Global Carbon Tax, Yesterday

air pollutionIt is difficult to imagine a scenario in which the Earth's climate is stabilized in an inhabitable condition that does not include a substantial global carbon tax [search] as a major component. From a strictly economic viewpoint, Sir Nicholas Stern – who recently published a British government report on the economic impacts of climate change entitled the Stern Report [search] – states “global warming represents the biggest market failure the world has ever seen. The market hasn't worked because we haven't fixed it… Equity demands that the rich countries, who are largely responsible for this problem, do more about it.” Stern hits it right on the head. If capitalism is to have any future at all, it better get on with the task of assigning a price to carbon dioxide release into the atmosphere. EcoInternet has long advocated a modest carbon tax, to get structures into place to tax carbon and use the revenue for greenhouse gas mitigation strategies such as conserving forests, increasing energy efficiency, and adopting cleaner energy supplies. We need to eventually tax carbon heavily while making sure the structure is progressive and does not hit poor people more heavily. The Earth desperately needs a global carbon tax, yesterday.

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13 Responses

  1. uri gor says:

    India and China are the most responsible for Global Warming, and NOT US.
    RESPONSE: This is simply not true. Currently the U.S and certainly historically, the U.S. is the greatest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions. If trends continue as expected, eventually China and then India may surpass us. The average American emits several times the average developing country citizen.

  2. Jonathan Carroll says:

    “Currently the U.S and certainly historically, the U.S. is the greatest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions. If trends continue as expected, eventually China and then India may surpass us.”
    In volume possibly, but there would still be a-ways to go before their output surpases the USA per capita (per person) output.

  3. Rob Beijer says:

    And why are China and India becomming big emitters? Because the U.S. (and other western country's) are buying the silly products (i.e. “I just bought my third mp3-player”) they produce. You stop buying those products and China/India will stop emitting!

  4. PW says:

    Rob makes an interesting point. Canada is always tagged with the U.S. as being one of the largest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases, but a good portion of those emissions are used to produced goods for the U.S. How much of the oil produced in the tarsands is for Canada and how much is consumed by the U.S.? I would bet a good majority goes to the U.S.
    Then again Canadians buy a lot of crap from around the world as well. I don't know there must be a better way to tally greenhouse emissions. The ultimate consumer should be responsible.
    I guess a carbon tax would do this to some extent.

  5. Mike says:

    How would a carbon tax alter our climate? It is a silly contention, since atmospheric CO2 accounts for only a small fraction (10%)of the overall greenhouse effect, and our contribution to total CO2 is only about 25%. That calculates to a possible 2.5%, but this figure is generous, since CO2 must “compete” with THE PRIMARY greenhouse gas, H2O, in its absorption of the suns radiation(both absorb overlapping portions of lightwaves above .6 micrometers)and CO2, in a sense, only truly effects H2O's leftovers. It is like seeing feathers whirling about in a tornado and assuming the feathers are causing the twister. No, CO2 is simply the wrong target.

  6. ewoc says:

    Mike,
    Thanks for restating something you have doubtless seen elsewhere – your conclusion is most enlightening.
    Obviously, your “research” trumps that of the several thousand scientists who contributed to the IPCC report, due out next week, which links greenhouse gases (other than water vapor) to much or most of the warming experienced in the last 50 years. Perhaps you can tell us what the “right target” is (other than CO2, methane, CFCs and HFCs, and other more potent greenhouse gases, all of which are to a significant or exclusive degree products of human activities on the planet), so that we can rest easy at night while the Greenland ice sheet melts and the increase in annual CO2 emissions more than doubles since 1999. Ooops, I forgot, that is irrelevant, according to your esteemed conclusions. Sorry!
    It would be revealing if those who post to this site tell us where they obtain their information.

  7. Glen Shorts says:

    Mike: You and your Johnnie one note groupies should start your own Policy Group. Maybe you could call yourselves 2offKey

  8. I don't think a Carbon Tax is the answer. Developed nations have the necessary resources to begin changing from fossil fuel use to cleaner (albeit more expensive) forms of energy. The future pressure will come from developing countries. They will use cheap energy sources no matter what the consequences (we did, why can't they). and because their economies are emerging, they will not have the means or desire to pay a Carbon Tax. What is needed is a coordinated world effort to develop alternative energy sources that can be used by all nations. Maybe the nations that caused the problem should help subsidize the energy costs of the emerging ones so they won't be inclined to use highly pollutant forms of energy creation.

  9. John says:

    I don't know about most of these people posting but I have been to Europe and have friends living in (quote) third world contries. North America is the only country that is doing any logical changes to their (quote) emmisions of greenhouse gases. Hey, by the way. The ones that are old enough to emember (and most of the people in this decade that preach this nonsense are not old enough) what happened to the “global freezing” scare that went on in the late 70's to mid 80's.. There is my carbon plated 2 cents…

  10. jack says:

    Global warming is fiction….and the carbon tax is a greedy money grab.

  11. J. says:

    Global warming is fact… and I'm all for a carbon tax!

  12. jo says:

    just something anyone that doubts should read.
    Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis
    http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf

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