Carbon Tax Key to Habitable Earth and Capitalism’s Future
British Columbia, Canada has implemented North America's first consumer-based carbon tax [ark | moreark]. Fossil fuels are to be taxed to raise US$1.75 billion over three years. The initial tax rate is $10 per ton of carbon emissions, rising to $30 by 2012, an extra U.S. nine cents per U.S. gallon of gasoline rising to 27 cents.
If serious about maintaining both a habitable Earth and an operable atmosphere, while maintaining a market based economic system, there is no choice but to urgently embrace a similar global carbon tax [search] immediately. Such a tax as proposed in EcoInternet's Lincoln Plan can and must be offset with reductions in other taxes [ark], and can be tightened as required to bring about necessary reductions in energy use.
The carbon cap and trade system is failing [search]. It is clear that carbon markets are primarily about making money and secondarily about reducing emissions, and certainly are not on track to deliver necessary massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions any time soon. The system is being used by rich country's to put off having to introduce major energy price increases, and to offload the expense of reducing emissions upon the poor. And all forms of nutty behavior from clearing natural habitats for biofuels to actually logging primary forests are heralded as worthy of carbon credits when in fact they are the root of the problem.
Capitalism's consistent over-use of natural capital can only be addressed if all associated costs — such as overwhelming the atmosphere's capacity to absorbe waste — are reflected in prices. Capitalism will fall due to ecological collapse and resultant social upheaval unless major efforts are made to globally assess a price on carbon, and assess this price in taxes, in all haste.