Environmentalism

How to Get Rich and Combat Global Warming

Is a carbon tax what we need?

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In his recent speech on climate change, President Barack Obama warned that "someday, our children and our children's children will look at us in the eye and they'll ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more stable world?"

He's probably right. Then they'll say, "Why the heck didn't you pass a carbon tax?" And we won't be able to give them a good reason.

That's because there is no good reason. A carbon tax, done the right way, is the closest thing you can get to a panacea. Refusing to enact it is like throwing out a winning lottery ticket.

By now, most scientists in the field agree that pumping billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is not a healthy practice for the planet or its inhabitants. In 2010, a report from the National Academy of Sciences asserted, "Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for—and in many cases is already affecting—a broad range of human and natural systems."

The World Meteorological Organization reported this week that 2010 was the hottest year on record. It noted that "nearly 94 percent of reporting countries had their warmest decade in 2001-2010"—while no country had a cooler-than-average decade. Polar ice is melting; oceans are rising; plants and animals are heading northward in search of cooler temperatures.

Gen. Philip Sheridan, if he were alive today, would have even more reason for his stated preference: "If I owned hell and Texas, I'd rent out Texas and live in hell." Before long, he might prefer the fiery pit to all sorts of places that once had congenial climes.

Although much of the damage is unavoidable, curbing the release of greenhouse gases would limit the severity of the problem. The United States has reduced its carbon dioxide output. But more is needed—from the rest of the world, as well as from us—to avert the worst scenario.

Obama paid tribute to the idea of making consumers and businesses pay more for fossil fuels in his 2013 State of the Union address, urging Congress "to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago." That option, "cap and trade," would have functioned like a carbon tax. But it has long since become radioactive among Republicans, who resist doing anything about global warming.

Eventually, they may pay a political price for insisting that atmospheric pollution is nothing to fear. Until then, the most pro-growth, free-market option around is off the table.

So the president will act to curb emissions as best he can through heavy-handed regulation and extravagant subsidies of "clean" energy. The trouble with these clumsy remedies, says economist Adele Morris of The Brookings Institution, is that they often impose higher costs than the benefits they yield.

They would not be needed if the government taxed fuels according to their environmental side effects. Raise the price of gasoline and Americans would buy more efficient cars, drive less and take the occasional bus. Make coal more expensive and businesses would switch to fuels that pollute less. These adjustments would occur through the natural operation of markets, a process that favors the cheapest solutions.

Wouldn't a carbon tax impose a heavy burden on individuals and the economy? Actually, we could cut carbon dioxide emissions by half over the next decade and a half with a tax that would not be onerous—the equivalent of 16 cents per gallon of gasoline, rising by 4 percent over inflation each year.

This modest impact could be offset with cuts in other levies to keep the total tax load stable. Corporate and personal income taxes, along with payroll taxes, discourage things we want: investment and work. Cutting them would have a positive effect on the economy. A carbon tax, by contrast, would discourage something we don't want: harmful emissions that linger in the atmosphere for centuries.

This approach, concludes Morris, would "promote economic growth, reduce budget deficits, reduce redundant and inefficient regulation, reduce unnecessary subsidies and reduce the costs associated with climate change."

Our kids and grandkids will thank us if we take action against climate change. But if we do it in a way that leaves them richer instead of poorer, their gratitude will be even greater.

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  1. There is a dude that clearly knwos what time it is. Wow.

    http://www.Privacy-Planet.com

  2. A carbon tax, done the right way, is the closest thing you can get to a panacea.

    A panacea for what? Oh, that’s right, the proven catastrophe waiting to happen known as AGW. You know, if the Soviets had just done Communism the right way…

    So we’re perverting the energy market by fucking with producers and consumers who may or may not have anything to do with something that may or may not be happening.

    1. A panacea for what?

      An intellectually bankrupt political class that is running out of feasible reasons to justify their perpetuation.

      1. A panacea for givi g the government more control. How many carbon credits do you get? I don’t know, how much did you contribute to my campaign last year? You know my son just graduated. Didn’t you tell me you had a VP positiob open? It’s possible that you competitors could see a reduction in their carbon credits next year. This is not about saving the planet. This is about power and money just like all grand government schemes.

    2. You’re just pissed that PedAnonBot firsted you.

      1. Haven’t you figured it out yet? One of us is the other’s sockpuppet.

        1. Why not both? Like a sockpuppet 69, Escheresque in its absurdity and Wartyesque in its perversity.

    3. “may or may not be happening”

      Nobody is going to tell you with certainty what the future will be like. Anyone who claims to be able to do this stands a good chance of being a charlatan. Whether we act or not we are taking a step into the dark. You want reassurance, but the uncertainty will remain unless you can put together a time machine for yourself.

      For myself, I think I’ve understood the fact that the future is an unknown. I am at peace with this issue and and am not desperately seeking “proof.” My issue with the carbon tax is that there are no suitable substitutes for fossil fuels. If the tax were to encourage people to switch to a carbon free alternative, it might make sense, but there are no such alternatives. A kilo of gas contains 13,000 watt hours of energy. The best batteries available today store 300 watt hours per kilo. If the tax successfully caused people to move on to non carbon sources, it would leave a large shortfall.

      That would lead to less consumption and economic disruption, as our current configuration is based on an ideology of ‘ever onward ever upward.’

      1. But the core of this is that your masturbation is killing off the invisible unicorns, so we’re taxing your self-pleasure.

        Lab coats don’t make you infallible, and there is little to no actual evidence that, in the entire span of Earth’s history, the past fifteen years has shown a unique rise in a mythical global temperature, much less that fossil fuels are the cause. A trend of centuries amongst eons might predict something. It’s only through constant popular culture messaging that people fail to challenge the notion in their own heads and instead blindly accept this kind of manipulation. After artificially raising energy costs, tomorrow’s economic climate is much more easily predicted.

        1. Scientists are the new high priest.

          1. “Scientists are the new high priest.”

            They are seen as the final arbitrators of the truth. It’s been that way in the West since the Enlightenment. Science has its weaknesses and blind spots. Of all the phenomena in the world, science is constrained to investigate only that which is observable, measurable and repeatable. There’s a lot that escapes the grasp of science. You might be happier with a crystal ball. Or you could take up poetry.

        2. “Lab coats don’t make you infallible”

          Only the pope is infallible. I never meant to imply that scientists were the same. Even so, the heat trapping qualities of CO2 have never been seriously questioned. Neither has the increasing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere due plausibly in my mind to the billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases that are emitted every year due to our activities. The fact that the earth has growth warmer over the past couple hundred years is pretty solid, too. And your missing the point. The past few eons are not in question. It’s the future. No rear view mirror is going to tell us our future.

          I’m not impressed by your counter argument, that the whole thing is either a fantasy, along the lines of masturbation killing invisible unicorns, or a kind of conspiracy drummed into our heads by ‘popular culture’ and their scientific stooges. To be frank, you sound like a crank.

          “After artificially raising energy costs, tomorrow’s economic climate is much more easily predicted.”

          And why is that? Like the rest of the humanities, economics works from a few simple banalities, comforting, to be sure to those put off by the enormous complexity of the physical world. but the banalities remain banal.

          1. Even so, the heat trapping qualities of CO2 have never been seriously questioned.

            A doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial time, all things being equal, would result in a 1 degree C change in temperature. This is not in question. What is in question is the IPCC’s climate sensitivity estimate of 2 to 4.5 degree C for a doubling of CO2. This is based on a assumed and unproven positive feedback. The assumption is that the small amount of warming due to the increase in CO2 would increase water evaporation which would result in an increase the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. Water vapor is the most significant contributor to the greenhouse effect, not CO2. The problem with this theory is water vapor is what clouds are made of. Low altitude clouds have a negative feedback effect and tend to cool the earth. High altitude clouds tend to have a positive feedback effect. Cloud feedback’s are so poorly understood that we don’t even know if their net effect is positive or negative. Not exactly solid science.

            The fact that the earth has growth warmer over the past couple hundred years is pretty solid, too.

            The fact that there was no significant increase in CO2 until around 1950 leads one to logically conclude that the warming prior to that was natural.

            To be frank, you sound like a crank.

            And you have demonstrated that you have virtually no knowledge of the underlying scientific arguments.

            1. You don’t appear to be disagreeing with me. I made 3 assertions about CO2, warming, and emissions. You are emphasizing a point I made about the complexity of climate.

              You are right about me having virtually no knowledge about underlying scientific arguments. I’m not a scientist and I find reading pretty well anything a scientist writes a total bore. Whatever I know comes second or third hand. Still, unlike others here, I’ve managed to avoid the conclusion that the issue is a conspiracy of the popular culture in collusion with scientists, or that it is some kind of sexual fantasy.

    4. Forget it Jake, it’s Chapmantown.

      1. +1 dam.

      2. +1 = 2!

  3. These adjustments would occur through the natural operation of markets, a process that favors the cheapest solutions.

    I notice the absence of the word “free” before markets. Yeah, this is using the natural operation of markets, just like Obamacare uses the natural operation of markets.

  4. Breathing emits CO2.

    Does this mean we can finally tax the air?

    1. No, just living/breathing. Distinct from an income tax, because it also allows for just plain taking from anyone who defiles Gaia by breathing.

  5. So lemme get this straight.

    y neighbor thinks that my campfire is angering the sky-demons. He kicks up a fuss, and the local warlord, to shut him up, demands I pay the warlord money to ‘compensate’ for the harm I do, where he (the warlord) spends that money as he sees fit?

    That about right?

    This is Heritage Foundation Proposing Insurance Mandate levels of stupid.

    Once you pay the Danegeld, you are never rid of the Dane.

  6. Chapman demonstrates once again that he is an ignoramus, whose only skill is repeating establishment lies.

  7. Chapman forgot the /sarcasm tag at the end of this article.

  8. The smart thing to do would be to enact a carbon tax and spend the proceeds providing free gasoline and heating oil to poor people, so fairness!

  9. Good luck getting China and India to pass a “carbon tax”.

  10. Steve,

    Seriously. Before I cancel my reason subscription, after just subscribing. Explain to me how a carbon tax here won’t just move more production over to China where they pollute more and use more energy to create the same thing?

    I could see some retard statist argument for carbon tariffs even though I’d be totally against it, but a carbon tax will do nothing but shift production over to China and India who pollute FAR FAR worse.

    I’m expecting an answer Chapman.

    1. +1. There are more than enough people who think taxes are something more than protection money. I don’t need to read this crap in Reason.

      1. Yeah. We can read it at Cato

        1. At least the stuff on Cato isn’t as bad as this article. This article is pure trash.

          1. But yes, I would like the Carbon Tax idiots kicked out of both Reason and Cato.

            Who the fuck is pushing this shit? I think Cato does a lot of good stuff, same for Reason of course, but jumping on the AGW bandwagon is pure retardation.

            At least Bailey can write intelligently about it, but this article? Seriously?

            1. While reading it, I was thinking it could have been generated by a script. Then I started to consider how to structure said script, and you could treat the “audience” like you would translations.

              Some words for progressives, change the dialect for provincials. Could generate tons of articles that way. Easy.

              1. Maybe they fucked up and this was supposed to post at HuffPo for the tards.

                1. That would would have a Nick Gillespie byline.

            2. Cato hired that sleazy POS Vaclav Klaus so fuck them in the neck.

              I did a long ass series of comments a while back in the MLs about why Klaus is a scumbag and not at all libertarian in practice.

              1. Cato has their own Weigel now?

  11. Oh, so if we only tax…wait, wait I thought this was a libertarian website.

    1. I thought this was a libertarian website

      Haha! New here?

  12. I know! I know! Let’s use taxes to raise the price of energy, which will raise the price of everything, and when everything costs more we’ll all be richer! Totally makes sense!

    1. Just like winning the lotto!

  13. Why do you fucking bust my balls like this on the 4th of July after I’m already in a bad mood because I feel I have little to celebrate about my country’s future?

    This article is a kick in the nuts. HELLO EDITORS IN CHIEF, SENIOR EDITORS AT REASON, can we PLEASE remove Chapman’s crap from Reason?

    Seriously, if I see one more trash article like this from Chapman I’m not renewing my subscription and I’m going to tell my friends to stop donating to Reason. This is worse than Nick’s horrible fact issues lately as far as removing credibility from Reason.

    1. Plus Gillespie was on the Red Eye the other night and WAS NOT WEARING THE JACKET.

      Something ill is afoot…

      1. The Jacket has shunned Gillespie, clearly.

  14. the following is totally related. The left is pretending that folks are misconstruing what Obama actually said at a town hall in South Africa. Here is a link with the video; the money quote begins at 59 seconds. Decide for yourselves:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/t…..boil-over/

    1. Barry just wants Africans to all drive $100k electric cars. Powered by turbines and solar cells. That cost more energy to produce than they can create.

      So basically Obama is encouraging everyone in the world to become a millionaire and to violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    2. So, think this is the worst advice a westerner has given to Africa since getting them to forgo DDT in favor of mosquito nets?

      Actually, that’s a pretty good analogy. Deny those living in poverty and squalor the cheapest and most effective solution to a problem in favor of a far more expensive second- (or third-) best option.

    3. “Africa, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.” – Barack Obama

    4. For a guy who has been accused of being an anti-colonialist, Barry has no problem keeping the black man down.

  15. You been talking about taxes again, Steve?

    On Independence Day?

  16. “Raise the price of gasoline and Americans would buy more efficient cars, drive less and take the occasional bus”

    it is fucking rising already asshole.

    1. Yeah the bus, turning a 30 minute trip into a 2 hour ordeal since forever.

      1. Fucking this. You want more people to ride buses? Deunionize that shit and run it on a tighter, more geographically efficient schedule. I bussed around my hometown for nearly two years and despised the system. New York seems to have a better handle on it, but I only had a week to try it out.

    2. Funny thing about that. Lower gas tax revenues now have tge government looking at using gps chips to report how many miles you drive so they can tax you on mileage too. So much for fuel efficiency incentives.

      1. This is why I think the gas tax should be the responsibility of the states. The smart states will raise the tax (after the Federal one is removed) and would put the revenue into a roads & bridges only trust fund.

      2. And it totally won’t be used for tracking your movements or anything like that.

    1. I await the administration’s response to this senile Uncle Tom. /sarc

    2. I love that man. It’s unfortunate that the republicans don’t live up to their rhetoric though.

  17. President Barack Obama warned that “someday, our children and our children’s children will look at us in the eye and they’ll ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more stable world?”

    And then, I suppose, they’ll mow us down.

    1. Then I’ll lean down and look into that child’s eyes and spit in his face, because he will be the prosecutor for a revolutionary ‘court’ and it won’t matter what I say – the verdict’s already been decided.

  18. I hope the hippie chick Chapman is trying to impress is a good enough fuck to be worth the embarrassment of this article.

      1. Never mind. Found her.

        1. The best one was “Bitches about chemicals in food…takes acid from strangers”.

  19. Is it because of externalities? It’s always about externalities for liberals. The only piece of economic theory liberals bother with other than Keynes when they aren’t trying to simply argue from feelings.

  20. Our kids and grandkids will thank us if we take action against climate change.

    They’ll thank us for making them poorer? I don’t think so. Isn’t it enough that they’ll already be laughing their asses off at the “oooohhhhh global warming! lolololol” scare?

    1. “Eating meat only on holidays is okay, it’s part of our sacrifice to Saint Obama. See you at church!”

    2. Particularly when the science is settled about the forthcoming ice age.

      1. That’s why they changed it from Global Warming to Climate Change.

  21. No guys, he’s right. All we have to do is tax each other and we’ll be rich! Think about it – if we just had everyone collect some carbon tax from all their neighbors then everyone would be sitting on a pile of money and it would cut emissions, because everyone knows that people just pollute because it’s cheap.

    1. All we have to do is tax each other and we’ll be rich!

      I like your idea, X! It’s much simpler than the government paying people just to watch each other.

    2. That explains Chapman’s upcoming book, Tax and Grow Rich.

    3. And if we keep swapping the tax money between each other we can really goose GDP!

      1. Multipliers!

  22. How to Get Rich and Combat Global Warming?

    Perhaps the Tribune could start by firing Steve Chapman.

  23. So if I give more of my money to government, the kids I refuse to have will be happier. Where do I sign up?

    1. No need. It’s part of the Social Contract.

  24. “This modest impact could be offset with cuts in other levies to keep the total tax load stable.”

    Good one. I was rofl reading that article. Great satire.

  25. We’re saved!

    Two days after the planned memorial service for the 19 firefighters killed while battling the Yarnell Hill wildfire in Arizona, on July 11 the US House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation has scheduled a hearing on how to reduce the risk of wildfires with better forest management.

    I think we can all sleep a little easier tonight, knowing Congress is going to make certain wildfires are a thing of the past.

    1. Excellent. I am eagerly anticipating the proclamation of the War on Wildfires, which will undoubtedly be just as successful as the War on Drugs/Poverty/Terror.

    2. Never let a crisis tragedy go to waste.

      1. Doh!

        Never let a crisis tragedy go to waste.

        1. I think the phrase “crisis tragedy” actually works.

          1. I crisis tragedy is a crisis that goes to waste. A tragedy crisis is a tragedy for which no political response was planned.

    3. I’m not sure why this would be a *national* issue.

      Only down here in the southwest are wildfires a serious hazard and then mainly in CA and AZ (I know they happen elsewhere but not as often or as large). So why not let CA and AZ figure out how to deal with them. Especially since we already have.

      1. So why not let CA and AZ figure out how to deal with them. Especially since we already have.

        Is the plan to smother the fires with the bodies of dead firefighters?

        1. No, the plan is to recognize that it gets hellishly hot and dry throughout the southern half of this state and the only way to *stop* the fires would be to sterilize southern AZ. As such we keep an eye on it, keep a decent sized reserve of firefighters and carry on living.

          Unlike CA though we tend to not build lots of really expensive homes right in the middle of wildfire central.

          1. Sounds way too rational that people would expect the desert to sometimes be dry and prone to wildfires. Sort of like expecting flood plains to sometimes be…flooded.

      2. (I know they happen elsewhere but not as often or as large).

        Err…No. Nevada routinely has 100,000+ acre fires. I remember one year (around 2000 or 2001) 6,000,000 acres burned. Several years they had to convert the local high school sports fields into camps to house all the firefighters they called in.

        Difference is that most of the fires happen away from population centers, so the news doesn’t pick up on it.

    4. Reminds me of a segment on the Weather Channel I saw last night where the reporter made the astonishing revelation that there is a lot of easily ignitable dry grass in a place called Skull Valley, Arizona.

  26. Why don’t we just adopt the leaf as legal tender?

  27. I’ll just leave this here: OFA emails.

    1. Funny, but it’s not so funny when you try to exit the site and it won’t let you.
      Warning.

      1. What did it do? I didn’t want to click on the link after your warning. The URL does look strange, though the domain seems to be legit.

        Here is a straight link to the article.

        1. Was the link from the ipad version, no idea what it would do in a regular browser.

    2. Its so sad – some of the commenters at the very damn article don’t realize its satire.

  28. Progress generally means more energy-intensive production; a carbon tax discourages that needlessly.

    Furthermore, a revenue neutral carbon tax is politically impossible; the carbon tax would be in addition to all the other taxes.

    Finally, a carbon tax is too easy to manipulate: corporations would enrich themselves by outsourcing carbon intensive productions elsewhere and claiming low emission status in the US.

    Carbon taxes are a lousy idea even if there were a problem that actually needed addressing.

  29. Color me skeptical about AGW, or at least the ostensibly catastrophic effects of climate change. I maintain it’s a good problem to have in light of the alternative: no industry and rampant poverty.

    However, oceanic acidification does seem like something of a problem, and I rarely see it addressed.

  30. They would not be needed if the government taxed fuels according to their environmental side effects. Raise the price of gasoline and Americans would buy more efficient cars, drive less and take the occasional bus. Make coal more expensive and businesses would switch to fuels that pollute less. These adjustments would occur through the natural operation of markets, a process that favors the cheapest solutions.

    Yup, everything has a technocratic government solution. Spoken like a true libertarian Chapman.

  31. Whenever Chapman writes a couple of articles that aren’t complete garbage, you always get the feeling that he’s about to produce a real turd. And here it is.

    1. Whenever Chapman writes a couple of articles that aren’t complete garbage

      I have never seen this happen.

      1. I’m being generous here. Chapman standards aren’t the same as everyone else’s

  32. Chapman and his ilk can FOAD, I have no intention of living on a perpetual energy diet.

  33. This post gets the Most Thoroughly Eviscerated By Commenters Award.

  34. Jeeze, funny, no sarcastic comments about us hillbilly, Lew Rockwell reading cretins and our idiotic obsession with “cosmotarians”.

    1. It’s Independence day; the Cosmotarians are out drinking cocktails and stuff.

  35. Our kids and grandkids will thank us if we take action against climate change

    Kids are terrible people. I should know, I was one, act like one, and have one. The absolute worse ones are those who are both squeely and eager to please. The kind that they get to pose with Michelle Obama and lie their asses off about how much they love broccoli over donuts. Fucking bottom feeders, and that is exactly the type that Chapman is asking us to judge the value of the latest taxing scheme.

    1. The absolute worset ones are those who are both squeely and eager to please.

      1. Worst

    2. Our kids like broccoli, because we tell them they’re eating “tiny trees”. They think it’s cool.

      1. I should mention that they still prefer doughnuts.

      2. Nice:)

  36. “Our kids and grandkids will thank us if we take action against climate change. But if we do it in a way that leaves them richer instead of poorer, their gratitude will be even greater.”

    Hahah

    1. ‘Climate change’ is not enough – you can’t fight climate change. What you can fight is *man-caused* climate change. Yet there’s no evidence that mankind’s actions are having a significant impact on the climate. As such nothing we do to curb carbon emmissions will stop climate change.

    2. With 1. as a given, our kids and grandkids will *not* be thanking us for leaving them just flat-out poorer in a world where the climate *is* changing. Now they’re just not rich enough to deal with the changes that are happening because we’ve jammed a wrench into the gears of the economy for no reason.

    3. Even if human action is a significant factor in whatever climate change is actually going on, it is NOT GIVEN THAT REDUCED ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN THE SHORT TERM IS THE BEST SOLUTION. Its entirely possible that its better to keep churning out widgets so that our rich children and grandchildren will be in a better position to deal with climate change.

    *Is* climate change happening is a climate science question.

    *What* to do about climate change is an *economic* question, something I would expect writers for a libertarian magazine/thinktank to understand.

    1. “What you can fight is *man-caused* climate change”

      and even that is debatable, short of arresting people for littering or driving their car too much. Do we really want to do that? Sure, some do. But it would take a real fascist state to implement it because so many would resist.

      1. I’m an asshole. I drive down the freeway throwing old McDonalds styrofoam containers out the window while eating my Big Mac in my 69 caddy.

        1. Does it have whaleskin hubcaps and all leather cow interior?

  37. Our kids and grandkids will thank us if we take action against [sic] climate change.

    They will certainly appreciate the entertainment…

    “Do you remember back when granpa thought people could actually take action against climate change?”

    “No, stop! You’re killing me! Ha ha ha!”

    1. “Yeah dude, they totally thought that co2 (.04% of atmosphere) could be altered enough by humans to change Earth into Venus, and thought co2 somehow was bad for plants.”

  38. I don’t thank old people for their eugenicist plans to eliminate minorites, you know, even though they probably thought at the time that I might.

    1. Yeah, it’s always fun to remind AGW assholes about their 2nd grade science lessons.

      Then again, I guess in govt education camps they don’t get to basic shit like photosynthesis until 8th grade or something?

    2. indeed, recent satellite observation has shown the the Earth is gaining vegetation in ways that apparently can’t be explained otherwise.

      1. Holy cow, it’s almost like the earth goddess is fighting her own fever.

        1. Homeostasis, how does it work?

  39. I have a plan for reducing carbon emissions:
    Reduce the federal government to 1/10 it’s current size and cost and commuters will only have to drive to work 3-4 days a week to pay for it.

  40. I thought for

  41. You’d think Reason would’ve fired Chapman’s dumb ass by now, but no. I can only assume they keep him around for us to laugh at like that retarded kid that rides the short bus.

    1. To be fair he doesn’t work for Reason, they just run his Chicago Tribune articles. Why, I don’t know. Maybe the licensing is cheap.

  42. I thought I was on Salon for a second. Chapman makes the classic mistake, not thinking big enough. In Libertopia technology would advance so rapidly the need for worry is zero. Hell, the technology to run the world with no CO2 emission was invented 50 years ago, the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. For a few billion in developmental costs the whole planet could be done with the energy issue.

    http://energyfromthorium.com/

  43. The argument opposing a carbon tax because “it’s impossible to quantify the costs of carbon emissions” is idiotic. When companies dump toxic waste onto your land, can the damage be exactly quantified? No. Does that mean the polluter is still not responsible? I argue that, if we have to tax, a carbon tax is the right move to make because Carbon emissions are harmful. Much more harmful than the other things we tax.(Tax nothing! is unrealistic. We need police, the army, courts, ect.) In addition, I think we should raise the tariff on middle eastern oil, in order to accomplish the goal of being independent of that hellhole region.

    1. We should tax your comments for polluting this web site.

      1. C’mon guys – at least he didn’t end with a comment saying non-whites are statistically inferior to whites – baby steps, baby steps.

        And he’s wrong about middle eastern oil. Oil is fungible, we can add tarrifs to what’s coming out of the ME till the cows come home, won’t make a difference. Instead of us buying from the ME we buy from someone else and someone else buys from the ME and the status quo is retained.

        And it *is* possible to quantify the damage done by ‘climate change’ and tax it appropriately (Pigou tax). In theory. Of course, in reality, we don’t know how much of what little climate change is happening is man-caused and so the appropriate Pigou tax is hard to figure, but its estimated to be somewhere in the fuck-all range. Something ridiculously low like $20 a ton which means that pretty much none of the current generation of carbon reduction technologies are worth implementing.

        1. The most basic mistake is thinking that CO2 is a pollutant. It is not.

    2. Troll in the open! Fire for effect!

    3. Companies aren’t “taxed” for dumping toxic waste, they are penalized. Those penalties are supposed to exceed the damage many times. They are not meant to be a means of efficient allocation of “toxic waste dumping”, they are intended to stop all toxic waste dumping quickly and immediately. If you want to propose “carbon penalties”, then don’t deceive people by calling them a “carbon tax”.

  44. A Modest Carbon Proposal?

  45. This argument takes it for granted that global warming on the scale suggested by current science will have large net negative external effects. While many people claim that, I have not yet seen any serious argument to defend the claim. The current climate was not designed for our convenience nor are we designed for it, earth’s climate having varied substantially over the period in which humans evolved, so there is no presumption that current conditions are better for us than a climate a few degrees warmer or colder.

    In this case as in many others where there are large and uncertain effects both good and bad, it’s easy for someone who wants to claim net negative effects to offer generous estimates of the negative effects, offer conservative estimates of the positive while omitting some of them, and so claim objective support for the belief he started with. We saw that pattern fifty years ago with claims about population problems which turned out striking inconsistent with what actually happened thereafter. Like the claims about the effects of global warming, those too purported to be supported by all the scientific evidence.

    (To be continued–there is a limit on post length)

  46. To continue …

    There are reasons to suspect that the net effects may well be positive. Human habitability is limited by cold, not heat?the equator is populated, the poles are not. Global warming on the scale suggested by the IPCC will push temperature contours towards the poles by several hundred miles, increasing the amount of usable land in the northern hemisphere by something like a hundred times the loss of land due to the level of sea level rise suggested by the IPCC.

    The warmer it is, the more water vapor, on average, in the air. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas; the more of it in the air the less the effect of adding another greenhouse gas. Hence warming will tend to be less than average in warm times and places than in cold. On average, raising the temperature is a bad thing when it is hot, a good thing when it is cold; pattern of is biased in our favor.

    The one argument for expecting climate change to have predictable negative effects is that we are currently optimized against the current environment. That would be a strong argument against rapid change. But while global temperatures are rising by a few tenths of a degree per decade, farmers will be shifting from one crop to another, builders constructing new buildings and demolishing old, people changing how they do things in response to other changes in a wide variety of other ways.

  47. My conclusion is that if global warming could be confidently predicted to have large net negative externalities and if we could trust our government to implement a carbon tax in the form good economists would advise rather than combining it with a variety of regulations and special interest benefits?what actually happened with the cap and trade bill that passed one house of Congress–there would be good arguments for a carbon tax. So far as I can tell, neither of those conditions corresponds to reality.

    1. I highly doubt that the effect of global warming would be positive. And even if it were, that wouldn’t mean that a carbon tax would not still be justified. There would still be damages to certain people and their property, flooding, desertification, ect, even if that is offset by positive affects on others. There is also the problems of natural habitat degradation and ocean acidification.

      You have a point, though, that the cap and trade system that Obama advocates certainly is flawed.

      1. “There would still be damages to certain people and their property, flooding, desertification, ect, even if that is offset by positive affects on others. There is also the problems of natural habitat degradation and ocean acidification.”

        And so you’ll be happy to have the government redistribute the wealth to make up for climatic change?
        I repeat: Go to hell.

      2. Ocean ‘acidification’ I do not think that word means what you think it means.

      3. It would take many decades for global warming to have those effects, more than enough time for you to move. Nor are those effects anything new, sea level rise has been measured for more than a century. If you are worried, sell your property and move. I shouldn’t have to pay for your imprudent choice of beach-front property.

    2. Market Anarchism, in addition to being essentially impossible due to human nature(just like anrcho-communism is), is an inherent miscarriage of justice because it makes individual rights subject to market forces. A true individualist recognizes people’s rights as inalienable. Those who expect people to share equally in justice in an AnCap society are like those who expect people to share equally in material goods in a communist society.

      1. “Market Anarchism,”
        Go to hell.

      2. “A true individualist recognizes people’s rights as inalienable.”

        This is hilarious coming from American

        1. Only if you come from a collectivist system.

    3. David Friedman| 7.4.13 @ 5:45PM |#
      “My conclusion is that if global warming could be confidently predicted to have large net negative externalities…”

      This is the strongest argument against the C-tax; we have no idea whether the changing climate is a net positive or a net negative, and yet we presume to reward or punish certain activities.
      Your further comment on trusting the gov’t is icing on the cake.

  48. A carbon tax done the right way, says Steve Chapman, is the closest thing you can get to a panacea. Refusing to enact it is like throwing out a winning lottery ticket.

    Let’s rephrase for clarity:

    “Having the largest criminal gang steal from you in “the right way”, says Steve Chapman, is the closest thing you can get to a panacea. Refusing to praise this theft and say it is in your best interests is “like throwing out a winning lottery ticket.” ”

    Aaand that is where I stopped reading this FN article.

  49. Those of you regularly made fun of us “yokels” for pointing out the cocktail chugging, cosmotarian staff that makes up Reason…..suck this article.

    1. In fairness, I don’t have any problem with yokeltarians except when they have to babble about how terrible those of us who live in New York City are.

      1. I Love NY! But I wouldn’t want to have to score a pack of cigs and a Big Gulp there. That’s gotta cost more than 2 or 3 days of heroin for someone w/o a tolerance.

    2. I don’t think anyone here has ever defended Chapman, who isn’t even a Reason staff member

      1. Yeah his articles (rightfully) get a decent amount of hate.

      2. Chapman is parroting Cato.

        The Kochtopus shilling for a carbon tax is going to be less productive than their campaign for E-verify and the Border Surge.

        1. WTF are you talking about? The Cato institute calls a carbon tax useless.

          http://www.cato.org/blog/carbon-tax-follies

  50. Give the elite class money or the earth will
    Melt. Oh and by the way you too can get rich off this scam.

    I thought reason was a libertarian magazine?

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