The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

Subscribe to the blog

Discussion: (9 comments)

  1. Jardinero1

    Carbon taxes beg the question that CO2 emissions actually cause harm. This is far from a certainty. I believe that I receive a net benefit from higher CO2 levels. I believe most humans do.

  2. David Onkels

    Carbon taxes might be easy to sell in Cambridge, but they will never be politically acceptable in Iowa. No wonder Club Pigou has so few members, especially outside of the eastern intellectual establishment.

    I agree with Jardinero1: I think that I benefit from higher CO2 levels, and I’m not certain that I can identify a population that suffers. Recent temperature trends and satellite data indicate that the predicted greenhouse effect, that is, tropospheric warming, is not present. Nor has increased tropospheric water vapor appeared, so there is no feedback loop.

    It is far too early in the investigation of the role the CO2 plays in climate to be proposing public policy initiatives to reduce emissions, especially considering that the third world’s emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels is going to increase a great deal.

    I have no idea why any economist might think that increasing energy costs can possibly be a desirable thing, unless he subscribes to AGW religion, ignoring increasing evidence that there has been no warming for 17 years, and that a cooling trend appears to be incipient.

    1. James Brooks

      What is it about writer Onkels that finds a 17 year leveling of average surface temps somehow dismissive of the problems we are likely to face due to AGW?

      With nearly 150 years of physics on the role of co2 and the greenhouse affect it would be irresponsible for this writer to assume that implementing emission’s lowering policy would be premature because we “just don’t know enough”. This claim ignores risk and are easy claims to make because of long time scales.

      “Benefitting” from higher co2 levels ignores the physics and atmospheric chemistry from the warnings of a plurality of scientists. To suggest these findings are a “religion” would be to denounce how science works in totality, or is this writer just cherry-picking climate science?

      1. David Onkels

        At least it’s only a “plurality”!
        I’ll say it again: there is no tropospheric warming. The system is obviously more complex than the AGW zealots imagine it to be.

        With no support for the models from direct observations, implementing public policy prescriptions of dubious effect would be, let’s say, less than rational.

  3. The carbon tax discussed is not the one gaining traction in House or Senate. The “good” carbon tax we should discuss returns the money collected to American households. Have to protect Americans and American businesses. Also let’s talk climate action and point out that a carbon tax does two things like nothing else and both are needed yesterday; one, crosses international borders easily and two, touches every consumer and producer of energy.

    1. David Onkels

      There is no “good” carbon tax.

      All such taxes, designed to achieve some “desirable” goal rather than to raise revenue is the most efficient way from the broadest population of taxpayers, result in misallocation of capital and deadweight loss from the cost of the bureaucracy that “returns the money” to some politically-favored class of taxpayers.

      Tell me, please, why higher costs for energy are desirable. Lower energy costs, coupled with necessary regulation, will result in greater economic growth and the accumulation of the wealth that might be used in the future for adaptive strategies, once we understand the process more clearly.

    2. An interesting point Mark. I believe the province of British Columbia implemented such a revenue-neutral tax (through the form of a tax swap) that reduced emissions and reduced consumption of energy, while their GDP grew at a rate faster than other Canadian provinces.

      Wealth was not accumulated by anyone, because all of the money associated with higher energy costs were returned to taxpayers through lower taxes.

      Some people just can’t comprehend the concept of revenue-neutrality.

      1. David Onkels

        “… and reduced consumption of energy, …”
        The higher tax in B.C. merely provided an incentive for Canadian drivers to purchase gasoline in Washington State.
        They responded enthusiastically, much to the delight of gasoline retailers in Bellingham, WA and other cities.

        I watched a driver from B.C. fill five 5-gallon cans in addition to the tank in his vehicle.

        Ironically, rather than decreasing fuel consumption, the tax increased it, because B.C. drivers are willing to drive the extra distance to the US to avoid the tax.

        Be careful what you wish for.

      2. Let me get this straight. The govt collects $ thru a huge bureau (no cost there?) and then gives it back and everyone is better off??? CO2 is a phoney issue designed
        to line pockets. Why can’t attention be turned to real
        air and water pollution?

Comments are closed.

Sort By:

Refine Content:


Additional Keywords:

Refine Results

or to save searches.

Refine Content