Is the carbon tax thing dead yet?

Last I recall, the vogue solution to climate change was a carbon tax -- maybe it would be steadily rising, maybe there would be a public dividend, or something like that. And then --

So you have governments of the Right winning power in various places in Europe on the strength of voter discontent over high energy prices. Sanctions on Russian fossil energy may not be the same thing as a carbon tax. But for Europeans paying high energy prices, they might feel like the same thing.

'Course, carbon tax proponents might have paid attention to Australia, which imposed a carbon tax in 2012 only to repeal the thing two years later.

The appeal of a carbon tax is that, if fossil energy is made expensive, the consumers of energy will supposedly be given an incentive to put their money into non-fossil energy. The problem is that the consumers of energy can also game the system by putting their money into governments which keep the price of energy down.

The way you wean the world off of fossil fuels should be obvious by now: a new society is brought into being to replace the old. It would be a society based on peace instead of war, collective empowerment based on sharing instead of self-serving charity (and we know how THAT turns out), humanism instead of Calvinism. The new society puts its efforts into creating alternatives to the society based on cheap fossil energy. Relying on 'incentives" when fossil energy consumption is more or less built into the existing society isn't going to make the existing society into something beautiful.

Can we stop putting lipstick on our pigs?

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would be great. I don't see how we get there. The US is a collection of aggrieved individuals, always looking for someone who gets help that doesn't deserve it. That's everybody else but me. We accept what the government doles out piecemeal to "deserving" people, usually the wealthy because they're winners, right? You don't want to waste money on losers do you? So you decide who is Really poor and make them jump through hoops to barely live, resenting every cent given to them.

If we really had a government of the people, we would have voted to give ourselves health care, a fair justice system, a safety net for all. Because it's our government and we deserve more than a quasi religious economic system. We wouldn't be turning our home into overflowing toilets. We wouldn't have a government that grudgingly throws chump change at the 99% with a side of shame.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Snode a new society is brought into being in the same way in which the slaves were freed -- through over-reach by the reactionaries in power.

As a side-note, throughout the 1850s the Federal government had bent over backwards to protect the plantation society of the South, which was in fact an enormous prison camp. The election of Abraham Lincoln eventually led to an over-reach by the slave power. People tend to forget that there was a significant effort to destroy the United States in 1861, beginning with the Pratt Street riots. And then, of course, you had Jubal Early's attack on Washington DC even after Lee's defeat at Gettysburg. The Right loves its over-reach.

I'd imagine that at some point an idiot more serious than Donald Trump will come to power in America. You'll get a revolution then.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@Cassiodorus ..."The Usual Gang of Idiots" - who were always more serious than Trump.

I've been waiting for a revolution for the majority of my life; if not now, and for a list of grievances to easily rival or likely exceed those listed in the Declaration of Independence we've already suffered...when, and for what?

I think part of the problem with "The Left" is people are wayyyyy too hung up on recruiting - and securing the approval of - large numbers; that'll never work, because most "people" seem to be more like philosophic zombies, and would much rather take poison than a stand. They are the ones destined for the Asphodel Fields if the Hellenes are correct, and main concern for them is finding a way to establish a "prickly neutrality" so that bullies, tyrants and manipulators can't claim to invoke the Silent Majority (I do notice that, if pressed to take a side after professing apathy, they will side with the one who scares them more; moral cowards to the core) - but that is a line of inquiry for another time.

My point being for the meantime, we need to operate by the words of Margaret Mead on the subject, which I'm sure you're familiar with.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

To paraphrase Jodie Foster: Human is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

janis b's picture

@Cassiodorus

If revolution is dependent on a more serious idiot as president, then it also requires the population to recognise a serious idiot. People are either too deprived of the means to keep themselves and their families afloat, or too deprived of sight.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@janis b recognized when their abortion rights were being threatened. And that's Kansas.

It's taken enormous changes in the landscape to fool people. With climate change, we are talking about the landscape being changed once again. Ask people in Tampa about this!

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

Never smelled right from the git-go. Another ruse to placate the teeming masses.
A cover story to dupe the public into believing the PTB are doing something about
run away carbon burn. Ain't happening.

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The silly idea is to provide a "market solution" to any and all social problems. The ideological premise is to avoid the coercion of "regulation." More intellectual legerdemain based on turning the word "freedom" into a fetish.

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

Cassiodorus's picture

@fire with fire The catch being that a carbon tax would only work if it were in fact an impediment to 'freedom." Remember that creating a new infrastructure for America will require not only money but also fossil fuel burning. Therein lies the self-contradiction of the carbon taxers.

Meanwhile we wait for disaster.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

those delightful, profane Australians:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92t8np88fEI
while looking for that I found this companion piece:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdPdAKGBXAE

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On to Biden since 1973

Cassiodorus's picture

@doh1304 It's good that the Australians have a sense of humor.

In other Australian news, the website "phys.org" featured this essay:

Taxes out, subsidies in: Australia and the US are passing major climate bills, without taxing carbon

The author of this piece, Ian A. MacKenzie, complains about the absence of a carbon tax in new legislation:

Why? The answer is basically politics. The Gillard Labor government introduced a carbon tax that, although it worked, turned out to be political kryptonite. So Labor's climate policies now rely not on a tax, but on incentives for clean energy, carbon farming and electric transport.

This is not ideal. For decades, economists have pointed out carbon taxes and pollution allowance markets are the simplest and best way to reduce emissions at the lowest possible cost. But it seems taxes are out and stimulus is in.

Since when was "economics" a science, and not merely a species of apologetics for the capitalist system?

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

janis b's picture

@doh1304

Polly Hemming's clarification of the messiness of carbon credits is the best I've seen, and should be readily accessible to all.

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