NY Times Warmist: Forget The Carbon Tax Now (Till We Can Ram It Through)

Many may remember the name Justin Gillis: he’s a long time hyper-partisan reporter who pushed the man-caused climate change scam in the regular news section. Now he’s over in the opinion section doing this

Forget the Carbon Tax for Now

The angry graffiti have been blasted off the Arc de Triomphe with water jets, leaving unnaturally white patches scarring the base of France’s national monument. The husks of incinerated cars have been cleared from the streets, the glass from shattered store windows swept up. The government has taken steps to appease the demonstrators, which may be working.

With a bit of calm upon us, now would be a good time for those of us concerned about climate change to engage in some introspection.

The violent demonstrations that flared this fall in France were a culmination of decades of rising anger among the working class, it is true, but they were triggered by plans to impose a tax hike on gasoline and diesel fuel at the pump in the name of fighting climate change. Only three years ago, French monuments were bathed in green floodlights to celebrate a global deal negotiated in a Paris suburb to limit emissions; now we are scraping ugly slogans off those monuments.

Days before the French fury boiled over in November, voters in one of most liberal American states, Washington, once again rejected a plan to tax emissions of carbon dioxide in the name of fighting climate change.

These tax proposals all spring from basic economic theory. If people and companies are abusing a public good — in this case, by dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere — the answer, economists tell us, is to put a price on that activity that reflects the harm and encourages the development of more benign alternatives. Because most of the gases that cause climate change contain carbon in some form, the shorthand term for this policy is a “carbon price.”

Yet the climate movement has, I fear, turned this potentially useful tool into a fetish. Discuss any aspect of the emissions problem these days and you will quickly hear somebody say, “A price is the answer,” or equivalent words. You hear that from the lips of politicians, from newspaper editorial boards, from utility executives and even from the heads of oil companies.

Gillis spends many more paragraphs noting how the carbon tax push is a fetish, how it has failed, and how the Cult of Climastrology can push other things, such as “green” building codes (failing to note that these will drastically increase the cost of homes and other buildings). He also notes that these carbon taxes, which translated into expensive gas in Europe, haven’t stopped people from driving.

But just because a stiff carbon price is, in theory, the biggest tool in the toolbox, I am not sure that means we have to whip it out first. Many other tools are available. A policy known as a clean-electricity standard, which would require that a certain share of electricity generation come from low-carbon sources, could get us a long way in the United States. Republicans have shown some interest in it in the past. Stricter building regulations are also needed the world over.

Maybe we need to use those techniques to convince people that emissions really can be cut without wrecking the economy or further impoverishing the working class. Then, having proved that, we would pull the big tool out last.

In other words, frog in a boiling pot. A dink here, and dunk there, and eventually the CoC can slam people with a carbon tax. Of course, that’s rather what happened in France, where the Frogs noticed the boiling water and burned the kitchen down. The CoC just won’t give up on their ideas, which are all designed to…well, you know, I’ve written it enough.

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