My submission to the Political Posturing column in the May 2109 issue of InBusiness Magazine. I added some graphs to this blog post that weren’t in the publication.
No, a carbon tax would be ridiculously ineffective.
Activists tell us that a carbon tax will reduce carbon emissions and thus reduce carbon in the atmosphere and slow or reverse global warming. This is a gross exaggeration.
Quantifying the reduction of carbon emissions from a carbon tax cannot be predicted. Any overall reduction would likely be negligible because the tax does not prohibit the activity — it just makes the activity more expensive. Business will absorb the increased cost, find other ways of reducing cost, or pass on the cost to the consumer. In the end, a carbon tax will punish consumers and put more money in the hands of the government, which won’t spend it to solve an unsolvable and naturally recurring trend.
The EPA tells us in its Carbon Monoxide Trends report that since 1980, there has been an 84 percent decrease (8.8 ppm down to 1.4 ppm) in the national average.
But wait — we’re being told that we need a carbon tax to reduce overall carbon emissions in order to slow or reverse climate change. Yet we’ve reduced carbon emissions over the past 37 years by 84 percent, and we’re still being told that the climate is getting worse, which requires drastic action like a new tax to fix it? How stupid do they think we are?
The carbon put into our atmosphere by fossil fuels is only a small portion of the carbon put in the atmosphere from other sources. Some estimates say that fossil fuels contribute less than 5 percent of the total carbon (see graphic representation below) in our atmosphere and the United States produces about 15 percent of the world’s CO (see pie graph below).
If the USA stopped using all fossil fuels overnight, it would only make a 0.75 percent difference in overall global carbon output. [EDIT November 20, 2020: After a discussion with commenter TA, I added word “output” to end of previous sentence to reflect actual intent] [EDIT January 21, 2020: These numbers have changed slightly. The USA is now considered to be contributing 16%. There is a new pie graph at the link provided above that shows this 16%. So the 0.75 percentage stated above now calculates to 0.8% which is 16% of 5%. ]
So, they want us to believe that an ineffective carbon tax is going to reduce the U.S. carbon output, enough to change the overall global concentration and thus fix climate change. I’m sorry but the numbers and the logic make no sense.
I repeat: How stupid do these people they think we are?
That’s the end of the InBusiness column.
Honestly, some of the carbon tax promoters know that the carbon tax won’t do a thing to reduce our carbon output but it would, as Brad Werntz parroted,
“…promote economic growth, reduce budget deficits, reduce redundant and inefficient regulation, reduce unnecessary subsidies, and reduce the costs associated with climate change”.
So someone who’s ideology seems to reside well left of center thinks the carbon tax would be an influx of tax dollars, a government tax windfall, to which Werntz says,
“Really, what’s not to like?”
In my column submission I wrote,
“…put more money in the hands of the government, which won’t spend it to solve an unsolvable and naturally recurring trend.”
How much more accurate about predicting the reaction of the political left and a new tax could I have been? What is it about taxes and being an ideologically entrenched Democrat like Werntz appears to be? They must think that no new tax is a bad tax even when you know up front that it will do NOTHING to curb the trend you are taxing. Can’t stop it, let’s tax it so the government has more of our money to spend elsewhere.
To close I’d like to briefly touch on climate change. I think climate change is happening and I honestly don’t think that it can be denied but we cannot control mother nature. The real debate is, or should be, why the so-called “settled science” promoters are using science that really isn’t settled at all to scare the hell out of people with apocalyptic predictions that they have already proven to be false. People are parroting predictions as if they are fact, one like Werntz shared in his column link above is,
“…so we should expect sea levels to rise between four and 11 feet in the next few decades.”
Didn’t Al Gore make those same kind of predictions some years ago and not a one of them ever came true? They really are making some ridiculous predictions based on extrapolations of unsettled science.
I came across a really good blog presentation written by Zoltar Speaks about the recurring climate trends and how those that are predicting climate change catastrophes are basically using “tunnel vision” and “bad science” to ignore historical climate trends. The blog post is a couple of years old and called Climate Change and be forewarned it’s long, opinionated, and informative. Here is a sample of the blog post, it’s what I’d call the conclusion.
“There is an agenda driving the climate change alarmists and that agenda is to clean up the environment, which happens to be a really good cause, but lying about the reasons why we need to do it to hype up hysteria in the public is morally bankrupt and just bull shit. If you want to clean up air pollution then dammit, do it, it will be good for everyone, but don’t spew bad science to try and convince the masses, it makes the whole science argument in favor of cleaning up the environment look like a complete sham.”
Featured Photo Credit: Cropped version of a Bangkok Thailand smog photo I found online, I believe the photo might be from the Bangkok Post but wasn’t identified.