American Carbon Tax an Environmental, Security and Economic Necessity

Even as the Amazon simmers through an unprecedented drought, and the Arctic ecosystem disintegrates, America as the largest consumer of energy and cause of climate change continues to dawdle. Simply climate change, energy prices, terrorism, childhood asthma and many other entwined problems are rooted in unsustainable, wasteful use of fossil fuels. The current energy paradigm is clearly going to change, either through wise policy implementation like taxing oil to fund alternative renewable energy and promote efficiency and conservation, or through the current energy regime disintegrating as any number of weaknesses become critical.
America's failure to develop a rationale energy policy that acknowledges constraints and opportunities is a much a failure of the political system as anything, as people who have compromised themselves so badly to achieve power are unable to do what must be done to protect the environment, economy and security of a nation. Both major political parties in the United States continue to pander to the public's outrage that they have to pay costs approximating the worth of and damage caused by oil. There is a dearth of leadership – the type that forms public opinion, not reflects the worst in human nature.


EcoInternet's ClimateArk site has proposed a modest and workable carbon tax on energy at < http://www.climateark.org/lincoln_plan/ >. The New York Times has come out supporting a similar plan, stating “[t]he government must capitalize on the end of the era of perpetually cheap gas, and it must do so in a way that makes America less vulnerable to all manner of threats – terrorist, environmental and economic. The best solution is to increase the federal gasoline tax, in order to keep the price of gas near its post-Katrina highs of $3-plus a gallon… Cheap gas is no longer compatible with a secure nation, a healthy environment or a healthy economy – if ever it was. The real question is whether we should continue paying the extra dollar or two per gallon in the form of profits to the Saudis and other producers, or in the form of taxes to the United States Treasury, where the money could be used to build true energy independence.”
They and others advocating for increased oil taxes are onto something – a carbon tax is one of several absolutely necessary foundations for an ecologically sustainable future. Without taxing our current highly destructive oil economy, it is difficult to envision a conflict free, smooth energy transition to renewable energy and conservation.

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3 Responses

  1. Ian Whyte says:

    Hi:
    I'm a bit surprised at the low figure in the so called Lincoln plan. 1 cent a gallon is nothing. Us gas is already cheaper than Canadian or European gas by quite a bit. Why not propose something much more robust; several dollars a gallon would make considerable sense.
    Considering the hard line taken on ancient forest wood – take or buy NONE – this plan for a carbon tax is remarkably timid.

  2. Peter says:

    The cuurent mindset of the US President, and most of the republican party is very conservative and resistent to change. As long as the USA is lead by such right wing elements-there will be no progress on climate change, and its related problems.

  3. John McBain says:

    A carbon tax by itself is just another revenue raising device that will alienate the public.
    Men of the Trees in Australia have established since 2002 the Carbon Neutral Vehicle Scheme (do a google search)that raises $$$ and plants the trees necessary to couinter each vehicles emissions.
    The great advances in waste management have come from looking at waste as a resource rather than a problem.
    We must do the same thing with CO2.
    CO2 (as any school student should be able to tell you) is tree food. Trees convert CO2 to wood and oxygen. Humans need both.
    The answer for USA and the rest of the globe is to replant native forests on a huge scale.
    Surely the so called world leader can allocate the same resources to repairing our habitat that it has to developing fossil fuels, global econo-political domination and space travel.

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