Non-Alzheimer readers (there must be at least two out of the myriad dozen who read Rabett Run) may recall Eli Rabett's Simple Plan to Save the World and, just to save energy involved in following a link, Eli has put it at the end of this post. This is an idea whose time has come. As evidence thereof, an editorial in the 11 Jan 2010 issue of C&ENews, house organ of the ACS (and yes, Exxon, the other oil companies and the oil and polymer industries all read this and are members). Eli calls your attention to the paragraph he bolded.
The world is moving, as the editor, Rudy Baum points out, not a single Head of State at the Copenhagen conference doubted that climate change was a looming problem, no one signed on to the denialists position. The world has agreed that there is a very serious problem and that there is a solution, just that there is no agreement yet what the solution is. Thus the power of the "Simple Plan".
For starters, H.R. 2454, the 1,200-page climate-change and energy legislation passed by the House of Representatives in June 2009 that establishes a CO2 cap-and-trade system, should be put out of its misery in favor of a simple carbon tax.
Cap-and-trade is a sop to the coal, petroleum, and other energy-intensive industries; it does nothing but muddle the very simple need to put a price on carbon on which industry can base its capital-spending decisions. A carbon tax accomplishes that goal simply and efficiently.
The Europeans already are coming to recognize the inherent problems of cap-and-trade because they are experiencing them. The European Union and the U.S., together with Japan—already the most energy-efficient developed nation—should jointly enact a significant and escalating carbon tax that would promote real energy efficiencies and cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
But wait, wouldn't that leave China, India, and other nations free to undercut the carbon-tax-inflated prices of goods from the U.S., the EU, and Japan? Not at all. Nations that adopt the carbon tax regimen should impose a carbon tariff equal to the carbon tax on all manufactured goods from countries that do not participate.
The Chinese, in particular, would protest such an action vociferously. Let them. China is not a developing nation; it is an authoritarian, industrialized, mercantile behemoth that is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. It is time for the world to stop allowing China to pretend otherwise. If China wants to sell its carbon-tax-free products to developing nations in Africa, Asia, and South America, fine.
Many thoughtful economists have put forth mechanisms whereby a carbon tax would be truly revenue neutral, simultaneously discouraging the use of fossil fuels and stimulating development of alternative energy sources while protecting less affluent consumers. It's time to join forces with other developed nations to put one in place.
a. It does the jobComments?
b. It can beimplemented by the developed world on itself
The Simple Plan to Save the World:
Nations wishing to make major progress on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions should introduce emission taxes on all products. These taxes should be levied on imports as well as domestic goods at the point of sale, and should displace other taxes, such as VAT, sales taxes, and payroll (e.g. social security, health care) in such a way that tax revenues are constant, and distributed equitably.There was a later codicil
These should be introduced as an Emissions Added Levy(avoiding the bad jokes). EAL would be imposed on sale for emissions added in the preceding step and inherent to the consumption of the product, as would be the case for heating oil and gasoline. Manufacturers would pay the EAL on electricity they bought, and incorporate this and the levy on emissions they created into the price of the product they sell.
Imports from countries that do not have an EAL would have the full EAL imposed at the time of import. The base rate would be generic EALs based on worst previous practices in the countries that do have EALs, which would be reduced on presenting proof that the actual emissions were lower.
All countries with EAL systems would reserve a portion (say 5%) for assisting developing countries with adaptations (why not use acclimations?) and mitigating programs.
By basing the levy on emissions rather than carbon all greenhouse gases stand on a common level, sequestration is strongly encouraged as well as such simple things as capturing methane from oil wells and garbage dumps (that gets built into the cost of disposal). The multipliers would come from CO2 equivalents on a 10 year basis.
India and China and many other developing countries should reduce their emissions of black carbon by 90% or more in the next decade as part of their work. This will not only significantly reduce warming of the climate, it will make a major contribution to the health of their people. Simple and economical methods of doing this are available.