The Taxing Solution to Global Warming

A carbon tax is not a new idea; heck, The Economist proposed a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in l998. But the fact that a few idealistic conservatives (yes, the species still exists) are backing a carbon tax now is news. Especially since just two years ago Andrew Sullivan, the leader of the pack, was actively doubting the threat of climate change.

Better late than never, I say.

Among enviros, the consensus is that any tax actually able to reduce emissions substantially would be politlcally impossible to enact. I’m not so sure. I’m no expert, but I like the transparency of the idea, and its potential to change public attitudes from the bottom up.

An example: in California, where we love our cars, and where public transportation is reserved mostly for the poor and the young, the rise in gas prices has resulted in a leveling off of gas consumption since 2000…despite millions more drivers and vehicles. They said it wasn’t possible, but it is!

[graphic from the aforementioned LATimes story, drawn from state statistics]

Gas_consumption_in_california_2000_

5 thoughts on “The Taxing Solution to Global Warming

  1. There is not a consensus among “enviros’ that a carbon tax is politically impossible to enact. The Carbon Tax Center, http://www.carbontax.org, strongly supports a carbon tax and is convinced that a tax is politically possible. We are not naive and do not expect a carbon tax to come out of this session of Congress. We are convinced that it is absolutely essential that a price be put on carbon, that a carbon tax is the best way to do so and that momentum will build for passage of a carbon tax.

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  2. Well, I hope you’re right, Dan. This is what I have heard from high-placed sources whom I can’t name. Thanks for the note, and I will check out your organization. I’m glad to hear of it.

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  3. Kit, I’m interested in hearing more of what you have heard from high-placed sources. Anything further you can tell me either through this blog or directly (you can contact me thorugh our web site)? Thanks.

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  4. Dan, I don’t want to be coy, but I really have to honor requests for privacy from people I talk to while wearing my rakish reporter hat. But I honestly hope you’re right about the prospects of a carbon tax, and I take your point that you don’t expect action in this Congress.

    Let me look at your site and think on this a little and maybe we can find a way to open the story up to further discussion by a wider audience. Thanks for your attention.

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  5. Oh, great! Just what we need… another tax. You people are so willing to give the government your money. Is it because they have been so wise in spending it on the war in Iraq? Are you hoping that the carbon tax funds will be spent to invade Iran? Stop funding these warmongers!
    What you are proposing does nothing more than hurt poor people and cause them to have less mobility, liberty, and freedom. Remember that the US was created because people were tired of “taxation without representation.”
    A carbon tax is the worst possible idea and not a solution.

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