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.