Bummer: Carbon Taxes Are Not So Popular Anymore

The one thing this article forgets is to mention what is popular with Alarmists

Putting A Price On Carbon: It Was Hot, Now It’s Not

“A carbon tax is the most straight-forward and efficient strategy for quickly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” That statement, from Bernie Sanders in 2014, was accepted as gospel in climate policy circles for many years.

Today, not so much. The evolving political consensus, at least on the left, has relegated carbon pricing to second-tier status, while measures involving more targeted government intervention have gained prominence.

Adding a tax to the price of carbon-based fuels to capture their real cost to society has long enjoyed broad appeal. Taxing pollution produced by the fossil fuel industry resonates with progressives, and, as a broad-based market mechanism, it also finds favor with conservative economists.

(discussion of attempts to implement one)

The Democrats have now moved on.

Presidential candidate Jay Inslee, who as governor battled doggedly but unsuccessfully for a carbon fee in the state of Washington, has shifted his attention to other climate policies.

A recent draft of the 2020 Democratic Party Platform is silent on carbon pricing. This omission is undoubtedly intentional because it was included in the 2016 platform — it called for greenhouse gases to “be priced to reflect their negative externalities.”

The Green New Deal, an evolving progressive policy framework introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, is likewise agnostic on carbon pricing.

I wonder why?

First of all, taxes aren’t popular. In France, a fuel tax increase in 2018 set off the gilets jaunes protests, not because people were ignorant of climate risks, but because they lacked practical transportation options, and they felt the tax was punitive.

In theory, the taxes aren’t supposed to hurt the middle and lower classes. In practice, the only group who isn’t harmed is The Rich. Oh, and the Political Aristocracy who ignores all the mandates and such.

Furthermore, to achieve meaningful emissions reductions, carbon pricing has to ramp up rapidly. When asked about why he has cooled off on carbon pricing, Jay Inslee said, “To actually get carbon savings, you need to jack up the price so high that it becomes politically untenable.”

The hell you say!

The transition to the carbon-free economy will require systemic transformation — a reconciliation of our social and ecological realities with the entrenched infrastructure of the capitalist economy. It’s a far bigger job than what carbon pricing could be expected to achieve.

They never want to say what that systemic transformation involves, eh?

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One Response to “Bummer: Carbon Taxes Are Not So Popular Anymore”

  1. Professor hale says:

    Don’t kid yourself. We have been paying “carbon taxes” since the 80s. The original budget for the Alaskan pipeline was 1 billion. By the time they were done paying for environmental surveys and hosting an army of federal bureaucrats, the cost became 9 billion. Who do you think paid for that, if not every consumer who has used gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel delivered goods, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals?

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