[FoRK] Why is a carbon tax off the table?

Damien Morton dmorton at bitfurnace.com
Thu Jun 10 10:00:56 PDT 2010

Carbon tax is off the political table because the political class gains very
little power from it, whereas a cap-and-trade system allocates a lot of
decision making power to the political class in deciding who gets what
carbon allocations allocated to them and who has to buy them.

With trading systems, someone decides who gets what rights-to-pollute, which
can subsequently be traded for cash. Thats a lot of political clout.

With a carbon tax, all you get is cash in exchange for screams of pain.

On Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 10:58 PM, Russell Turpin <russell.turpin at gmail.com>wrote:

> After the past two months, it should be pretty clear to everyone that
> oil has large externalities, and not just in mideast foreign policy.
> Coal's environmental impact may not be as obvious, but is also
> serious. So why is a carbon tax still off the political table? The
> idea, of course, is to eliminate all other alternative energy
> subsidies and rebates for energy savings, relying entirely on the
> increment in long-term projected cost of fossil fuels to encourage
> both of those. My back of the envelope calculations are that a carbon
> tax equivalent to $50/bbl of oil would bring the US government over a
> trillion dollars annually, so there are significant government revenue
> implications as well.
> Yes, the cost of natural gas, gasoline, heating oil, and petroleum
> products would all go up, to about what they were when oil prices
> peaked. As well as all services and products that depend on these. The
> idea is that that would be a "long-term promise," to encourage
> alternatives. The price of electricity would go up, initially, moreso
> than when oil prices peaked, because the tax applies to coal as well.
> But the proposed tax isn't on watts, just on fossil fuels. If you
> believe in technology, that is a solvable problem. Better sooner than
> later.
> Yes, the Saudis would yelp like scalded dogs. Yes, some good guys
> would be hurt also. The airlines. But they already survived those
> prices once. The Canadians.
> OB DISCLAIMER: Moving to the gulf coast. Get monthly oil royalty. As
> they say in football: offsetting penalties.
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