Climate Change

Carbon Pricing Is a Possible Alternative to Partisan Bickering Over Climate Change

Taking meaningful steps to reduce carbon emissions requires recognizing that the market is smarter than bureaucrats in Washington.

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In the closing days of a race that's closer than expected, Sen. John Cornyn (R–Texas) has been accused of using manipulated footage to make his Democratic challenger, MJ Hegar, say that she "support[s] a carbon tax."

In fossil fuel-rich Texas, of course, support for a tax on carbon is potentially disqualifying. Hegar's actual position is somewhat unclear: She claims to support a carbon tax but also says she would not want it to hit middle-class families. Still, the last-minute tussle over carbon taxes in the Texas senate race is indicative of a greater problem in our national politics when it comes to fighting climate change: The politics often supersede the policy.

That's certainly been true in this year's presidential race.

Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign website calls climate change "the greatest threat facing our country and our world." He promises to invest $2 trillion dollars into infrastructure, manufacturing, and "environmental justice" to ensure that "communities who have suffered the most from pollution are first to benefit."

Biden also plans to refit thousands of homes, even though the costs for that are significantly higher than the benefits. He pledges to reduce carbon emissions to zero, which Bjorn Lomborg, a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, projects would cost $5 trillion dollars. Overall, Biden's plan would cost thousands of dollars per taxpayer every year, according to Lomborg.

Meanwhile, incumbent President Donald Trump's environmental agenda consists primarily of hoping that climate change goes away. His campaign website describes his second-term agenda as promising to "Continue to Lead the World in Access to the Cleanest Drinking Water and Cleanest Air" and to "Partner with Other Nations to Clean Up our Planet's Oceans"—admirable goals, sure—but does not mention climate change or outline any concrete plan for reducing carbon emissions.

Reducing carbon emissions requires recognizing that the market can do a better job than bureaucrats in Washington—but also that doing nothing isn't a good option. Failing to act on climate change presents significant economic costs as well. According to the Congressional Research Service, even a small increase in global temperatures could lead to a 2 percent annual loss in gross domestic product, with that number increasing alongside the rate of warming.

A new study from the Niskanen Center, a centrist think tank, offers a middle ground that more politicians should be willing to consider: carbon pricing.

Joseph Majkut, director of climate policy, argues in a recently published report that carbon pricing could be an effective policy for curbing emissions while preserving markets. Under Majkut's proposal, the federal government would price carbon at $50 per ton, and return that revenue to taxpayers. This would create a market incentive for corporations to implement clean energy plans. It would discourage investment in fossil fuels, and likely encourage firms to start the process of moving toward clean energy sources. But it wouldn't cost trillions of dollars, nor would it absolutely destroy the American economy. There would be costs, just as with any tax—but not to the degree that Biden's plan would entail.

It would not, Majkut notes, "entirely fix underinvestment in scientific research" nor "eliminate the cost premium and limited selection facing prospective buyers of electric vehicles." But, he argues, it is a valuable first step that would still meaningfully contribute to working against climate change.

Corporate decarbonization can only come from regulatory predictability, and "regulatory predictability and market certainty come from a carbon price, not from continually changing command-and-control measures," Majkut writes. It's a plan that has support from stakeholders in the fossil fuels industry, including energy companies like ExxonMobil and BP, as well as automakers like General Motors and Ford.

The support by the energy sector for carbon pricing has led to some pushing back against it. According to Bloomberg, the projected $40-50 price for carbon may be too low to actually trigger changes in the marketplace. Bloomberg notes that climate activist groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council argue that carbon pricing would effectively price out coal, but would boost the market for natural gas.

Carbon pricing is a plan that relies on letting market mechanisms sort out the costs of pollution that affect the climate. Unfortunately, implementing it would be tough as it would require our politicians to admit they don't have all the answers.

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    1. DITTO that
      Carbon pricing will hurt every level and the poor the most

      1. That’s a great opportunity for democrats to offer to “save” they by subsidizing peoples energy bills. For every terrible government caused problem there’s an even worse government solution.

    2. That pretty much sums it up for me too.

      1. I quit working at shop rite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier So i try use.
        Here’s what I do…….WORK 24

    3. Yeah, go fuck yourself.

      Libertarian for carbon pricing.

      Couldn’t get an internship at the Atlantic, eh?

      1. No chance at the Atlantic for anyone not in an official oppressed group.

    4. Reality is here in the comments today, but Reality is going to smack the shit out of these beltway libs at Reason tomorrow

    5. “Reality
      November.3.2020 at 12:34 pm
      No. Fuck you.”

      Hey, that’s exactly what I came here to say!

    6. Really what the fuck kind of libertarian solution is that?

      1. Very libertarian. We are free to choose: pay the tax or live like it’s 1800!

    7. I quit working at shop rite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier So i try use.
      Here’s what I do…… USA PART TIME JOB.

  1. “Taking meaningful steps to reduce carbon emissions requires recognizing that the market is smarter than bureaucrats in Washington” It also presupposes that Carbon dioxide is the problem. Which is far from proven. New taxes renamed as “carbon pricing” are just one new way of implementing government theft for a liberal cause.

    1. It also presupposes that Carbon dioxide is the problem. Which is far from proven.

      But it’s been said over and over so many times!

      1. What!?! Obama told me it’s “Settled Science!” /sarcasm

  2. Al Gore, is that you? No? Well, is it you, Goldman Sachs?

    How about, “No,” Mr. Rutzick? Doubtlessly, some of the other posters will be far ruder towards your proposal.

    1. LOL, at not seeing Reality’s post first.

  3. In fossil fuel-rich Texas, of course, support for a tax on carbon is potentially disqualifying. Hegar’s actual position is somewhat unclear: She claims to support a carbon tax but also says she would not want it to hit middle-class families. Still, the last-minute tussle over carbon taxes in the Texas senate race is indicative of a greater problem in our national politics when it comes to fighting climate change: The politics often supersede the policy……….Click For Full Detail.

  4. The Leftist Agenda Is A Possible Alternative To Partisan Bickering Over Climate Change

    That doesn’t make any sense to non-leftists.

  5. There’s no basis for any price. If we aren’t afraid of the climate bogeyman, why should we pay anything?

    If they charge $100 per unit based on a specific future prophecy coming true, do they go to prison for fraud when their prophecy doesn’t come true? Why not? How is it not fraud?

    1. Sure. In 100 years they’ll all get life sentences. Duh!!

  6. 1. Carbon taxing would only be useful if (a) carbon were dangerous, and (b) it replaced other taxes. Anyone who believes in (b) is a fool.

    2. Carbon is not a pollutant. It is plant food. The only tipping point is that plants die below 200 pm; CO2 was 2000 ppm, 5 times as high, in the last years of the dinosaurs, it was 280 ppm 150 years ago, and that is dangerously low. Being 410 ppm now is better than it used to be, and more would be better yet.

    1. (a) carbon were dangerous costly

      There are all kinds of uses for carbon polymers and if you could snatch it out of the air for “free” people would do so. The problem is the atmosphere is pretty uniformly mixed at 0.4% carbon while pools of ~75% carbon are relatively easy to come by and vast forests of ~40% carbon polymers not only sequester carbon from the atmosphere on their own but also offer enormous energy dividends as a byproduct.

      1. Even if you were running low on vast pools and forests of carbon, it would be more rational to liberate mineralized carbon rather than expending energy to condense and then sequester it.

  7. Taxing carbon would be vastly superior to taxing things like income and profits. Two problems with that.

    1) No one in the Democratic Party is proposing that we tax carbon instead of income and profits. They want to tax it in addition to income and profits.

    2) If the Democrats win the White House and the Senate, they won’t give a shit about your market solutions. They already have a plan called the Green New Deal, and your market solutions aren’t in it anywhere.

    1. Taxing carbon would tax investment instead of income.

      1. I’m not sure what you mean by that.

        If you’re paying more for electricity because it’s a higher tax coming from coal rather than natural gas (because natural gas burns 40% cleaner), then your utility will be incentivized to invest in a plant that burns a cleaner fuel. They’ll conduct their operations in such a way so as to maximize profit and minimize their tax expense–just like they do now.

        1. I need to consume energy to make stuff.

          Corporate taxation is typically based on taxing profits (and property) with deductions for operating expenses.

          If you tax carbon, then you are taxing the operating expenses instead of taxing the profit.

          You’re dictating the priorities with which I optimize my business expenses. Which necessarily makes my business less efficient.

          1. A lot of businesses use energy. They use labor, too. Chances are you also use labor to make stuff.

            Taxing labor income is far worse than taxing carbon because taxing labor income artificially increases the cost of hiring people and keeping them on the payroll. If the solution to so many of our problems is hiring more people and keeping them employed, we shouldn’t be artificially inflating the cost of labor by taxing people’s incomes.

            Meanwhile, if it behooves you to move to a different form of energy, you can choose to pay no taxes at all. Whatever carbon taxes are associated with geothermal heat pumps, solar panels, hydroelectric, and other forms of energy, they would only be associated with the production of the parts that make the energy. The energy that comes from them would be tax free. People and businesses would migrate to places that have an abundance of carbon free hydro-electric and nuclear energy. You would be free to make all sorts of choices that would let you avoid the tax completely.

            You can’t do that with a tax on labor except by way of automation. Artificially inflating the cost of labor by way of taxes on income and making them uncompetitive against automation isn’t the solution to any of our problems, and it’s a contributing cause to some big ones. Getting rid of that is one of the primary benefits of taxing carbon rather than labor income.

            1. “If the solution to so many of our problems is hiring more people and keeping them employed”

              Self defeating. If we employ more people, they’ll just use more carbon based energy.

              It’s a never ending cycle. It will end when humans are wiped out. Which I’m sure that nature has in store for us in the near future……in natural time, not human time.

              1. “Nature” has nothing in store for humanity at all; humanity has the option of adapting to what cannot be changed or changing what can.
                You seem confused.

      2. Typically, cost of goods sold is not considered “investment”. A carbon tax, in essence is consumption tax.

  8. Good grief- we’ve got the intern lecturing us about how government mandated “markets” are the libertarian way.

    I agree that markets are the solution. If climate change (or any other “problem”) is something people really care about, then they will voluntarily support businesses that take steps to address it. They will, though their purchase decisions, demand carmakers provide more efficient options, or alternative fuels, or electricity, even if it costs more. They will willingly pay more for power from sources that are low- or no- carbon. They will reward the players in the market that respond to their concerns, and punish those who don’t. THAT is how a market handles these things, not some government scheme pulled out of thin air that gets labeled as “free market.”

    If these major changes that the greenies want don’t happen as a result of this, does that mean that the system failed? Of course not- it just means that, believe it or not, people might not really care about this stuff, at least not enough to put their money where their politics are.

    1. I believe the idea is that the tax will increase the price of fossil fuels, which will make the market for alternatives (which are currently economic losers) more viable. I’m not defending the idea, but I’m pretty sure that’s the gist of it.

    2. Think of it this way.

      There are three components to socialism.

      1) Wealth redistribution.

      From each according to their ability (to pay) to each according to their need.

      Replacing the income tax with a sales tax would pull the rug out from under that at its source.

      2) Government ownership of industry.

      When the government confiscates 35% of corporate profits, it has effectively nationalized 35% of industry in a very important way.

      Forcing them to pay a sales tax on carbon would get rid of that aspect of socialism, too.

      3) Prices set by government.

      When the price of government is set in stone with the income tax and the corporate tax, regardless of market conditions, but with a sales tax, people can evaluate whether the tax is worth it with each transaction. It subjects the tax rate to market discipline. In fact, people may be able to avoid paying the tax altogether if it is less expensive for them to avoid using products that are carbon intensive.

      Conclusion: We should replace the income tax and the corporate tax with a sales tax on carbon–regardless of its impact on the environment. The advantage of targeting carbon with a sales tax is that it will garner support from people on the left to get rid of the socialist income tax and socialist corporate tax, people who wouldn’t support it otherwise.

      It may be important to remember that the alternative to a sale tax on carbon isn’t nothing. It’s the alternative to income taxes and corporate taxes. Sales taxes are vastly more libertarian (you can choose not to pay them by not buying carbon intensive products) and capitalist (subjecting taxation to market discipline) than the income tax or the corporate tax.

      If the left isn’t willing to replace the income tax and the corporate tax with a carbon tax, then it should be no deal–not even under consideration.

      1. Fascism allows for private ownership, but the government tells the companies what to do. I think this country is closer to that than to socialism.

        1. Bingo! People should be looking at Italy, not Germany.

        2. The observation I made wasn’t that the USA is socialist. The observation was that the income tax and the corporate tax are socialist–and replacing them with a sales tax if both libertarian and capitalist by comparison.

          To whatever extent the government stops redistributing income by way of an income and corporate taxes, it becomes that much less socialist. If you want more income, find ways to make your work more valuable to other people.

          Don’t pretend that other people owe you their income because they earned it.

        3. sarcastic is about the only person on here who understands the central tenets of fascism.

          For a recent example, see Obamacare.

    3. We already have that in CA. Rich loonies opting to pay more for green credentials.

      The problem is, they force it on all of us.

      Look how that’s worked out. The most populated state in the nation with the largest utility customer base has to endure rolling blackouts in 2020 due to a lack of available electricty.

      Only government does this.

      1. And those who presume “nature” has some mystical power.

  9. Doing nothing means letting the market decide anyway. It also means not giving in to left wingers, not letting the feds tax us more, and not letting the “justice” wankers authority over our lives and fortunes.

    No, fuck the left and democrats.

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  12. Putting an artificially determined cost on essential commodities is market driven…how? And aside from the name, this is different from a carbon tax…how?

  13. A free market can do a fine job handling climate change as is. People who think it is a threat and think they can mitigate that threat are free to invest in solar panels or carbon sequestration or whatever to their hearts’ content. It’s just too bad the market for those technologies is already heavily distorted by government action.

    1. Nah the people that think it’s the biggest threat invest in private flights from place to place

  14. Call me when we figure a way to carbon tax China and India.

  15. Hello….I am a Carbon Tax Expert from the Federal Government…

    Let me assure you that ALL of the revenue from the $50 per ton carbon tax will be returned to the taxpayer….!
    Well….you won’t get back any actual money…. We will invest that money in invested investments….to…invest in the future of future investments…
    That’s a LOT better that us giving you back your own money…. cause….you guys would just…..ah….You know….waste that money on dumb stuff…..
    Thank You…..

    1. You mean like that Social Security Trust fund?

      1. We here in Federal Government like to call it the….
        Social Security….”You Can Trust Us” Fund….

  16. “but also that doing nothing isn’t a good option”

    What is the point of this publication if not to promote “nothing” from the federal government.

    WTF happened to this publication?

    1. What is the point of this publication if not to promote “nothing” from the federal government.

      Seriously. If you think “lack of government involvement” = “doing nothing,” you have no place at a libertarian magazine, nor a “Libertarian” think tank.

        1. You are free to do as much as you care to, to organize with as many people as you care to, without the government having to be involved in any way.

          In contrast, if the sum total of your contribution is expressing the opinion that “government should do something,” you are yourself proposing doing exactly nothing.

          Not demanding that the government “do something” =/= “doing nothing,” while demanding that the government “do something” is actually much more “doing-nothing”-adjacent.

          1. +
            The claim that we haven’t demanded the govt(s) to do something =/= doing nothing.

  17. Democratic challenger, MJ Hegar, say that she “support[s] a carbon tax.”

    In fossil fuel-rich Texas, of course, support for a tax on carbon is potentially disqualifying. Hegar’s actual position is somewhat unclear: She claims to support a carbon tax but also says she would not want it to hit middle-class families.

    I haven’t seen the ‘manipulated footage’… but if this… ‘manipulated footage’ shows her supporting a carbon tax, but then in the next breath, this very article says that she does in fact support a carbon tax, with an added statement about something something working families… then she supports a carbon tax. What’s the manipulation charge about? From where I stand, the added statement does not alter the fact that she supports a carbon tax. Maybe she’s got some magical Democratic way of being able to tax carbon emissions without it hitting the people that… you know, produce carbon emissions… that being every-fucking-body. But who knows.

    1. This article reads like it needed one more round of editing. Or tossed in the wastebasket to begin with.

      LOL at Carbon Markets being the Libertarian solution.

      1. Carbon Market is the Versaille treaty of libertarianism. Once you surrender, it’s the best deal you’re going to get.

        1. And look how that wonderful treaty worked out in less than 40 years.

    2. Usually when a politician says they support a tax, but you won’t have to pay it, we call that a “lie.”

  18. Reducing carbon emissions requires recognizing that the market can do a better job than bureaucrats in Washington—but also that doing nothing isn’t a good option. Failing to act on climate change presents significant economic costs as well. According to the Congressional Research Service, even a small increase in global temperatures could lead to a 2 percent annual loss in gross domestic product, with that number increasing alongside the rate of warming.

    I don’t believe any of this.

    1. Take out everything except:

      “The market can do a better job than bureaucrats in Washington.”

      1. I don’t doubt made up numbers will increase alongside the rate of warming.

        1. I meant literally everything.

  19. She said she supports a carbon tax, but it’s unclear on whether she supports a carbon tax?

    LOL

  20. Carbon pricing requires that clever politicians define the limits.

    So that seems like begging the question.

  21. Ah, yes.

    Libertarians for government manipulation of the market.

    1. I notice the quality of Bailey’s reporting on this stuff has gone down recently, and he hasn’t been engaging with the commenters anymore, which he used to do regularly when people would challenge his stuff.

      Now we’re partnering with Niskanen to push climate taxes when Reason and Niskanen haven’t been simpatico in quite some time.

      I wonder what gives.

    2. Is that anything like “Jews for Jesus” that used to wander around campus when I was in college? Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.

  22. So instead of using actual market forces, we’re instead supposed to use an artificial, government created market because markets do things better than governments?

    I’m not finding the logic in this position.

    1. Nail on the head.

  23. “Taking meaningful steps” first requires getting agreement on the hidden premise – that controlling carbon is a net social good.

    Given that all the evidence from Arhennius forward suggests an Equilibrium Carbon Sensitivity (ECS) at about 1.5 C (in other words, the very low end of the IPCC estimates) and that a doubling of atmospheric carbon from 400 to 800 would require burning more oil, gas and coal than the entire known reserves, given that a 1.5 C change is roughly the equivalent of moving 200 miles south, the premise is very much contested.

    1. Sometimes “doing nothing” really is the best option.

      1. Not if you’re in government. Otherwise, what’re we paying those people for?

        1. Maybe we should just not pay them in the first place.

  24. First few companies to get to low/no/negative carbon energy production and storage that is cost effective wins.

    Investors know this already and invest a lot into it.

    No need to invite government to the party.

    1. No need to invite government to the party.

      Not to spoil your fun, but the only reason why low/no/negative carbon energy production companies will “win” is because of government.

      We already have/had massive amounts of carbon-free power sitting around, but we don’t want it because despite our rational, harmonious, globally-unified march to a carbon-free future, we can’t be trusted not to annihilate all life on Earth with such copious amounts of free energy.

      1. China syndrome. Real science, you know?

  25. About time…this website has had its head in the sand on climate change for years…”it’s a hoax, stolen emails and a conspiracy, guidance from Heartland and Spencer, satellite measurements, all will be resolved by growth in GDP, etc.” And it still goes on today.

    The first step in solving every problem is first recognizing there exists a problem. Look at all the responses here from the scientific illiterate. All seeded by Reason years ago. Let me know when any major figure in the GOP even believes there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

    In 2015 Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse introduced a carbon tax bill that Republicans would not even allow for a vote.

    https://www.whitehouse.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/American%20Opportunity%20Carbon%20Fee%20Act.pdf

    The fact is Warren, Harris, and Yang all ran for the nomination embracing a carbon tax. It wouldn’t take much to get them to convince Biden that it’s worthwhile. The fact is carbon pricing is exactly the kind of middle ground that could gain traction.

    But first things first…see if Gillespie even believes it’s a worthwhile problem needing solving.

    Kudos to true libertarians at Niskanen…they’ve been calling for a carbon tax for years. Reason is years behind.

    1. “the scientific illiterate”

      lol

    2. Kudos to true libertarians at Niskanen

      lol

    3. AGW is NOT a hoax. It’s a failed hypothesis because it is not supported by evidence AND is refuted by evidence.

      1. AGW is NOT a hoax. It’s a failed hypothesis because it is not supported by evidence AND is refuted by evidence.

        ^ This.

    4. Let me know when any major figure in the GOP even believes there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

      Serious problems
      Spending
      Street violence
      Illegal immigration
      Corruption
      Government overreach
      Limited immunity for cops
      War on drugs
      etc

      1. About climate change, the topic at hand.

        1. The UN periodically surveys people about the problems they consider most serious. Climate change regularly ranks dead last among the things that non-politicians worry about.

        2. Not a serious problem.

        3. “About climate change, the topic at hand.”

          Tell us how the magic words ‘fight climate change!’ will make those CA wildfires go away, jackass.
          Oh, and when is the rapture?

  26. If the government is setting an arbitrary price, that is not a market.

    And I’m wondering if the author of this piece is really naive enough to believe that the politicians won’t “adjust” this price.

    1. “Intern”

      Naiveté level checks out.

  27. Article begins by admitting that “the market is smarter than bureaucrats in Washington”. The author then immediately suggests that those bureaucrats get to set prices for energy. Author, heed thy words!

    1. Here’s the thing…you don’t have a true market when it comes to carbon and it’s associated products, like gasoline. Why? Because the first rule in a truly functioning market place is ALL costs must be accounted for….if they aren’t, your price is artificially low and false. And those costs then must be accounted for by someone else (future generations?). The free ride won’t last forever.

      And the costs from carbon, currently and in the future, are real. Rising sea levels, increased destruction from storms, ecosystem and habitat destruction, health issues, and more.

      Now, now…I know one first has to accept the premise of the second paragraph. If you don’t, then forget any solution from the marketplace to a problem you then don’t even believes exists. And it becomes another example of the tragedy of the commons. And all costs will eventually get accounted for, one way or the other.

      True libertarians know the only way to create a market solution to a real problem with ignored costs might only be through a tax.

      But that’s it in a nutshell.

      All the phony libertarians can now scream away!

      Best,
      Jack

      1. “Because the first rule in a truly functioning market place is ALL costs must be accounted for….if they aren’t, your price is artificially low and false. And those costs then must be accounted for by someone else (future generations?). The free ride won’t last forever”

        lol

        1. Being able to provide a laugh to someone is underrated! Thanks, and have a great evening!

          Best,
          Jack

          1. Jackass, have a miserable life!

            Worst,
            Sevo

      2. “And the costs from carbon, currently and in the future, are real.”

        As are the benefits. Tradeoffs exist. Get used to it.

        1. You know that’s just a grade school response, right?

          Let’s put it this way…a farmer grows apples, makes sure he accounts for all the costs for those apples, and then puts a price on them including a margin for profit. If I’m you, I tell him, “hey, wait minute…I get a real health benefit from those apples, you didn’t consider that when you priced them, so you’re gouging me with that price.”

      3. The people who are getting RECORD crop yields across the world can pay. Right? After all, the CO2 is a donation from the rest of us to them that has increased the leaf area of earth by 14% since 1993.

        1. But, those leaves aren’t the government approved ones.

      4. Jack, I wish you had argued about negative externalities, only, and left off before stooping to swat at “phony libertarians” as opposed to you, the “true libertarian” . I’ll address the former and hope you will learn from experience that insults and ad_hominem attacks are fruitless. That said… life is full of uncompensated negative externalities. Your drive to work today took away a space I could have used; when you drove by, you made noise that caused me to miss hearing what my partner said. That wasted a few seconds of my life — I’ll never get that back — AND, if I had missed it entirely, it could have cost me dearly. No, I can’t do a normal lawsuit about these torts, because the transaction costs are too high. But I CAN petition government to tax you and everybody like you… endlessly. The point of this story is that you can’t use externalizes as an excuse to tax; the temptation is strong, but the results make the proverbial “slippery slope” look like an afternoon nap. Some negative externalities can be converted into services for fee; others must be addressed in the future, after we’ve learned more. Until then, they must simply be borne. Giving in to the dark side is a black doom.

  28. The underlying problem here is the word “tax”. The fact is that setting carbon prices with a tax is exactly the approach that should be used, at least initially. But there is so resentment for taxes that we are currently running huge deficits rather that tax at a rate appropriate to services. Before we can price carbon we need to accept that some taxes are needed.

    1. No, government spending should decrease.

      We need a Constitutional amendment to guarantee a balanced budget.

      1. We are well past the point where we could ever control the debt with reductions in government spending alone. Even if we wanted to do that. Remember that the Republicans controlled Congress and the Residency from 2017 to 2019 and spending and the debt increased.

        As for Constitutional amendments, the last one was passed in 1992 over 28 years ago. And that amendment was first proposed in 1789. So if we start today we might have a Balanced Budget Amendment by next century.

        1. You give up too easily.

          If the founding fathers had thought this way, we wouldn’t have a republic today and I’d be understanding everything that is said on the BBC shows we watch without the closed captions on.

        2. “We are well past the point where we could ever control the debt with reductions in government spending alone…”

          You.
          Are.
          Full.
          Of.
          Shit.

  29. This whole fucking scheme assumes that everyone agrees that the USA reducing CO2 output will magically return the Earth to those halcyon days of peace and prosperity when it was what, 1.5 degrees Celsius cooler? The assumption is complete bullshit, so arguing about what is the best way to steal even more money from us is moot. The very first commenter said it in less words. Fuck you.

    1. Yep. The surest way to “cure” CO2 emissions and virtually all other human caused environmental issues is to decrease and limit, the human population on earth.

      But, you’ll never hear any pol or environmental organization support that.

      Why is that?

      General LeMay’s ideas were right then and probably right now.

      1. “…Yep. The surest way to “cure” CO2 emissions and virtually all other human caused environmental issues is to decrease and limit, the human population on earth…”

        Probably a good way to reduce prosperity, too.

  30. Reducing carbon emissions requires recognizing that the market can do a better job than bureaucrats in Washington—but also that doing nothing isn’t a good option.

    You want options? Here’s one- carbon donations. People who are worried about carbon emissions can donate AS MUCH OF THEIR OWN MONEY as they like to assuage their guilt and those who feel less guilty are free to contribute less. Or nothing at all.

    Clearly, this would result in less revenue than a tax that everybody has to pay but certainly, it would generate more than doing nothing.

    So, carbon emission elimination warriors- are you willing to put your money where your mouth is and make a contribution to do something about it or just whine because you can’t force other people to support your insanity pet project?

    I though so.

  31. Another issue that needs to be addressed is the fact that carbon dioxide isn’t just something that can be eliminated. It makes fuels more expensive, but fuel is a non-fungible good that can be only mildly substituted or reduced in the long term.

    If there are not viable options to switch to, it doesn’t matter what the cost of fuel is, and there are not viable options to switch to at this juncture. Wind and solar are better than they used to be, but they are still non-dispatchable, non-storable methods of generation. Hydropower is perfect, but it hit its maximum theoretical limit decades ago. Nuclear would solve the problems, but good luck building a plant.

    This isn’t a video game where you can simply adjust sliders and get the results you want.

    1. Yeah, Buffet and Gates think that “rich” people don’t pay a high enough tax rate. They advocate for a higher rate.

      And yet, they never open their wallets and write a check to the U.S. Treasury. Even though they are free to do so at any time. And, the instructions for doing so are right on the U.S. government website.

      https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/public/gifts-to-government.html

      Instead, they’ve formed not-profit trusts that they plan to leave their wealth to. To avoid giving it to the U.S. government.

      Hypocrisy know they name!

      1. “…Yeah, Buffet and Gates think that “rich” people don’t pay a high enough tax rate. They advocate for a higher rate.
        And yet, they never open their wallets and write a check to the U.S. Treasury. Even though they are free to do so at any time. And, the instructions for doing so are right on the U.S. government website…”

        I don’t know if it’s settled, but for years Buffett’s lawyers were fighting the IRS over whether his use of his fractional jets constituted ‘income’. Further, the hypocritical SOB pays himself $100K annual salary; the rest he takes as capital gains.

  32. “…Hegar’s actual position is somewhat unclear: She claims to support a carbon tax but also says she would not want it to hit middle-class families…”

    I just got the deposit on the north anchorage of the bridge from Rutzick.

  33. Solid piece. Hayek recognized smoke from a factory as an issue where governments need to act. Putting a price on the externality and letting markets work is the best solution to move away from the free and unlimited dumping of waste gasses into our shared atmosphere.

    1. Haha your premise is CO2 is a waste gas and that a market for carbon contrived by the government ties to free market then you assume Hayek would agree with that non-free market measure. Carbon trading schemes become a political tool rife for corruption.

  34. CO2 is necessary for life on Earth and we are at a fraction of what was in the atmosphere millions of years ago…when life was flourishing…in other words..no need for any limits…leave us alone please

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