PBS Newshour on Washington’s Proposed Carbon Tax

April 22, 2016

One state, at least, has a proposal to put a price on carbon.

The proposal in question is not the clean revenue-neutral proposal, as advocated by Citizen’s Climate Lobby and other groups. Under that idea, revenues would not go to the government, but would pass directly thru to taxpayers in the form of a rebate.
In Washington’s proposal, the revenues go to lower other taxes.

Perhaps due to the proposed allocation of revenues,  strange alliance of disparate groups has risen to  oppose the initiative.  In addition, can a “one state” solution have an impact in a 50 state economy, and a diverse international community?

The report above raises several questions about whether this is the right approach.

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24 Responses to “PBS Newshour on Washington’s Proposed Carbon Tax”

  1. ralphiesmom Says:

    I’ll be voting against this. They tried to buy off the Chamber of Commerce and it didn’t work.


  2. Happy Earthday, all.

    Above would be a variant of President Obama’s suggestion that ‘electric rates with necessarily skyrocket’, no? The NewsHour bit is of course predicated entirely on the notion of catastrophic man-caused global warming, which skeptic climate scientists massively dispute at great, highly detailed length. Y’all say everyone should ignore those industry-corrupted shills, I ask you to show me and each other where the proof is to back up that claim, and y’all call me all sorts of names and/or veer off into unsupportable conspiracy theory …. while NEVER rising to my challenge.

    *ahem* 4/22, “‘The Usual Suspects’ in the Persecution of Global Warming Skeptics” http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/04/the_usual_suspects_in_the_persecution_of_global_warming_skeptics.html

    Yet another marvelous opportunity for commenter “dumboldguy” and other Crocks commenters and Peter Sinclair himself to present specific rebuttal to anything y’all feel are outright lies on my part, either right here at Crocks (which “d.o.g.” strangely does NOT do, based on the lack of a comment section at my GelbspanFiles.com blog – try and reason that one out about him) or at the AmericanThinker comment section – of which “d.o.g.” claims he can’t log into. Probably he has the same kind of obsolete computer I do, so my suggestion would be for you guys with newer computers to log in on his behalf, and bless everyone there with “d.o.g.”‘s plethora of evidence. Or, by all means, band together to place an entire rebuttal article at A.T., I’ll do everything in my power to pave the way for you using my clout with the editors.

    Notice my consistent invitation to all of you to support your accusations. Notice your consistent effort to marginalize me out of existence. Do you really not comprehend what the problem is there?

    • dumboldguy Says:

      DNFTT—-!!!!!!! ZZZZZzzzzzz…….!!!

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      ” Do you really not comprehend what the problem is there?”

      Yeah – you are underestimating how hideously boring you are.

    • otter17 Says:

      Russell:

      You are consistently making a strawman argument in the context of your industry ties. From what I have seen, nobody here has made the claim that you were so crassly given money with the stipulation that you put out pro-industry material. Back me up on this everyone, but the problem with folks like Heartland and their underlings, you, is that you had your mixed-up views on the science prior to getting the funding from industry sources. Heartland was quite likely never approached by Exxon or any of its other fossil fuel funders and told “hey, if you publish these statements we have here, we will pay you a load in donations”. That quite likely never happened in such a crass manner. What seems to be the case is that the funders did a bit of research to find those fringe groups that just so happened to already align with a pro-industry, anti-AGW-science message, and amplify that message with more resources/funding.

      It is a waste of time to try and address your “challenge” that you are being paid in such a direct manner to publish industry talking points, because it is a strawman. We don’t have evidence like a leaked email chain from your inbox that shows “hey Russell, @Exxon wants to pay your rent this month if you say this on your blog”. You don’t seem like the type that would turn down such an opportunity, but nevertheless, there is no evidence you are being paid in such a crass manner. So, stop wasting time with such strawman nonsense.


      • You aren’t serious. Or instead haven’t been paying attention? Might help if you’d done a site-specific search before veering of in some obfuscating direction about what my first and foremost challenge here is, whether you folks can deliver evidence proving skeptic climate scientists were and/or are paid industry or other illicit money to lie in a parallel to what ‘big tobacco’ did with its shill experts.

        Meanwhile, see what’s found in this search result https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=site:climatecrocks.com+“russell+cook”+propagandist and then vary the additional words to things like “whore” (which, incidentally, will lead you straight to “d.o.g.” calling me “paid denier whore Russell Cook” ( https://climatecrocks.com/2015/10/16/congressmen-ask-for-exxon-investigation/comment-page-1/#comment-77211). That accusation is about as direct as one that could be made. Ask your pal “d.o.g.” proves it, and he will be unable to deliver on your request.

        Ask all of your dear leader pals what there evidence is that places like Exxon pay people like Fred Singer and Willie Soon to lie and that both sides of that arrangement know the material is all lies, and all those people you trust will be unable to deliver on your request.

        To repeat, but with an additional apparent necessity to hand-walk you through a particular detail of it: notice my consistent invitation to all of you to support your accusations – PLURAL – against skeptic climate scientists and me. Notice your consistent effort to marginalize me out of existence, as I point out how you-all collectively cannot deliver on my challenge.

        I welcome you to prove me wrong about the lack of evidence of a pay-for-performance arrangement between skeptics, openly inviting you to do so right her or at any other friendly venue you have access to. You do not welcome me in any manner to suggest there is a hole in your accusations big enough to drive a Mack truck through, nor do any of you appear to even salivate at the opportunity to bury with evidence of the conspiracy.

        Again, do you really not comprehend what the problem is there?

        • otter17 Says:

          YOU don’t comprehend that your challenge is a strawman representation of the argument. Polemics from dumboldguy aside, the research that has been conducted and the tax forms showing donations indicate that fossil fuel interests and other donors with ideological opposition to AGW science do provide donations to think tanks and groups that spread an anti-AGW message. I don’t think that you would disagree that this happens, right?

          So, first acknowledge whether you agree or disagree that fossil fuel interests donate money to anti-AGW theory groups, writers, think tanks, etc.

          If you agree that this happens, which you should considering the hard evidence and tax forms to date, then the next step is to understand whether there is a pay-for-performance arrangement. The strawman is involved where you insist that the claim on our part (or the researchers like Oreskes in this field) is that a pay-for-performance kind of direct bribery relationship exists between folks like you and Exxon (for example). For the last time, we are NOT claiming that you communicate with Exxon representatives directly in order to figure out a payscale or edit what you write based on pay for performance. SO STOP SAYING THAT WE ARE MAKING THAT CLAIM!!!

          You had your mixed up views on science prior to getting your stint with Heartland or whatever type of gig you got going. Heartland very likely DID NOT sit down with you and say “we would like to give you $XXX.xx amount of money if you write this about Mr. Gelbspan in order to hurt his reputation”. More likely, they just decided to fund you based on seeing your work and figuring you would continue spreading your mixed up views on science.

          Now, read that again, two more times if you have to… a PAY-FOR-PERFORMANCE ARRANGEMENT AMONG SKEPTICS IS NOT BEING CLAIMED!!!!!


          • otter17 sez “The strawman is involved where you insist that the claim on our part (or the researchers like Oreskes in this field) is that a pay-for-performance kind of direct bribery relationship exists between folks like you and Exxon…”

            Nossir. True to form for AGW believers enslaved to psychological projection, you are the one presenting a strawman argument. First, I do not have ‘mixed up views on science’ nor is AGW science any kind of primary content at my GelbspanFiles.com blog or at my 70 online pieces outside of the blog. You wouldn’t embarrass yourself with that claim if you’d taken the time to read my material. What I’ve done ever since 2008 in various venues is point to both sides of the issue and ask why there is such an obvious contradiction between the two sides. AGWers tell me to ignore skeptics such as Drs Singer, Michaels, Idso and Soon, among many others, since they are ‘paid to lie by fossil fuel interests.’ I ask where the evidence is of a pay-for-performance situation among material put out by Gore, Gelbspan, Oreskes, Greenpeace et al. and good folks like you cannot rise to the challenge to point me to it – or point your fellow Crocks friends to it, for that matter. A guy like commenter “d.o.g.” pipes up to say I’m a paid shill wearing baseball caps, I ask him to prove either accusation, and he vaults into bizarre conspiracy theory and Occam’s razor stuff.

            What is up with trying to pull the worthless strawman yell of “we are NOT claiming that you communicate with Exxon”??? Commenter “d.o.g.” accuses me of being under the payroll and direction by Heartland (which he can’t prove, and which is otherwise absolutely not true on both counts), and I say not one of you can prove Exxon or any other industry pays skeptic climate scientists to lie.

            Any day now, the realization of what the problem really is here is going to hit your mindset like a ton of bricks. Then you’ll have to answer your own conscience as to why you are enslaved to pitching strawmen arguments instead of doing your own due diligence on accusations put out by Gore, Gelbspan, Oreskes, and that bunch of Attorneys General. Forget about me for once and prove it to yourselves that the “industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists lying on behalf of Exxon” (or any other enemy du jour) accusation actually has evidence to back it up.

          • otter17 Says:

            Russell:

            ” I ask where the evidence is of a pay-for-performance situation among material put out by Gore, Gelbspan, Oreskes, Greenpeace et al. and good folks like you cannot rise to the challenge to point me to it – or point your fellow Crocks friends to it, for that matter. ”

            I can’t continue too much longer talking to a guy that keeps repeating the same thing despite my attempts to explain that a direct pay-for-performance situation is not what is being claimed.

            Let’s see if we can go through a chain of questions and maybe arrive to an understanding of a conclusion.

            Have you received funding from groups like Heartland, CFACT, or SPPI, etc? Yes or no?

            Do you agree that Heartland, SPPI, etc, have received funding from fossil fuel interests in the past (Exxon being a more well-known, higher dollar value donor)? Yes or no?

            Did you have your views set on the topics surrounding AGW prior to receiving this funding? In other words, did it sway you in any way? Do you think Heartland also did not sway in its views before/after funding?

            So, if you can agree that fossil fuel interests have sent donations towards these groups (and they have, there are tax forms showing these donations readily available for viewing online), then why do you think Exxon et al chose them to fund?


          • @otter17: I am utterly amazed that I have to hand-walk anybody through this massive wipeout. As has already been fully disclosed regarding my funding, I’ve received STRINGS-FREE grants from Heartland since 2013; CFACT paid for my PHONE-ANSWERING and MESSAGE RELAYING services for 19 days in 2012; and SPPI asked me to compile my ALREADY EXISTING online material into a paper they could publish and they paid me for that compilation service. Neither I nor anybody disputes Heartland received donations from Exxon or anybody else. Regarding my views on the appearance of the unsettled nature of AGW, you’d already know that answer as well if you had read all the way through my material. I’ve held that position with no influence from anyone AS EARLY AS 1988 when Al Gore, Tim Wirth & friends popped up crowing about global warming merely a decade after the big global cooling craze. The money I’ve received from Heartland, DFACT & SPPI has NOT SWAYED MY POSITION ONE BIT.

            For the love of God, Allah, Gaia or whatever other deity you choose to believe in, the reason why Exxon sent money to folks questioning the anti-science of man-caused global warming belief is because they agreed with what those skeptic scientists WERE ALREADY SAYING. It’s the same reason why Greenpeace commissioned IPCC scientist Jean Pascal van-Ypersele ( http://www.greenpeace.org/belgium/PageFiles/19049/SumIB_uk.pdf ) to write a paper for them, they agree with van Ypersele’s position. Is it your contention that Greenpeace would fund Willie Soon to write a paper for them because they wouldn’t care who wrote what for them????? Do you really think SPPI would commission Peter Sinclair to put together a series of videos about accusations lodged against skeptic climate scientists?????

            Whether you care to accept it or deny it, we’ve been hammered for 20+ years now of the comparison of skeptic climate scientists to ‘expert shills’ working for the Big Tobacco, and there is only one unmistakable accusation there: Industry knowing their product was drastically harmful but paid shills to lie and fabricate false reports where all knew what the lies were while paying and receiving money for material that everyone knew was false. Dance around this any way you wish, the comparison is baseless until your side proves skeptic climate scientists knowingly lied and did so only upon receiving big money to do so. If you-all truly expect Dr Willie Soon to switch 180° on his position to pro-AGW, then by all means, put your money and the money of Tom Steyer, Greenpeace, and the NRDC where your mouths are and fund him to the level of whatever you think it takes to outbid Exxon, Donors Trust or whoever your latest enemy du jour is. Then sit back and watch what happens. I already issued this challenge for my situation, in case you missed it: http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=1930

            Deal with your inability to prove the accusation true, deal with your inability to prove ANY funding of me buys my words, and figure out an exit strategy for yourself on those twin abject failures.

          • otter17 Says:

            Ok, so, let’s go to the parts where you addressed my questions.

            1) You explain, in more detail than I ever cared to know, what the groups like Heartland, SPPI, CFACT, etc, have paid you. Ok, the first point of agreement.

            2) You concede that Heartland and others have been funded by fossil fuel interests, Exxon, etc. Ok, great, still more agreement.

            3) You say that your views were not changed by the funding you have received. Ok, that answers the third question, and do notice I have been very clear to say those words, multiple times, just a few posts up. Still more agreement.

            4) Where you don’t clearly answer comes to the point of why you think Exxon would choose to give more resources to these groups, and indirectly, you.

            So, let’s focus on two questions here.
            1) To repeat, why do you think that Exxon and others would choose to fund these groups that exist outside the scientific method processes?
            2) Do you see anything shady with Exxon funding non-peer reviewed material or views on the general topic of AGW that just so happens to align with the company’s financial interests?

            If not in this thread, we can continue in another


          • @otter17: In response to your two questions, 1) Regarding what you claim I did not answer, allow me to repeat verbatim from my prior post: “For the love of God, Allah, Gaia or whatever other deity you choose to believe in, the reason why Exxon sent money to folks questioning the anti-science of man-caused global warming belief is because they agreed with what those skeptic scientists WERE ALREADY SAYING.” How could you have possibly missed that?? And how could you miss that the counterpoint that people endorse IPCC reports because they agree with what they say??

            Meanwhile, (li’l Al Sharptonism here) push false premise questions, we much?? I am not paid anything by Heartland, the strings-free grant is a gift having no expectation of actions in return. Next, Exxon hasn’t donated to Heartland since 2006, therefore it would be impossible for them to indirectly donate to me. Further, Exxon is all on board with AGW lately – is it your claim they are telling the truth now but lied in the interim, while telling the truth back in some vague time longer ago? Sounds like you are cherry-picking when you like the company.

            “ … 3) You say that your views were not changed … do notice I have been very clear to say those words …” Nossir, you added a false premise tag to that, “mixed up views.” There is nothing mixed up about seeing one side being opposed by another side, and asking why the contradiction exists and why so much effort is placed by the AGW side on character assassination of skeptics via literally unsupportable accusations about tainted corrupt funding. Deal with that reality.

            “Groups outside the scientific method process”?? Puh-lease. Demonstrate anywhere within Heartland’s NIPCC volumes where they are outside of the Scientific Method process. I’ll bet you can’t. Meanwhile, look no farther into the IPCC’s original mission statement where they said their role was to “assess the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.” Catch the anti-science problem there? It’s called proceeding on a preconceived conclusion, the antithesis of the Scientific Method. Change the last four words of that sentence to “harmful ghost proliferation” and you have folks saying, “wait a minute, prove ghosts exist first.”

            2) I see absolutely nothing shady with Exxon et al.’s funding of skeptics back when they weren’t so paranoid of engaging in non-politically correct criticism. It was the responsible thing to do in the face of Al Gore’s late ’80s/early ’90s material which was deserving of hard questions about it.

            “… views on the general topic of AGW that just so happens to align with the company’s financial interests..…”???? Nossir. The sooner you get it figured out that you have this exactly backwards, the sooner that ton of bricks will hit you that I mentioned it previously. It was the fossil fuel companies who found out that there were pre-existing skeptic scientists viewpoints out there which happened to reinforce what they were guessing about Gore’s material. Stay tuned to GelbspanFiles.com in the next few posts there, I will show you where the ‘backwards alignment’ talking point you believe so fervently in IMPLODES.

          • otter17 Says:

            Ok, so we have come to the point in the Socratic style questioning where there is a divergence. Let’s explore those rather than rehashing back on the previous ones that were established.

            1) I didn’t say that you had not addressed the question concerning why FF industry would choose to support these think tanks. I said that it wasn’t CLEAR. You said that the fossil fuel donors “liked what these groups were saying”, which really begs the question of WHY they liked this stance. Hint, there is the rather obvious financial interest at stake concerning the outcome of the research, or at least the public perception of what the research has to say. That you would gloss over this with “oh, they just liked what they had to say” is rather telling.

            2) Your claim concerning the NIPCC being peer-reviewed or scientific method aside (actually not open peer reviewed in any modern scientific sense), basically the entire scientific community would disagree with your answer here. It is standard practice to avoid such appearances of conflict of interest, but apparently these think tank groups and a handful of scientists don’t have any qualms about it.

            Look, you are probably going to continue your blog built on a strawman argument, because well you have probably invested some time in it. Just know this, though, that the best shills are those that actually believe in their own shilling. The tobacco companies likely never asked anybody to flat-out lie for them, just as the FF companies probably haven’t in this case. It would be foolhardy strategy to find people to lie for the industry when the industry simply has to do a search for believers in their cause. Believers won’t betray them by going to prosecutors with a bribe offer on recorded communications. A pay for performance strategy on the part of the fossil fuel companies would be STUPID, which is why they don’t do that, but simply amplify the nutty voices from blogs or unqualified journalist wannabe’s to confuse the public.

  3. neilrieck Says:

    Well we just heard from BP that US$20 Billion fine for damaging the Gulf has been deemed “manageable” by BP. In light of this it would appear that the fossil fuel industry could easily manage a $10 tax on each barrel.

    BTW, according to US law the fine (based upon volume lost) should have been much larger (~120B) but congress tamped it down. Also according to US law, the direct loss of 11 lives should have triggered a manslaughter trial.

  4. Gingerbaker Says:

    I really hate the idea of a carbon tax:

    Under the two discussed proposals, ZERO of the money from a carbon tax would be earmarked for building new RE or even for R&D.

    We have been discussing a carbon tax for several years now, and that seems to be exactly what the fossil fuels lobby wants – more endless discussion and no large-scale RE deployment.

    Any proposed tax will not come close to actually recouping the true external costs of fossil fuels. You would have to take the adaptation costs alone to be $15 trillion a year (2014 dollars) and multiply for 2000 to 3000 years in the future, and back to about 1930 to be close. This would work out – I’m guessing here – to make a gallon of gasoline or heating oil, or a BTU of natural gas work out to about $5000.00. And, of course, we can not do that. That would be too expensive, right?

    Well, if that is too expensive, how much should the tax be? Enough to be a severe economic hardship on the bottom 50% of Americans? Only a moderate hardship? The smaller the hardship, the less pressure to influence markets, which is supposedly the whole point.

    How large will be the new bureaucracy needed to process the data to get the intended rebates back to consumers accurately and quickly? It would require a new IRS – sized expense. Leaving even less money to build and deploy new RE, which is the only thing that will reduce CO2 emissions. Or have you forgotten?

    So, let’s say a carbon tax is put in place. It will have to be small enough to not injure too many people economically, which will make it recoup only about one billionth of the actual external costs of FF’s, while giving lip service to the entire idea. And yet somehow, this is supposed to influence the market to actually build more RE?!? How?

    Suppose we doubled the cost of gasoline. This would produce exactly the same pressure for reform that we saw a couple of years ago when gasoline was double its current price – so it would produce exactly zero pressure for reform. Or, do you think, like the Harris cartoon [http://www.sciencecartoonsplus.com/pages/gallery.php] that “a miracle will occur”?

    And remember what you are doing when you pass a carbon tax, as if it even can be done: you are relying on the power of the supposed “free” market to solve the problem that the politico-economic marketplace was responsible for. What is the definition of “insanity” again?

    We do not have the luxury for such bullshit. We can’t rely on the market to fix AGW It has to be done by Federal edict. If we spent 1/10 of the time and intellectual effort we have wasted on this vague carbon tax concept to figure out how to accomplish a Federal mandate we might have success. In one fell swoop.


    • 100% revenue neutral carbon tax scenario (revenue returned to the population on a per-capita basis + 0.5X rebate for each child up to 2 children).

      At $10/tCO2, coal generated power would rise from $0.10/KWh to $0.14/KWh.

      $20/tCO2 => $.18/KWh
      $50/tCO2 => $.29/KWh
      $105/tCO2 => $.50/KWh

      i.e., at $105/tCO2, the price of coal generated electricity would quintuple. How fast would we transition away from coal in such a scenario?

      How would this affect the average resident? Let’s assume everyone continued to use coal generated power as the tax on CO2 went from $0 to $105.

      Assuming everyone in the US used coal generated power, for the bottom 70% of families by income, the percentage of household income spent on electric would go, on average, from 8.7% at $0 tax to -1.6% at $105/tCO2.

      For the top 30%, the percentage of household income spent on electric would go, on average, from 0.2% at $0 tax to 0.5% at $105/tCO2.

      But of course everyone would not continue using coal generated power because it would become obsolete. As more expensive but less CO2-intense generation came online, the social cost of CO2 pollution would drop, and people would spend more on electric but less on other taxes and less on other expenses such as medical.

      IMF estimated recently the global social cost of carbon pollution to be $5 trillion per year. At 50 Gt CO2 per year, that’s $100 per tonne of CO2. What we send around would come around.

      Such a simple tax and rebate scheme would be simple and easy to administer.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        “the percentage of household income spent on electric would go, on average, from 8.7% at $0 tax to -1.6% at $105/tCO2.”

        How do 70% of the people’s electric or heat rates go down if their electric or oil or gas rate quintuples?? I can not make sense of your math. They have to pay their bills, you know, or the lights or the heat or the hot water or the gas stove goes off.

        A carbon tax is about as regressive a tax imaginable. There are much better ways to accomplish what we all agree needs to be done.

        “Such a simple tax and rebate scheme would be simple and easy to administer”

        No, it would be complicated as hell. Somehow, people are going to have to submit receipts for gasoline, for oil and gas bills, for percentages of electricity from coal, gas, woodburning plants. Or, a gigantic network of computerized transaction receipts are going to have to be automatically tracked nationwide for every single person. Every single day. Which means people will be giving their credit cards to the government and hoping for the best.

        Meanwhile – how are they going to pay their bills as they wait for the rebate checks to come in? And how often are 100 million checks going to be mailed out? What about mistakes in billing, paying, transcription errors, credit card refusals, liens, millions of people moving every week?

        At best it would mean that every person would need to track receipts and payments every pay period – hours and hours of work destined to make everyone just ADORE renewable energy.

        This is the most gigantic fustercluck imaginable, and every problem will laid at the feet of of the environmentalists and Big Government. 99% of the people can’t even balance a checkbook. How could this not work? 😦

        Meanwhile… nothing gets built. As usual. Why in the world people think a carbon tax is going to result in huge pressure to go renewable completely escapes me. Because the better your “simple and easy to administer” system works, the faster people will get their money back. So…. why should they complain?

        Paperwork?!? Is that how we are going to win hearts and minds? Make them hate the ripoff and headaches caused by renewable energy and the Federal government – yeah… that’s the ticket! That’s how we will government to build our energy future. Brilliant!


  5. Gingerbaker,

    How do 70% of the people’s electric or heat rates go down if their electric or oil or gas rate quintuples?? I can not make sense of your math. They have to pay their bills, you know, or the lights or the heat or the hot water or the gas stove goes off.

    Every dollar that is collected in tax is refunded to the population. Those that spend more than the average get a reduced bill, those that spend more than the average get an increased bill. When the tax rate is small ($10/tonne), then the below average consumer (BAC) gets a small decrease in his tax expense (at the expense of the above average consumer (AAC). When the tax rate is large ($105/tonne) then it’s possible for the BAC to actually have a negative electric expense.

    Let’s say the average person in the top 30% income bracket uses, on average, twice as much electricity as the average person in the bottom 70% bracket. Then as the tax rate goes from $0 to $105, the BACs pay less and less for electric and the AACs pay more and more. But the AACs spend relatively little compared to the size of their income and they don’t even notice the change as electric rates rise. OTOH, the BACs are doing backflips because electric is a large proportion of their income and they actually become net negative spenders when the tax gets to $105.

    It’s a progressive tax. It’s income-redistributive.

    BS:
    “Such a simple tax and rebate scheme would be simple and easy to administer”

    GB:
    No, it would be complicated as hell. Somehow, people are going to have to submit receipts for gasoline, for oil and gas bills, for percentages of electricity from coal, gas, woodburning plants.

    No, the math is simple.

    Say the total tax collected is $100 billion. Say the number of tax paying citizens is 200 million. Then each citizen gets a check for

    100 billion / 200 million = $500

    To distribute the rebates, each citizen could have a registered debit account and the money is simply transferred digitally with the press of a button. It could happen monthly or quarterly with very little administrative expense.

    Why in the world people think a carbon tax is going to result in huge pressure to go renewable completely escapes me.

    The idea and its implementation are simple, but its effects are not obvious.

    How/what are the utilities doing when the tax is $105/tonne? The tax is collected from the coal miners, so the price of coal to the utilities has quintupled or more. Meanwhile, the cost of solar has remained the same or decreased. Now, the cost of electric generation from coal has gone from say, 0.5X times that of solar to 2.5X. Do you think the utilities are going to notice and start buying their power from solar plants or start building their own? This obviously applies as well to wind, nuclear, etc.

    The above uses the example of the electric utilities/coal miners/electric power customers, but the same idea would apply to gasoline, oil, natural gas. The tax is collected at the mine/well, passed on to the end user, and rebated on a per capita basis by the government.


  6. Mis-spoke:

    Those that spend more than the average get a reduced bill, those that spend more than the average get an increased bill.

    Should be:

    Those that spend less than the average get a reduced bill, those that spend more than the average get an increased bill.

    then the below average consumer (BAC) gets a small decrease in his tax expense

    Should be:

    then the below average consumer (BAC) gets a small decrease in his electric expense

    Other people’s spreadsheets are hard to follow, but if you want to see my math, it’s here:
    https://googledrive.com/host/0B6KqW0UlivnVeUtzcUpjVXEzOVU

    Green cells are inputs, modify to your liking.
    Red cells are outputs.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      So, to make your tax plan simple, you are not going to actually refund people’s eactual carbon tax contribution? Half the people will be getting back less than they paid?

      And you will also incorporate a financial penalty for anyone who uses more electricity than some arbitrary figure that you determine? How do you justify this? How can you even calculate anything remotely equitable? People in Florida use less heating oil than people in North Dakota – so penalize the people in North Dakota? A family of 2 uses less energy than a family of 8 and therefore gets more rebate back?

      This seems to me to be exactly what we have always been promised will NOT be part of any carbon tax – otherwise why insist that the funds go back to the people?

      Simplicity seems a bug, not a feature. Or have I totally botched your concept?


      • Half the people will be getting back less than they paid?

        More like one third — the richer third who can afford it and won’t even notice it (don’t tell them). Donald Trump will do poorly.

        And you will also incorporate a financial penalty for anyone who uses more electricity than some arbitrary figure that you determine? How do you justify this?

        Look at it as an incentive. If you live far away from where you work, you may do a calculation and find out that, with a high carbon tax, it makes more sense to get a slightly smaller pay check and pay a lot less for daily travel. Yes, some poorer people will have to sacrifice slightly for the good of the world. Nothing is perfect.

        A family of 2 uses less energy than a family of 8 and therefore gets more rebate back?

        This seems to me to be exactly what we have always been promised will NOT be part of any carbon tax – otherwise why insist that the funds go back to the people?

        Modify (or reject) to your heart’s content, but keep it simple, transparent, effective and executable, i.e., don’t allow the perfect to get in the way of the good.

        I think the idea (it’s not “mine”) is fabulously ingenious. It fosters the needed transition using market forces while placing most of the burden where it belongs and only slightly penalizes some of the poorer folks, and even these defects can be ameliorated by add-on programs like government-funded home-efficiency plans where the government pays to insulate your home and hands out LED lights. We already have these in the northeast US. In the British Colombia plan(where it is very popular), the tax is even more progressive, as they lower taxes on the poorest segment, irrespective of energy use. The times call for some FDRness and a revenue neutral carbon tax brings that.

        The idea actually belongs to Citizens Climate Lobby — you can find them on the web. James Hansen is an enthusiastic proponent and promotes their organization and their ideas at every opportunity, speaks frequently at their meetings and explains their ideas eloquently.


  7. GingerBaker,

    You are looking for a “perfect” solution, and your definition of perfect is wandering, arbitrary and capricious. What is “fair”? What is equitable? Is it fair that adding CO2 to the atmosphere heats the planet? Is it fair that we didn’t know about this “deal” until a few years ago? Is it fair that the most powerful companies in the world campaigned to keep us in the dark?

    Is it fair that the richest countries in the world contribute to global warming inordinately more than the poorest countries, while the poorest countries bear the brunt of the consequences and are the least able to adapt? And then the rich countries invade and destroy the poor countries on false “humanitarian” pretenses, with the ulterior aim of acquiring more fossil fuels to make the problem worse, squandering literally trillions of dollars in the process that could be used to solve the warming problem? Meanwhile, as the populations we have disrupted with desertification of their lands and bombing of their very homes, flee for their very lives in flimsy boats hired from cutthroat profiteers to get to a place of safety, i.e to get to where we are we pay money to keep them where they are, essentially on reservations, and simply say “oh my”, as they drown by the thousands in the sea, i.e., where’s the humanitarian effort now? WHERE’S THE UNITED NATIONS?? Where’s the honest, selfless effort, the global conscience?

    A carbon tax, done as equitably as possible is not perfect, but it comes close, by the measures of

    –equitability
    –effectiveness
    –simplicity
    –ease of implementation and
    –ideological appeal to a broad spectrum of mindsets (i.e, it only fails to appeal to batshit-crazy/paid-for politicians).

    I would be glad to hear of a better plan, and please note that a carbon tax does not exclude other efforts and ideas. But it is the minimum NECESSARY to achieve the speed of transition that we now require.

    BTW, it’s not fair to Floridians that they have to run their air conditioners for much of the day for a large part of the year while N. Dakotans don’t! In fact, as the world warms and sea levels rise it is likely that the migration is away from Florida.

    If you’re looking for “fair”, then let’s begin prosecuting the FF execs and throwing them in the sea!!

  8. Gingerbaker Says:

    “I would be glad to hear of a better plan, and please note that a carbon tax does not exclude other efforts and ideas. But it is the minimum NECESSARY to achieve the speed of transition that we now require.”

    A carbon tax does little, if anything, to actually build new RE. As I have already said, even if we effectively double the cost of FF’s, we would only be where we were two years ago re FF prices. And there was no pressure then to build RE at the pace we agree we need.

    You want an alternative idea? Sure:

    * Direct subsides on a scale commensurate with those showered upon FF’s the past 100 years. Making RE cheaper has the exact same effect as making FF more expensive. And no fusterclucking punitive regressive carbon tax making everybody hate RE.

    * Executive edicts directing the Dept. of Energy to make new FF infrastructure impossible and new RE infrastructure planned and executed as a program mandated as an issue of National Security.


  9. I thought I had done an adequate job of explaining the progressiveness of a rev-neutral carbon tax, but…

    And no fusterclucking punitive regressive carbon tax making everybody hate RE

    Discussion on hold until you either refute or understand.


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