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At American.com, Ron Bailey looks at the merits of carbon taxes versus carbon markets.

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NEXT: Carbon Taxes Versus Carbon Markets

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  1. Yeah, right, Ron!

  2. A nice presentation of the complexities Ron.

  3. I’d happily accept a carbon tax, and allow the government to set it a whatever level they choose in order to maximize revenues…

    …in competition with other government each trying to maximize their own carbon tax revenues…

    …provided that income taxes are correspondingly reduced for every carbon tax dollar raised.

  4. Which is something that shouldn’t be forgotten in the debate. The carbon tax will become a source of revenues, and therefore the original goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions may well take a back seat to maximizing revenues.

  5. Easy solution to that: every dollar collected in carbon taxes should be set on fire.

    Or, rather, given the circumstances, sequestered under the ocean floor.

  6. every dollar collected in carbon taxes should be set on fire.

    Hmm. Might not be a bad idea. And throw in any income from selling emissions permits.

  7. My disagreement with solely Carbon Taxes is that there is no incentive for sequestration; especially if these Carbon Taxes just offset other taxes. And I am not saying they shouldn’t either.

    Assuming the growing levels of CO2 are actually a bad thing, we will need to remove the CO2 from the air. Unless Carbon Taxes go to subsidize such efforts, which isn’t much different from the Offset Market anyway. And we’d be stuck with boucoup taxes.

    Furthermore, there is a risk of our political and beurocratic machines getting addicted to carbon taxes, and thus subvert the process by encouraging CO2 emmissions to generate revenue.

    Offset trading of CO2 Equivalents encourages sequestration and encourages many to ‘go the extra mile’? who would not otherwise do so.

    R.Bailey describes the Offset market as a failure, particularly Europe’s. But I don’t think we are getting the big picture here. While there are clearly teething problems with carbon offset markets, it is growing rapidly; yes Leaps and Bounds. Nascent, but growing, thus not stillborn.

    My Advice: Keep and improve the CO2 Offset Markets, but use carbon taxes & tarrifs as a means to rein in the non-compliant nations.

  8. p.s. a breif perusal of files from Enviroweenie lovefest site TreeHuggerDOTcom, reveals:
    http://tinyurl.com/yo9zlp
    some interest in whether or not this thing is gonna work:
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/07/co2nned_carbon.php

  9. Ron,
    I tried to e:mail you this message yesterday but it didn’t go through.

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010111

    Mr. Bailey,

    Are you still a member of the ACLU despite them being a fraud? They clearly, only defend liberal positions and attack conservative positions on a whole.

    If you are, what is your definition of hypocrite?

    Thank you.

  10. Are you still a member of the ACLU despite them being a fraud? They clearly, only defend liberal positions and attack conservative positions on a whole.

    Yes, Ron Bailey is clearly a stalwart of Reason’s left flank.

  11. There is one good thing to come out of the global warming discussion, I’m not worried about what will happen to the money that is stolen for Social Security now I’m concerned about how badly everything will be fucked into a cocked hat over global warming.

    “However, calculating or predicting what a country’s emissions will be 20 to 30 years in the future is impossible to do with accuracy.”

    I dearly hope that I am not the only one to read this sentence with a trace of humor, we canna predict what the emissions will be*, but we can predict with absolute certainty that these same emissions will cause the END TIMES.

    “Taxpayers can be brought on board if carbon taxes are used, for instance, to reduce their payroll tax burdens. “The great political advantage of carbon taxes is that they raise large revenues which governments can use to reduce other unpopular and more distorting taxes, or finance popular spending programs,” says Robert Shapiro”
    “goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions may well take a back seat to maximizing revenues”

    Yes is would be strange if the money coming in became the focus rather than the “Public Safety” the money was supposed to create, Hows that tobacco settlement working out for you, Or those speeding tickets, the reason he hides in the bush is for your safety not the money it brings in, Or dog licensing, It would indeed be strange if the politicians, read professional liars and thieves, did not return the tax money.

    *I would like to point out that well the function of the entire global environment “can” be fully modeled we still cannot accurately predict what will happen when new medicines are administered to a person, Vioxx anyone? Though I guess this is understandable as the human body has only been studied for 3000 years there are only Billions and Billions of dollars spent characterizing bodily function with thousands of hospitals and doctors collecting data WHILE global warming has 30 maybe even 35 years of rather limited study by few researchers none of whom are anything other than impartial using rather crude tools. AH the beauty of consensus!

  12. Easy solution to that: every dollar collected in carbon taxes should be set on fire.

    Or, rather, given the circumstances, sequestered under the ocean floor.

    Works for me. I volunteer to help with the vital process of sequestering that money. When should I bring the truck to pick up the bills?

  13. Okay, as Ron said, these are both political solutions. Raise your hand if you have faith in governments to resolve the global warming problem.
    More importantly, considering the subjective value of goods and services, and, for that matter, the consequences of global warming itself, can somebody tell me what the correct or proper average temperature should be? If you can’t, then why should we expect politicians and bureaucrats to be able to. And if they try to answer that, are they right, or pulling it out of their a**?

  14. Larry Martin,

    “can somebody tell me what the correct or proper average temperature should be?”

    Oh come on… you aren’t even trying.
    This isn’t about absolute temperatures.
    Read a book.

    Even the Irate Pirate does better.
    And he thinks humans have been involved in the scientific study of the human body for 3000 years. And that there are only a few limited studies on the topic of climate.

    Basics on the history of science…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_science

    Basics on climate science
    http://realclimate.org/

  15. Juxtaposition of social security and global warming on H&R brings to mind a tidbit I have noticed.

    When discussing SS, it is a boondoggle that future generations will never be able to afford.

    When discussing GW, future generations will be so wealthy they will be able to afford the costs and solutions of GW.

    Hmmm…

  16. Thanks for agreeing, NM. It ISN’T about absolute temperatures, and that’s the problem with both carbon taxes and carbon markets…

  17. “It ISN’T about absolute temperatures, and that’s the problem with both carbon taxes and carbon markets…”

    Rather it IS about how suddenly temperature/climate changes; and this is NOT a problem with Carbon Taxes and Offset Markets.

  18. Sam,

    I used to worry about rapid temp changes, too, back when the science was fed to me by MSM and commenters in and about the big journals. My work got me a little deeper into the issue with the result that now I worry more about government response to simulations of GW than I do about actual GW. Alaska’s climate center at UAF decided that Alaska’s temps haven’t changed much since the late ’70s when the PDO shift pushed up the temp a couple degrees. So even though CO2 is rising fast, temps here in GW Canary country haven’t moved much. The relatively few First Order sensors in the state may indicate higher temps since 2000 (except last year), but then they’re all on airports which FAA is improving at the rate of maybe $200M per year leading me to suspect land use influences. The upper level readings are flat or falling.

    No sweat. Literally.

  19. On Mount Rainier in Washington state, up until recently they had a big government sign talking about the danger of another ice age occuring, and showing how the glacier you could see from the sign was growing larger. The sign recently disappeared, but the replacement sign warning about global warming must be on back order.

    So, I simply can’t take seriously the premise that all the science is in, the debate is over, and that man-made global warming due to carbon dioxide emissions is real, a massive problem, and fixable by a massive government intervention that doesn’t include China, India, or other fast-growing developing nations — especially since Mars is also getting warmer, and the only thing the two planets have in common is they are both heated by the same sun.

    Ron Bailey has no credibility writing for Reason.com.

  20. Sometimes Where is more important in policy than What.

    If anything gets done it were best begun by weighing , analyzing and taxing whatever form of fossil fuel at its point of production from the ground.

    Downstream , blending and processing
    makes accounting all but impossible, and tax evasion and double taxation equally easy.

  21. I simply can’t take seriously the premise that all the science is in, the debate is over

    And you shouldn’t. The science should always be challenged, and new evidence should collected.

    and fixable by a massive government intervention that doesn’t include China, India, or other fast-growing developing nations

    You may be right. I think a cap-and-trade system, with the huge caveat that it has to be done right, could cut down on climate change, but fall short of being a “fix”.

    especially since Mars is also getting warmer

    I’ve seen the increased solar energy acknowledged as a minor driver of global climate change.

  22. “I’ve seen the increased solar energy acknowledged as a minor driver of global climate change.”

    …only for the first half of the 20th century. Solar irradiance is fairly flat after 1950s. The warming on mars has to do with the changing insolation properties and cylical orbit of Mars, and has nothing to do with the non-changes in suns irradiance.
    Nature Magazine sez: http://tinyurl.com/24l5t5

  23. Lou,

    “temps haven’t changed much since the late ’70s”

    You need to adjust your conceptualization of “fast” in terms of climate change…and widen your conceptualization of “global.”

    “The upper level readings are flat or falling.”

    Science 24 November 2006:
    Vol. 314. no. 5803, pp. 1253 – 1254
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1135134

    ATMOSPHERE:
    Global Change in the Upper Atmosphere
    J. La?tovi?ka, R. A. Akmaev, G. Beig, J. Bremer, J. T. Emmert,

    The upper atmosphere is cooling and contracting as a result of rising greenhouse gas concentrations. These changes are likely to affect the orbital lifetimes of satellites.

  24. Why the cooling is a sign of global warming

    Carbon dioxide cools the thermosphere, even though it acts to warm the atmosphere near the Earth’s surface (the troposphere). This paradox occurs because the atmosphere thins with height. Near the Earth’s surface, carbon dioxide absorbs radiation escaping Earth, but before the gas molecules can radiate the energy to space, frequent collisions with other molecules in the dense lower atmosphere force the carbon dioxide to release energy as heat, thus warming the air. In the much thinner thermosphere, a carbon dioxide molecule absorbs energy when it collides with an oxygen molecule, but there is ample time for it to radiate energy to space before another collision occurs. The result is a cooling effect. As it cools, the thermosphere settles, so that the density at a given height is reduced.

    http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/thermosphere.shtml

  25. You are having a debate between what is better a government monopoly vs a government imposed tax and which is more market friendly.
    All “scientifically” brought to us by the human loving NGOs and socialist governments of the world.
    You guys, including Ron, really need to spend more time reading Mises and Rothbard and less time surfing the web.

  26. Any carbon tax should be matched with a payout for those who peramently remove co2 from the air.

    See Agichar/Biochar/Terra perta, deep ocean iron fertilization, schemes to make caron caliate etc.

  27. Both of these “solutions” presume that global warming is being caused by man-made emissions of CO2, which is a crock. This is VERY well documented in the British video, “The Great Global Warming Swindle (2007)”, viewable at http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=2332531355859226455&hl=en

  28. When discussing SS, it is a boondoggle that future generations will never be able to afford.

    When discussing GW, future generations will be so wealthy they will be able to afford the costs and solutions of GW.

    There’s nothing terribly profound here.

    Social Security’s income and outlays are directly proportional to standard of living. Therefore an exponential rise in standard of living in no way catches up to the costs of Social Security. Social Security’s costs are related to the ratio of beneficiaries to taxpayers, and are unsustainable on those grounds.

    The costs of global warming, on the other hand, most decidedly do not rise exponentially with standard of living. Even if CO2 emissions increased exponentially along with wealth creation in the future (they won’t), temperature rise with atmospheric CO2 is sublinear.

    So it’s fair to argue that improvements in standard of living can overtake global warming costs. Those same improvements cannot overtake Social Security costs.

  29. MikeP,

    “So it’s fair to argue that improvements in standard of living can overtake global warming costs. Those same improvements cannot overtake Social Security costs.”

    A fair argument for sure, but I think it falls flat in detail. The percentage of wealth needed to provide a reasonable standard of living for the retired will become smaller as overall wealth increases for the society, provided the standard of living increases don’t outstrip resources. If society thinks it is okay for the retired to have the same standard of living they had, say, when they entered the job market some half century earlier, there should be no problem (to use a gross over simplification).

  30. Edgar

    “The Great GW swindle” is a poorly produced piece of propoganda that has been criticized by the very scientists appearing in it as being biased.

    Wikipedia gives a balanced account of the details…

    Carl Wunsch, one of the scientists featured in the programme, has said that he was “completely misrepresented” in the film and had been “totally misled” when he agreed to be interviewed.[19][4] He called the film “grossly distorted” and “as close to pure propaganda as anything since World War Two.”[20] Wunsch was reported to have threatened legal action[20] and to have lodged a complaint with Ofcom, the UK broadcast regulator.[21]

  31. MikeP,

    AARP indeed, particularly once the boomers all sign up.

    /;^)

  32. sam-hec said, “My disagreement with solely Carbon Taxes is that there is no incentive for sequestration; especially if these Carbon Taxes just offset other taxes. And I am not saying they shouldn’t either.”

    The Carbon Tax Center proposes that a credit be provided for sequestered carbon. Such a credit is included in the carbon tax bill introduced by Congressmen Stark and McDermott, the Save Our Climate Act of 2007.

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