution.

So, I ask again, why would such a person gamble on a cherry picking graphic trick to downplay AGW, when so much is at stake? I mean a sane, decent person; of course we would expect as much from the others.

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 2, 2014

I I really hate to get into this since after 18 years of no warming, this scam is dying. Last August was the hottest ever? Where? I had my heat on almost all summer and slept only three nights without a comforter this summer. I do not have a/c and live in southern Ontario. Canada has lost 5.3 C since 2010.The only thing that is at stake are the lives of Canadians who can no longer afford electricity because of the cost of renewables.  This winter will be as bad or worse than last winter.  I don’t know how many Canadians will die this winter. I do know that the UK is killing 75,000 of their citizens a year because of their carbon tax.

C02 is a minor greenhouse gas. Water vapour is a major greenhouse gas. Why don’t you start trying to tax H20. My graph is not cherry picked. You are capable of going to the RSS site and checking the temperature graph. The use of that GISS graph was cherry picking. The planet cooled through the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I know, I lived through it. So using a graph which used 1951 to 1980 as a base period is cherry picking. Yes it warmed through the late 80’s and 90’s but it has not warmed since 1998 and has been cooling since 2002. Maybe the above graph will help you understand.

People who believe that their use of fossil fuels is harming the planet should stop using them. Please live on the electricity your renewable sources can provide and get off the grid.

Max Kennedy's picture
Max Kennedy on October 3, 2014

I would have to agree with you Elias, especially regarding fact #1 and #3!  Unfortunately we no longer “choose to go to the moon, and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills“ .  Hard has become an excuse for not trying.  If it`s not politically expedient, doesn`t matter how right it is, don`t bother.  Here we see the degree to which corporations have taken control, not just in America but around the world, of the political realm.  We, as a race, are stuck in that peruile stage of adolesence, where it is all about ME!  Though many are ready to grow up beyond being a global virus there are those trolls that fear the change and what it will mean to their concentration of power.  Sad, isn`t it?

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on October 3, 2014

You did not answer my question about sane, decent people.  Perhaps you are just being taken for a ride for political reasons. Being naive is better than being insane or indecent, I guess.

 

You did not answer my question,”why did CO2 suddently stop being a GHG?”  You cite H2O, so you could even tell me ‘why did H2O suddently stop being a greenhouse gas?” or, ‘what other climate factor  suddently stopped after 1998?”

To cite Canada is off the point.  It is not a global average.  Yet, even Canada is warming.  Look at

 

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/nmaps.cgi?sat=4&sst=3&type=anoms&mean_gen=07&year1=2014&year2=2014&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=rob

 

 

 

And if you like graphs here are sone that are NOT cherry picked but extend back over 100 years..  Note that 1998 is no longer the “high” mark. 

 

The global temperature data for 2013 are now published. 2010 and 2005 remain the warmest years since records began in the 19th Century. 1998 ranks third in two records, and in the analysis of Cowtan & Way, which interpolates the data-poor region in the Arctic with a better method, 2013 is warmer than 1998 (even though 1998 was a record El Nino year, and 2013 was neutral).


 

– See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/01/global-temperature...

 

 

 

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/01/global-temperature-2013/

 

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on October 3, 2014

Pyramid scheme?  I guess your paranoia requires no evidence. Science has way higher standards. 

The “scheme” in BC has lowered both emissions AND taxes.  The majority of BC voters prefer this and have kept the policy.  Tax what you don’t like – pollution, and don’t tax (payroll tax) what you do like – jobs

Lowering emissions may keep our climate liveable.  We have to do something, and most economists say this is the fastest most painless way.  Even conservative econominsts say it, like Henry Paulson.

It’s just the fossil fueled Stink Tanks and fossil tools in Congress that continue to delay, at the cost of many hundreds of thousands of lives/year (World Health Organization). How are they better than Stalin who killed 10 million for the glory of the Soviet State? These sorry clowns do it for profit.  Is that better?

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on October 3, 2014

Graham, highways are expensive dates. They require constant attention and maintenance, not to mention (in BC) construction to accommodate the current boom of Chinese immigrants.

Most of these expenses are paid for with fuel taxes. Or did you think the wonderful public infrastructure we use everyday was free?

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 3, 2014

Since you seem unable to get to RSS to look at the graphs, here is Oct 1996 to Sept 2014, global temperatures. I don’t see any warming, do you? Canada is cooling, the country lost 5.3 C in the last 4 years. You cannot use land temperatures to measure global temperatures.

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 3, 2014

The carbon tax has lowered taxes? I thought it was neutral which means it does not lower total taxes. It has lowered emissions but C02 is a well mixed gas that does not have boundaries so it has not  changed the C02 in the air in BC. So you have a tax that does nothing but make people fill up across the borders. I am sure Washington and Alberta appreciate it.

Regarding your last statement which didn’t make much sense, there is a group that has surpassed Stalin’s death toll. It is the Green Movement. You can look up excess winter deaths in countries with a carbon tax.

Do people in BC like t:the carbon tax>

Margaret Evans continues to tell the story that the Earth is getting warmer and excess human carbon emissions are to blame (Turning up the heat on climate change action).  But she has left out much of the story.  It’s the part of the story that says the Earth is not warming, and it has not been warming for a substantial period of time.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), a UN committee, has published several accounts that deny many of Ms. Evans’ claims.  The IPCC published in 2012 that it agreed the world has not been warming as stated by Univ. of East Anglia, NOAA, and other agencies for at least the last 15 to 20 years.  Sea ice has increased in all the places that scientists have expressed the greatest concern.

Also, the IPCC has reviewed and published the findings of scientists that state extreme weather events have not been linked to man-made carbon emissions.  Heavy storms are not caused by humans.  And, Margaret’s claim that our recent hot summer is an indicator that we are warming the planet, does not account for this year’s early cold and snowfall registered in Alberta.

The truth is that many of our governments have made plans other than saving our planet for the funds generated by taxing carbon producing humans.  In an email conversation with our local MLA, Laurie Throness, I suggested that a financial solution to funding B.C.’s education system would be to use the Carbon Tax revenue, since there was really no need to save us from the effects of our carbon production.  Laurie’s response was: “about the use of the carbon tax, it’s now used for tax reductions in other areas, so diverting it would cause an effective tax increase.”

So you see, the funds are not now, and really never were meant to help B.C. decrease its carbon footprint.  It was a plan to implement a perpetual new tax.  And like the increases to ICBC rates that really go into general tax revenue, it is just more tax money for our provincial public servants to squander.

I am grateful that Canada does not plan to send delegates to upcoming Climate Conferences.  I urge voters to tell our MLAs to drop the carbon tax.  And, for Margaret Evans, the science is settled; the sun is the major controller of climate and global temperature.

Gary Raddysh

Chilliwack, BC

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on October 3, 2014

Still you don’t answer the questions I posed  because you do not understand the science behind climate change, but, like most deniers, simply parrot talking points from the fossil fueled Stink Tanks.

Yes, the carbon fee in BC is used to lower taxes.  Market forces then lower emissions as fossil fuels reflect their true negative costs to society (coal, for example costs taxpayers $300-$500 billion / year in the U.S. according to the Harvard School of Medicine)

But, here is another question, Eve. I don’t care that much if you accept the science or not. But I am curious. Why is it important to you that people be convinced climate change is NOT happening anymore or it is not due to our emissions or that it would be ok if it did?   Are you paid? Do you dislke liberals? Did your best friend (or Rush) convince you it is all a scam (yes, all 30,000 climate scientists and Bill Nye are in a trance cast by Wizard Gore)?

Betcha’ your next post will once again DEFINITELY not answer the last posts’ questions about GHGs etc. because you don’t know the science.

If 97% of scientists said Ebola was contagious, and 3% said it was not, how much time would we spend debating it? Or, would we take precautions just in case the great majority was correct?  You won’t answer that too will you?  Over and out unless you do…

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 3, 2014

I do know the science and that is my problem with talking to you. You don’t. Sure you can parrot what you read but you do not understand it. You probably haven’t noticed that there is a big change taking place. Scientists are now having to figure out the pause or the stop. Climate change has been happening since this planet was first formed so climate change is a stupid phrase to use. Stick to global warming. I bet you don’t even know that for the first quarter of this planet’s life, it was too hot for life to exist on it or that we are on our third atmosphere.

What makes me angry is the politicalization of science and the use of science to come up with new taxes. If that describes Liberals, then I don’t like Liberals. I am sick of reading about the thousands who die each winter because they can no longer afford fuel because of carbon taxes. I am sick of reading about the thousands of dollars being taken from BC schools, BC hospitals and BC taxpayers to be given as tax cuts to the BC elite and to BC industries. Bottom line is I am sick of corruption and that is all I am seeing on this site.

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on October 3, 2014

Your quote: “You can look up excess winter deaths in countries with a carbon tax.”   ???

No such thing.  There is no energy shortage in these countries.  Have you not heard of renewables? They are replacing fossil fuels.    And when all fees are rebated, citizens can still afford the fuel if they must, but will save money by insulating or using renewable energy instead.  .  So market forces drive emissions down.That is why the Kochs  are dead set against it.  Pure profit anxiety.

  Cite just one study in a reputable journal that finds these excess deaths due to carbon taxes (I said reputable, not the Heritage Society)n Recent cold winters will cause additional deaths, but the rate is actually going down..  You can’t blame the cold on carbon fees.

 

For example, http://euanmearns.com/excess-winter-deaths-in-the-england-and-wales/

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on October 3, 2014

i KNEW you couldn’t answer my questions.  See ya.

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 3, 2014

You are a twit but I have to add this:

The first cost to me in this is the cost to common sense. Making energy more expensive is going in exactly the wrong direction. Forcing people to pay more for energy makes no sense at all. I want to see energy get CHEAPER, not more expensive. I cannot put this too strongly:

Cheap energy is the salvation of the poor farmer, the poor housewife, and the poor in general all over the planet. It is also literally and figuratively the driving force of a developing economy.

This means that anyone advocating policies that add to the price of energy is actively harming the poor, the farmer, the housewife, and the economy. In addition, those advocating increasing the price of energy are slowing economic development in the parts of the planet that need it most.

I don’t care if you say you’re averting rumored harm to the farmer and the poor in fifty years. That does not justify harming the poor today. That’s the biggest cost of the BC energy tax—it increases the price of energy, the very lifeblood of society, hitting the poor the hardest. That, to me, is the height of cruel lunacy and thoughtless destruction. The first and most important cost of the BC carbon tax is the cost to the poor, to the disadvantaged, and to the economy.

The second cost involves the concept of a “revenue neutral” tax. Here’s the official BC government explanation of the revenue neutrality of the BC tax:

The carbon tax is revenue neutral, meaning every dollar generated by the tax is returned to British Columbians through reductions in other taxes. Tax cut measures include income tax credits for low income individuals, cutting the first two personal income tax rates by 5 per cent, providing northern and rural homeowners a benefit of up to $200 annually, and reducing the business taxes.

Clearly, they’ve made an attempt to return the money fairly by apportioning it among businesses, individuals, northern and rural homeowners, low income people, and the like, so each group gets back roughly what they’ve paid to keep the revenue neutral. To understand the problem with this, let me try to disambiguate two concepts—“revenue neutral” taxes, and “sin” taxes.

“Revenue neutral” means you are swapping out a tax on one thing for a tax on another thing, and doing it in such a way that the tax burden stays the same. In other words, the burden of the new tax is offset by reductions in other taxes.

Of course, ideally, a perfectly “revenue neutral” tax would not change any individual’s taxes. Under a perfectly revenue neutral tax change, if you used to pay a tax on A, you would pay the exact same amount now but with the tax assessed on B. In the BC case, for example, where you used to pay a tax on income, instead you’d pay the same amount of tax on energy, based on its carbon content.

Of course, there’s a million practical problems with achieving such a perfectly equitable revenue neutrality, and I’ll get to them. But for now, let’s agree that a theoretically perfect revenue neutral tax would ensure that in the changeover, nobody gained and nobody lost. For every single person, the tax you used to pay on A you’d now pay on B. All of the money paid to the government goes back to the public. Nobody gains, nobody loses, fair and equitable, no increase in anyone’s tax burden, it’s just that the tax is assessed on something else, that’s perfect revenue neutrality… hold on to that thought.

Next on the agenda is the “sin tax”. This is a tax intended to discourage behavior. Take a tax on tobacco as an example, it’s known to decrease the rates of smoking. Why? Because smokers are the losers, it costs them money out-of-pocket. Typically, the funds raised by sin taxes on e.g. tobacco are used on anti-smoking campaigns, or programs to help people quit smoking, that kind of thing.

Now to the puzzler. Consider a hybrid tax, a “revenue-neutral sin tax” like the BC carbon-based energy tax. The problem with such a tax is that if it is perfectly revenue neutral, there’s little incentive to change behavior. By that, I mean, it’s no good to impose a $200 tax on gasoline and then hand the guy $200—he’ll just go spend the $200 on gasoline. So paradoxically, the more just and equitable the revenue-neutral sin tax is, the less it will affect behavior. In other words, in order for a revenue-neutral sin tax to be effective, it needs to be unfair 

In a perfect revenue neutral world there are no gainers and no losers, but you need people to lose so they’ll change their behavior … so you have to make it “not-very-revenue-neutral” to make it work.

The third cost is one of fairness, and this one has huge ramifications. Children I know all over the world have a clear sense of what’s not fair. Despite being revenue-neutral, which the BC plan demonstrably is, the plan is far from fair. By that, I mean that for far too many people, they are either spending more than they are getting back, or less than they are getting back. People look at that, and they don’t like it one bit.

My experience is that most folks don’t mind an equitably shared burden. I pay my California sales tax, 7.5% on most everything, without protest or resentment. I don’t like how some of that is spent, but it’s taxes, everyone pays the same.

But if I knew that three of my neighbors paid no sales tax on anything that they buy, and I was being charged not 7.5% but 15%, it would angrify my blood mightily, I’d resent it hugely. And that’s the BC situation.

One of the ramifications of this is that perceived unfairness greatly encourages people to cheat, in whatever way that they can. If people feel (correctly or not) that the government is screwing them, they’ll be happy to try to screw the government. This is not good for the rule of law.

The fourth cost is the cost to the poor. I give them their own category because the poor are hit the hardest by rising energy costs. Now, the BC plan does at least attempt to address this real issue, through something called the “Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit”, or LICATC … and this provides another example of why “revenue neutral” isn’t. Here are the requirements for eligibility for the LICATC:

You’re eligible to claim the credit if you’re a resident of B.C. and you:

  • are 19 years of age or older, or

  • have a spouse or common-law partner, or

  • are a parent who resides with your child.

Only one person can apply for the credit on behalf of the family.

In other words, if you’re a young BC resident who (like I did when I was young) is living on his own and working at a job at 17, you’re out of luck. If I’d been living in BC, I’d have been paying energy tax and getting nothing back for two long years.

After the two years of paying energy tax, once I turned 19 and was eligible, I could get $115.50 from the BC Government from the LICATC. Now, there’s lots of jobs for which you have to drive a distance. I commuted 45 miles each way for a couple years when I was younger. Someone doing that with an old car, say 15 miles per gallon, might burn six gallons per work day. Two hundred work days in a year, 1,200 gallons. The BC tax is about twenty-five cents per gallon, that’s $300 in taxes I’m paying … and the LICATC gives me $115.50. Once again the poor get the short end of the stick. David Suzuki doesn’t care how much his gas costs, heck, for all I know free gas is just one of the services provided by his adoring female devotees, and he’s got lots of slack in his budget … but the poor have no devotees, and no slack in their budget at all.

The fifth cost is the tax on the tax. Of course, the Government of Canada gets to charge the Goods and Service Tax (GST) on all transactions … including the carbon tax. So while BC doesn’t keep any of the tax money, Ottawa is extracting thirty million bucksper year from British Columbians, charging them money for the privilege of being taxed on their carbon-based energy use …

The sixth cost is the overhead. You can’t run a complex program like a carbon-based energy tax without lots of paper pushers. And when you have paper pushers you need representatives of the porkoisie to supervise them and keep them from being fired. You need people to write the regulations. You need people to interpret the regulations. You need people to make the regulations more complex. You need people to count every molecule of CO2, and I’m telling you, even on a molecular scale those buggers are tiny. You need carbon cops to enforce the tax, and courts to punish people who are guilty of tax evasion. You need people to explain the complex regulations and forms to the poor bastards that have to fill them out. You need cheerleaders to write endlessly optimistic speeches about how well things are going. The list goes on for a while more, and no part of it is cheap, it’s government work …

The seventh cost is the pensions. Every person taking your tax money today and faithfully giving it back to you tomorrow in blessed revenue neutrality will be taking your tax money for thirty years after they retire and not giving back a dime.

The eighth cost is the rent-seekers. These include folks like Sustainable Canada and other organizations for whom this is a grant-raising bonanza. Then there are a host of lawyers, advisers, accountants, consultants, and the rest of the good folk who make their living out of the hysteria surrounding the alarmism and the complexities of the regulations. They produce nothing useful, they are a dead weight on society, but they come right along with the tax, they mate for life.

The ninth cost is the cost of tax avoidance/evasion. I used to work as an income tax preparer. There’s a distinction between tax avoidance (which is legal) and tax evasion (which is not legal). Seems like a bright-line definition … until you find out that in the US, if you adopt a business policy purely to avoid a tax, the IRS says that is illegal tax evasion.

But under any definition there are several costs in this arena of what might be called creative responses to the BC tax. At a simple level, the cost is the money hemorrhaging out of BC into the pockets of American and Albertan gas stations for gasoline. But it’s much worse than that.

Next level up, many staples are much cheaper in the US. So when BC residents come across the line to fill up on cheap gas, hey, might as well buy milk and cheerios and flashlight batteries and all the things that are 30%, 50% cheaper across the border. This is no help to the BC economy at all, quite the opposite.

Next level up, since the tax there has been an increase of 4 million additional vehicle trips across the border per year. This is a huge cost in waste of gas, time, vehicles, and human energy.

Plus I read that there’s now a side industry putting concealed fuel tanks on trucks so that they can haul an extra fifty gallons or so of fuel across on every trip … wouldn’t surprise me.

Finally, in the most general sense there’s a cost to society when you encourage people to be scofflaws. Unpopular taxes which were perceived by the common citizen as being unfair caused a bit of trouble in Boston, as I recall …

The tenth cost is the hours people will spend filling out the paperwork. For example, the poor people, the people at the margin, the people sleeping in their cars or under the bridges, or with their aunties, can get a check from the government for the Low Income Climate whatever Credit, and they merely have to do the following (emphasis mine):

Claiming the Credit

You or your spouse or common-law partner can apply for the low income climate action tax credit when you file your T1 Income Tax Return with the CRA. On page 1 of your return, check the “Yes” box in the GST/HST credit application area.

If you have a spouse or common-law partner, be sure to complete the information concerning your spouse or common-law partner in the Identification area on page 1. Include his or her net income, even if it is zero. Enter his or her social insurance number if it is not on your personal label or if you are not attaching a label.

To receive the credit for your children under the age of 18, they must be registered for the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB). If your children are not registered for the CCTB, complete the Canada Child Benefits Application form (RC66). You can also request the CCTB form by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-2221.

Riiight … grandma who can’t speak, read, or write English will be all over that one, as will the young guy living in his car and paying the BC energy tax while looking for work …

The eleventh cost is official hypocrisy. One surprising thing I found out in researching this is that the good burghers of BC have fields containing evil natural gas …  and even more coal. They don’t use much gas or coal themselves, in part because they have plenty of hydroelectric power. So although they personally dislike those nasty black fossils, they are all too happy to make a living selling them … the industry paid $1.3 billion for the use of the resources, and spent $6.7 billion on exploration and development. Total value of the fossil fuels exported from BC in 2010 was nearly ten billion dollars, about a quarter of their total exports. And to my surprise, seven billion dollars of that was from exporting coal. Big coal bucks, in other words.

So the BC folks are not too proud to take stacks of evil coal money, and thus be totally complicit in the extraction and use of fossil fuels, because as long as other people burn the fuels they can wash their hands and feel all pure … dang, you know this public expiation of BC carbon guilt is starting to make more sense.

What I hadn’t realized was that behind the facade of forest green, BC is a big-time coal baron. Funny how sometimes it takes me so long to finally wake up to some important part of the puzzle … in any case, of course they need to rid themselves of that secret shame, so it’s no wonder this particular carbon-taxing scheme could be sold there. They can get rid of their guilt that way.

And here’s the sting in the end of that tale. Any evil fossil fuel produced in BC which is sold outside of BC pays no carbon tax at all! So the big gas and big coal companies, which are producing gas and coal responsible for billions of tons of CO2, are exempt from the BC carbon tax. How ironic is that? The citizens pay the carbon tax, and the coal companies don’t … I never cease to be amazed at the strange contortions of these energy-taxing fools …

The twelfth cost is officials denying inconvenient reality. The so-called “fugitive emissions” (meaning leaks) of methane are a big issue with the radical left who would like to end fracking (and civilization as well, apparently). This has led to the curiously entertaining spectacle of the BC carbon-based energy tax taking “friendly fire” from DeSmog Canada for not accounting for the reality of these methane gas leaks in the greenhouse gas inventory. Gotta love the spectacle of green-on-green violence, not to mention the schadenfreude of watching the BC energy tax being bombarded from the left for a change …

In addition to that unaccounted raft of emissions from natural gas, you need to add in the emissions from all of the fuel bought in Alberta and the US. The official accounting denies the reality of both of those emission sources in the calculations of the effects of the tax …

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 3, 2014

Then why are people freezing to death? You couldn’t find any thing?? http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/11November/Pages/Excess-winter-deaths-rose-by-a-third-last-winter.aspx

Eve Stevens's picture
Eve Stevens on October 3, 2014

That would work if the money is returned to every citizen. In the case of BC, it is not. The carbon tax is used to lower corporation taxes and that is just not fair.

Paul O's picture
Paul O on October 4, 2014

Let me Quote a portion of another post I made to another  Liberal.

“……It strikes me that you might be a liberal who has an axe to grind beyond ordinary concern for our mutual planet. What led me to accept AGW and climate change was level headed  discussion of the evidence and counter evidence, not some pointless rush to upset the energysupply/ utilities cart. What you really need to ask is whether liberals and their greenie friends will ever stop their breathless renewables (exclusionary of nuclear…of course) approach to CO2 free power sources. Or change for the sake of change that cannot be shown to solve Climate Change without futuristic assumptions….”

This comment  may not match the exchange between you and Eve, but it does express my sentiments about,  a) Climate Change, and b) Hyper-testosteroned self-righteousness of liberals who inject politics into climate change discourse.

 

http://theenergycollective.com/stephenlacey/912276/how-top-liberal-state...

Max Kennedy's picture
Max Kennedy on October 4, 2014

But Bob, to stop blaming others and lead would require the mindset of an adult.  Unfortunately the ME FIRST fossil fuel group is stuck in adolescence.  The biggest change to effectively get to work on AGW is a change from “not until they do their part too” to one of simply “I will”!  As has been shown many times before if the attitude changes we can, if it doesn’t we can’t.

James Hopf's picture
James Hopf on October 4, 2014

I coudn’t possibly disagree more (with the article).  Saying that no/low-emitting sources will not be used until they are competitive, on raw price, with fossil fuels is essentially saying that emissions reductions are of no value, and that “nobody” will be willing to pay *anything* to achieve them.  (It also effectively says that all of the other, public health benefits of moving away from coal and oil are also of no value.)

It is also clear that this notion of researching it until reductions come at zero/negative cost is just a delaying tactic, probably mainly put forth by fossil fuel interests, in order to put off any transition away from fossil indefinitely.  It is unlikely that clean energy sources will be able to compete on raw cost with sources that have the privelege of using the atmosphere/bioshpere are an open sewer, for free, for the forseeable future.  (Renewables are intermittent and diffuse, with a very lower power density, and nuclear is required to spend almost limitless sums to remove even the tinest risk of emitting any pollution to zero, while fossil gets to pollute continuously, for free).

The public health and climate costs of fossil fueled power generation are as real as any other.  There is no rationale for having that cost not reflected in the price.  It is an indefensible market distortion, as Elias points out.  It is a matter of principle that people pay what the power (from various sources) actually costs.  It is not too much to ask that developing countries would be able to figure out that they are simply pushing the costs elsewhere (health care costs, effects of GW).  Saying they can’t “afford it” is specious.  If they can’t see reason, embargoes on their products should do the trick….

A technology-neutral price on carbon is, by definition, the most effective and cost efficient means of reducing CO2 emissions.  You damn straight it’s simple an elegant!  Are we to believe that such effective policies will never be used (e.g., in the developing world), but much more expensive, less effective policies (e.g., renewable energy subsidies/mandates) will?  To say that such an approach will never be used is essentially saying that nothing will be done about GW, period.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on October 4, 2014

Graham, I have no idea what you mean by “start with the dividend”. BC motor fuel taxes are an entirely separate source of income from the carbon tax. This may clear up some of your confusion.

On the subject of motor fuel taxes – I agree that all users of roads should be responsible for their upkeep. The connection between motor fuel taxes and highway maintenance is left over from a time when all highway vehicles used motor fuels (the damage down to roads by bicycles is minimal). There has been a lot of debate about how to tax electric vehicles, but most plans use some kind of vehicle monitoring system which raise (in my opinion, legitimate) privacy concerns.

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on October 5, 2014

 A powerful benefit of the proposed carbon fee and dividend legislation in Congress is what they call “border tax adjustment”, which is a carbon tariff imposed on all goods based on the carbon footprint of those goods.

Two things would occur:  One, it would protect domestic manufacturers from goods made with dirty energy. And two, it would propel other countries (China, India, and other polluters) to move to clean energy as a way to avoid the tariff.

This would have a huge ripple effect out to the rest of the world.  And, if we don’t go low carbon, one day we might be paying such a tariff to other countries who are setting up their own carbon tariffs.

Cap and trade does not have this feature.

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on October 5, 2014

Many conservative economists, George Schultz and Henry Paulson, for example, favor a carbon fee and rebate.

But, aside from politics, which is often used to delay effective action: 

The climate threat is currently dire and growing.  That is the science.  Renewables are fully capable of limiting emissions, while still providing the energy and the jobs that are now provided by dirty energy. 

For example,

Vermont 100% RE, Germany follows

 

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/09/15/1329920/-Vermont-s-largest-city-now-using-100-renewable-energy-sources

Can you think of another  effective, timely alternative solution to renewable energy?  I am “all ears” as the solution is the main thing I care about.

 

Soltutions must trump party loyalty or it may be game over.

Max Kennedy's picture
Max Kennedy on October 5, 2014

Been saying the same for a while however the arguement goes that the monied PTB won’t allow it and the WTO will see it as a trade barrier thereby ruling against it so it won’t be done.  I say it’s about time we told the monied PTB and the WTO to take a long walk off a short pier!

Robert Bernal's picture
Robert Bernal on October 9, 2014

The renewables (other than hydro and nuclear) must be backed more often than not. Therefore, We should mandate a national commitment to build pumped hydro storage and lots of it. The laws of physics state that more energy is conserved when building PHS than a bunch of utility scale batteries. This is because the total energy stored on investment for batteries is far lower than the total ESOI for PHS.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130308111310.htm

As you said, national labs should be working on high tech, however, the saying “perfect is the enemy of good enough” applies. The object is not to make an even better EV battery, it is in making the LiFePO4 (or similar) very much cheaper to build. Bty, that battery was invented by a team in Texas led by a man whose name is John Goodenough.

The same must apply to rustproof solar supports, PV manufacture, installation and PHS, if we are to even come close to the instrinsically lower costs of would be modular molten salt reactors.

Robert Bernal's picture
Robert Bernal on October 9, 2014

I thought of that, too. Too bad we can’t all demand that all items made overseas be charged the equivalent of an effective CO2 tax per embodied energy. However, most other enviro regs such as which now restricts REE mining and new modular nuclear development to favor overseas interests must first be removed.

The harmless amount of radiation of thorium from REE mining is the excuse that these traitorous “rule makers” use as the excuse to destroy the western world industrialist and thus, strategic abilities. Perhaps, it is because they are afraid of Alvin Weinberg’s invention!

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on October 13, 2014

 …essentially saying that emissions reductions are of no value…”

Small reductions in CO2 emissions, that is fractional reductions in only the US while Chindia continues on pace, *are* of no quantitative value.  Such action will not move the arrival date of a doubling of CO2 by a week some 80 years from now.   If the increased cost of energy happens to drive production offshore to less efficient producers the doubling date might even be accelerated. 

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