The old notion that we can negotiate our way out of the climate crisis without drawing a line in the sand, persists like the undead through eternity. It is routinely resurrected to make a goodwill appearance on behalf of one pol or another, in the form of vehicles such as carbon credits and carbon taxes.
This time, the well-meaning sponsor of the idea is our own Bernie Sanders, who, together with California’s Barbara Boxer, has once again proposed carbon taxes as a way to offset the trade advantage enjoyed by countries whose cheap products come from industries operated in environmentally dirty ways. The idea is to leave it to the market to bring about an international diminution of fossil fuel use.
On the surface, it is a nice idea; but in reality, it does nothing to directly curb polluting industries and establish timetables for ending our dependence on fossil fuels. And…just wait until the speculators get their hooks into the fine print!
There is a collateral affect from such a taxation system, which has the potential to unleash even more harmful material on the environment.
Creation of a carbon tax scheme such as the senators propose would significantly bolster the prospects of nuclear energy investors to keep that particular zombie alive; an unfortunate development, just as the world begins to get wise to the twin economic and scientific illusions that have been perpetuated to paint nuclear an “affordable,” “clean” alternative energy source.
Taxing carbon emissions without establishing any timetable for eliminating them altogether could have the effect of legitimizing them into a tolerable vice, like smoking or alcohol consumption; one that will ultimately choke the entire planet rather than just the indulging individual.
Furthermore, establishing taxes has a way of making the state reluctant to eliminate the source of revenue. The state would become sort of a junior partner in pollution-enabling rather than reduction.
I’m all for making the fossil fuel industry pony up, but not if it grants them carte blanche to continue polluting indefinitely, so long as they contribute to the tax base; and not when it reanimates the creaking and corrupt nuclear industry, just as we might see it finally succumb to its own folly.
One can’t help but wonder if news of the carbon tax effort might have encouraged Entergy. Just days ago, it sounded like they might be forced to close Yankee due to non-confidence from the investment community. Now suddenly, they’re planning on refueling next month.
I commend both Senators Sanders and Boxer for their good intentions. It’s tough enough to get anything going on climate change in the United States of Anti-Science. But is this really the best we can do on climate legislation?
Anything short of a timeline to eliminate carbon emissions, reinforced by a program of bold investment in clean technology, will be limited in its impact and could unexpectedly serve as an enabling rationalization.
I would love to hear what other GMD folks are thinking on this.