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News item: Carbon tax seen as best way to slow global warming

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8 comments, last: Oct-12-2008   Add a comment   Contributor:  TheTeam (Oct-10-2008)    Play a Video
Optimism: 3 Categories: Economic/Financial, Pollution

Time to cut greenhouse gases


By Timothy Gardner

Climate taxes, not cap and trade markets alone, will lead to the vast technological changes the world's energy system needs to fight global warming, a top U.S. economist said on Thursday.

Cap and trade has emerged as the dominant attempt to slow global warming. Global deals in permits to emit greenhouse gas emissions have hit nearly $65 billion a year. The European Union, under the Kyoto Protocol, has embraced cap and trade since 2005 and voluntary markets have developed in the United States, the developed world's top carbon polluter.

But a straight carbon tax on energy production – at an oil wellhead or refinery for instance – would be simpler and cheaper than putting a cap on tens of thousands of polluters, Jeffrey Sachs, a special advisor to the U.N. secretary general and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University told a panel on Thursday.

As the world prepares to form a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol by the end of next year, focus is sharpening on how well cap and trade markets are fighting emissions.
Carbon taxes would quickly cut emissions across all sectors of the economy, including vehicles and manufacturing, said Sachs. It could also be more efficient than spreading the trade of permits across the financial system.

"Having a lot of people engineer financial instruments for carbon when there are much more direct ways to do this strikes me as not really a great investment," Sachs said.

See original news item:, Oct-9-2008  
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Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Oct-12-2008)   Web site
As Churchill said, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried". Yes, our democrary is partially and significantly corrupted, but not totally. Of course the Bush people have been attempting to deepen the stranglehold over true government, but they have not succeeded, yet.
Comment by: auntiegrav (auntiegrav) (Oct-12-2008)   

To quote a friend, "You really believe that, don't you. Wow."
The government of the constitution does not exist. All three branches of our government are owned lock, stock and barrel by the propertied few who decide where the money goes, what policies will be enacted, and who our choices will be in the elections, and what we are allowed to see in the MSM.
The violence always goes downhill. The Empire controls the governments, the governments run the police and military, and we pretend to have the freedoms we were taught in school by going to Wal-Mart and buying any crp we want as long as it is cheap and as long as we buy lots of it.
I agree that the government SHOULD be doing those things you mentioned, but that's not what it does anymore, if it ever did. Democrats believe in the Great New Deal Society, believing that FDR's programs brought prosperity and equality.
Equality came from the unions fighting the corporations, and prosperity came from cheap oil and cheap food; with the majority of that 'prosperity' being self-destructive consumerism, egged on by governments since the invention of patent systems and manipulation of trade barriers to the benefit of the corporations.
The Trusts were not defeated by Teddy Roosevelt, they were brought to light by the populism movements and Roosevelt's people worked with the corrupt legislators to create new methods of exploitation and wealth preservation('non'-profit organizations) for the 60 richest families (See Ferdinand Lundberg's book, "America's 60 Families").
Democracy is a religion, not self-government.
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Oct-12-2008)   Web site

OK, I followed you on the consumption/sales tax, and the idea of the prebate, so it sounds fine. I got lost on the last paragraph. For me, government is there to protect us from fraud, from dictatorship of the majority, and from dictatorship of the minority, to carry out national projects, and so on. Not just because we want stuff.
Comment by: auntiegrav (auntiegrav) (Oct-12-2008)   

The FairTax plan gives a prebate each month to everyone for the amount of tax paid for basic necessities. That means that the poor pay no net tax at all, and if frugal, could actually come out ahead.

Yes, a consumption tax is a sales tax, collected anonymously at the point of sale of everything. One rate, no weighting. No weighting would be needed, and the current system of the Fed monkeying around with the interest rates of banks would be unnecessary: a weak economy would be instantly boosted by lowering the tax, a 'too hot' economy would be instantly slowed by raising the tax.
We need government because we want stuff. That's it. It doesn't really matter what kind of stuff, because the more of it we have, the more we want it protected and the more it fills up the landfills.
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Oct-12-2008)   Web site

In theory, before the cr*p can be manufactured, it requires some greenhouse gas output, and therefore a tax is levied. The trick would be to identify all the outputs - perhaps you are skeptical about that?

I think the consumption tax is the same as a sales tax - or if the consumption tax is weighted on wasteful items, then it comes closer to a carbon tax. Sales tax could hurt the poor, so we would need some balance for that end of the economic scale, yes?
Comment by: auntiegrav (auntiegrav) (Oct-12-2008)   

Instead of buying, I'm selling. I have 50 acres of land, most of which stays untilled. I could sell this 'sequestration' through the farmers' union as a carbon credit. I will sell it to you, 'my friend', for ze low price of 20 billion only. Call before midnight tonight.

It's a scam. What we need is a consumption tax. Implementing a carbon tax is too specific and would just be avoided by running cars on hydrogen or something, and we would still have malls and consumption stupidity rampant in society. It's the disregard for the effects of our purchases (ALL of them) which is causing the landfills to overflow and the pastures and wetlands to be paved over. Simple solutions have to be applied universally in order to be effective, or someone comes up with a simple avoidance scheme.
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Oct-10-2008)   Web site

On top of all the other such discussion, tonight I heard George Soros (the progressive billionaire) speaking with Bill Moyers on PBS, and among many other gems spoken by Soros (who I had never seen or heard before except by reputation), among the many gems was his statement that cap-and-trade is a shell game implemented by weakened political leaders in the partial knowledge that polluters will "game" the system, continue to pollute, and further increase their income. He strongly supports a carbon tax. That was the list nail on the coffin of any doubts I may have had. My question is, where can I buy that carbon tax?
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Oct-10-2008)   Web site

By now, I have heard any number of experts explain why a carbon tax is more effective than cap-and-trade. It has been shown that the caps are being traded into obscure portions of the world where compliance with agreements is not being verified. We know what happens in that situation. The carbon tax is enforced locally, where the carbon is generated, and places responsibility in the hands of that country's government, not in an overseas dumping ground for carbon credits.

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