Carbon Tax Talk “A real concern” to Deniers

November 21, 2012

Right wing news site News Now:

A prominent climate-change skeptic remains “very concerned” about the possibility of the U.S. having a carbon tax.

Marc Morano of Climate Depot says this is a serious problem.

“I’m very concerned right now, because there [were] a lot of advisors that were to Mitt Romney — people like Arthur Laffer, people like George Shultz — and other … liberal Republicans who have been touting the idea of a carbon tax,” Morano reports. “On top of that, Speaker [John] Boehner came out and said that they were going to be looking at — quote — ‘revenue neutral’ — unquote — ideas for tax reform.”

The Climate Depot correspondent also notes publications like The Washington Post and The New York Times are pushing for a carbon tax in the wake of President Obama’s re-election. Former vice president and global warming alarmist Al Gore has made similar calls.

Last week, during his first White House press conference in eight months, President Obama said that he wanted to have a “national conversation” about climate change. Morano finds that disturbing.

“We are facing the prospect of a carbon tax being on the table in any talk of tax reform, fiscal cliff negotiations,” Morano warns. “The GOP House is very unlikely to allow this any time soon, but the problem is when you have Republican leadership, which looks to be very weak at the moment, standing up to President Obama, anything’s possible.”

New Jersey.com

Something is terribly wrong with our climate, and it’s past time to face that reality.

Sandy was not an isolated event. We have seen many more freak storms, wildfires, landslides and droughts. Nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000. All this is exactly what climate scientists warned us about.

Yet somehow, this issue got caught up in an ideological debate about the size and role of government when it should have focused on the science. The lives lost and billions of dollars in damage is the price we pay for that.

Barton Hinkle in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

But why institute a carbon tax, if not to raise revenue? In brief: Because it would reduce harm in the future and compensate for harm in the past.

You don’t have to take anything Al Gore says as gospel to recognize that today’s climate-change skeptics resemble the anti-anti-communists of decades past, who displayed what Alexander Solzhenitsyn correctly described as “a desire not to know.” American leftists infatuated with the fantasy of egalitarian utopia did not want to believe those on the right who exposed the savage reality of Communist totalitarianism. Climate-change skeptics today do not want to believe climate-change alarmists, who propose big-government solutions. So the doubters refuse to concede the problem.

But intellectually honest skeptics cannot ignore facts they do not like. Hence more and more former deniers are concluding as physicist Richard Muller has: “Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming,” he wrote in The New York Times this summer. “Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.” Tellingly, climate-change conversions all seem to go in one direction. If evidence were mounting that global warming is fake, then some believers would become debunkers.

Bloomberg:

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) joined Unilever NV (UNA) and more than 100 companies calling for lawmakers worldwide to put a “clear” price on carbon emissions in order to contain global warming.

Companies invest trillions of dollars in energy and infrastructure projects, and, in most cases, don’t consider goals to cut greenhouse gases, the companies said today in a statement that’s due to be presented to European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard in Brussels.

“A clear, stable, ambitious and cost-effective policy framework is essential to underpin the investment needed to deliver substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions by mid- century,” the companies said in the e-mailed statement. “Putting a clear, transparent and unambiguous price on carbon emissions must be a core policy objective.”

The clarity is needed to channel spending into projects that reduce emissions and help the world meet the United Nations goal of containing global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the note. Climate envoys from more than 190 nations are due to gather next week in Doha for two weeks of UN negotiations on the issue.

 

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22 Responses to “Carbon Tax Talk “A real concern” to Deniers”

  1. mrsircharles Says:

    When an oil company is signing a letter calling for a price on carbon then there is definitely something wrong with the politics.

  2. rayduray Says:

    I believe talk about cap-and-trade is misguided. It is a system designed by swindlers on Wall Street for their own benefit.

    A much better proposal has been articulated by James Hansen. Here’s a Yale Global Online essay on how Cap-And-Dividend might work:

    http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/innovations/data/000128

  3. MorinMoss Says:

    The oil giants are great at making money and are not known for giving it away without getting something in return.

    If one of the biggest of the big boys is signing on, that probably means they’ve found a way to profit from it, likely to the detriment of Average Joe.

    • andrewfez Says:

      They want to finish off the coal industry, which competes against their natural gas. Once that’s complete, then they’ll go back to being against regulations.

      • rayduray Says:

        andrew,

        This seems to be a Through-the-Looking-Glass version of reality. Most of the new natural gas development in the U.S. is being done by independents like Chesapeake and Apache. The oil majors got into the game way late. Exxon has bought up some fracking gas properties, but mostly they’ll stick to fracking prospects that contain a paying oil component. Nat gas is a losing proposition today.

        The fact of the matter is that in spite of the historically high cost of a barrel of crude oil today, most of the energy sector is in some degree of profit crisis.

        Coal is clearly suffering a lack of demand from the utes and that’s why they are promoting West Coast export facilities so they can expand their market to Asia.

        Natural gas is in a world of hurt because their development and production costs in the fracking fields exceed today’s market price.

        Ditto for all the alternative syncrude types who are barely making any money due to the glut of oil in the middle of North America.

        No one is getting rich, except those with legacy resources or the ability to capture prizes like the light sweet crude of Iraq and Libya with lifting costs of under $3 per barrel for the best crude on the planet.

        • andrewfez Says:

          Thanks Ray –

          Yeah, there was an article on here months ago, about how gas fracking was developing or in a credit bubble because cost of operations were greater than revenue. I guess they were/are taking advantage of the low interest rate environment, rigged by the Fed, to borrow money to fill the difference, (possibly hoping that demand would rise as coal is shunned, or for some other reason I’m not aware of: mania (investor herding), projected growth, etc…).

          Is that what you’re seeing in your internet investigations?

          That’s pretty sad, considering those smaller companies aren’t even taxed on the first 15% of their gross revenue, and everything else, regardless of the company’s size (cost of rig, cost of people to run rig, cost of ‘renting’ land (mineral rights royalties) can be deducted on their taxes.

          Imagine if a bill was proposed that wind energy wouldn’t be taxed on its first 15% or gross revenue. Everybody would be screaming ‘communism’ or some such thing.

          http://www.investopedia.com/articles/07/oil-tax-break.asp#axzz2CzPMntTC

          Oil: A Big Investment With Big Tax Breaks

          “The U.S. government has done much to ease the tax burden for those trying to save for retirement. Several major pieces of legislation are geared toward creating tax incentives for workers to just start saving for retirement. Even the capital gains tax rules have been overhauled, allowing for cheaper disposal of appreciated assets.

          But when it comes to tax-advantaged investments for wealthy or sophisticated investors, one investment class continues to stand alone above all others: oil. With the backing of the U.S. government, domestic energy production has created a litany of tax incentives for both investors and small producers. (For background reading, check out A Guide To Investing In Oil Markets.)

          There are several major tax benefits available for oil and gas investors that are found nowhere else in the tax code. Read on as we cover the benefits of these investments, and how you can use them to fire up your portfolio….”

          • rayduray Says:

            Richard Heinberg, among others, has written about the financing of the natural gas fracking industry. In large part, there was a rush of speculators into the common stock of the various junior players in this sector and if Heinberg is correct, these speculators will be losing their investments as the weak pricing for natural gas means the drilling companies will not be profitable for the foreseeable future.

            Oil & Gas Magazine notes that the number of rigs devoted to natural gas only prospects is dwindling, with the drilling equipment being moved to regions where the drillers can hope to bring up crude oil in the pay mix along with associated gas. This is still a profitable part of the market.

  4. Bruce Miller Says:

    Poor deluded ass-holes full blinkers on, headed straight for the furnaces. Sheeple for sure! Carbon tax will absolutely insure China’s surpremacy economically industreally, manufacturing-wise, socially and politically, as they prepare to mass produce small, cheap, safe, Thorium LFTR styled reactors for their own use, and to expand Empire to the Pan Eurasian Alliances’ boundaries, including an energy deprived Japan, a nuclear waste strewn Russia and even Siberia where energy to exploit natural resources greater than this world has ever known lie deep in the ground.
    Thorium Facts
    (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UT2yYs5YJs)
    (See: http://www.investmentu.com/2011/September/thorium-the-future-of-nuclear-power.html)
    Where U.S.A. went wrong:
    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4971

  5. astrostevo Says:

    We’ve had a carbon tax in Australia for about a year or so now. The government was heavily criticised for introducing it after Prime Minister Julia Gillard pledging not to in the last election which resulted in a hung parliament. The opposition ran a furious over-hyped scare campaign against it – and that has now well and truly fizzled out and made the nay-sayers look silly as the carbon tax / price turned out not to be the world-ending disaster that Tony Abbott, our Tea party-lite style opposition leader, shrieked for months on end that it would be.

    Carbon tax here is now a non-issue pretty much, we’ve got one, the polluters are paying and everyone is fine.

    I do agree though that Hansen’s fee’n’dividend mentioned in his book and by rayduray above here is probably a better idea.

    A carbon tax is a good start perhaps and better than nothing but we still need to be doing a lot more both globally and here in Oz.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      My worry are half-baked schemes that can be rigged; if that happens anyway, the deniers will use that to shout down ones that would work.

      Delay works in their favor, although they have as much to lose as anyone.

    • rayduray Says:

      Hi astrostevo,

      Re: ” Carbon tax here is now a non-issue pretty much, we’ve got one, the polluters are paying and everyone is fine.”

      I’ve been curious about this. Say you are Gina Rinehart (Oz’s richest woman and a coal exporter) and most of the coal you dig up is immediately exported to China. In that instance, is Rinehart considered a “polluter” and made to pay the tax?

    • rayduray Says:

      Hold on a minute. Have you Oz-ites decided to walk away from the rest of the troglodyte English speaking world?

      A bit less than a fortnight ago I got introduced to “Rake”, an ABC production, and realized that state broadcasting is not quite the same in your southern latitude as it is in in the lassitudes of the North.

      Now I’m noticing a bit of renewed cheekiness from Clarke & Dawe. Is it spring in your region? Is that what’s putting a bit of bounce in your bonnets and flounce in your flanders?


    • Amazing – Australia is one huge, scorched, desolate potential photo collector, yet you all still burn gasoline. Germany would kill for your sunlight index.

      • MorinMoss Says:

        After all these years, I’m still astonished that the US Southwest isn’t covered with solar of all kinds.
        If they had picked up the gauntlet that President Carter had thrown down 30-odd years ago, solar would likely be the pre-eminent non-nuclear low-carbon energy source.

        Only California did anything of real significance, building the 9-facility SEGS complex in the Mojave desert from 1984-1990 which is still in operation – a 354 MW nameplate complex with a 21% capacity factor.

        Info at Wikipedia (link below) says that, over an operating lifetime of 20 yrs, the total cost of one of the 30 MW units incl construction, maintenance and depreciation would be 14 cents per kilowatt-hour but I don’t get why the expected operating lifetime would be a mere 20 years when the oldest units have already been in service for almost 30 yrs.

        It’s all just mirrors, piping, oil and boilers – unless the Mojave becomes a rainforest, I don’t see why it can’t operate for 1000 years.

        • rayduray Says:

          Morin,

          The stumbling block for most of the desert power developments in the U.S. Southwest is the inconvenience of not having major transmission lines available. No one wants to build them because no one can figure out how to profit from putting up the grid elements. Basically in the U.S. we’ve backed ourselves into a corner where the grasping energy marketers can make money on power generation, but not make anything worthwhile on transmission and distribution. So these elements of the U.S electrical system are being allowed to deteriorate to third world standards.

          It’s a pity we no longer have adult supervision in America.

          • MorinMoss Says:

            How is that possible!?!?!
            The grid builders can’t install meters at the connection point to a generation facility and charge some fraction of a penny per kilowatt?

          • rayduray Says:

            Re: “How is that possible!?!?!
            The grid builders can’t install meters at the connection point to a generation facility and charge some fraction of a penny per kilowatt?”

            There’s an arcane combination of facts at work. In the case of the Mohave Desert to the east of L.A. and San Diego, several competing interests have managed to stall the development of high tension transmission lines.

            1) The NIMBY and BANANA crowd are always at work. You probably know of NIMBY, but the other is “Build Abosolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody”.

            2) Then the enviro crowd kicks in and says that protecting endangered desert species has to take precedence over development.

            3) Wall Street plays a role in that in the U.S. the so-called “transmission & distribution (T&D)” portion of the energy system has been more or less abandoned as the ugly sister to more profitable energy marketing schemes. These schemes, most notoriously employed when Enron and its evil twins raped California’s “Granma Millie” figuratively speaking by manipulating the price of energy flowing into the California market a decade ago.

            4) T&D has been abandoned because it is labor-intensive, highly unionized and not prone to off-shoring schemes. Thus, it’s been abandoned by corporate America who have their sights set on much more lucrative ways to create profit, such as the new Trans-Pacific Partnership scheme. http://www.occupybendor.org/news.php?1417

  6. prokaryotes Says:

    Oil Industry Lobbyist POV Versus Climate Scientist

  7. rayduray Says:

    Here’s an interesting news digest guy who is back on the prowl for news stories:

    http://coloradobob1.newsvine.com/

    And here’s how my friends and neighbors over the ridge in the Willamette drainage are viewing the destruction of our Earth:


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