I suggest anyone interested in learning more about one of the carbon tax ideas watch these videos.
I have listened to this series by James Hansen a couple of times. I have never been a supporter of the carbon tax concept because I do not believe it will solve anything. But I have no doubts about it being tried for many years by most of the countries around the world.
A carbon tax does not address consumption. It continues to emphasize the monetization of the environment but does nothing to change human behavior or perception. A cultural change at the very roots of civilization is what is required. Humans had this once – and we lost it when the capitalistic model was adopted. Endless growth, consumption and resource extraction was the result. Yes, we have a ‘better world’ in some respects, but we’ve also trashed the place rather badly and wiped out a lot of life. Now we risk human extinction due to climate change because we still link everything to monetary values and profit margins – which monetized the entire natural world we rely upon for sustenance.
I’ve always said, “it didn’t have to be this way” – and until enough of us realize this, nothing is going to change. We WILL continue to plunder what remains.
Hansen advocates a carbon tax on fossil fuels – which is akin to saying “go ahead and use it” – the tax then is to be given back to every citizen which will then “stimulate the economy”. I fail to see how this will help anything. It does not address the core issues at all.
Under this scenario, this is what happens:
a) Fossil fuel companies raise prices, which are paid by the citizenry to purchase fossil fuel products and services;
b) The carbon tax funds raised are then redistributed back to the citizens. In effect, citizens are ‘paying ahead’ to purchase more expensive fossil fuels.
c) Fossil fuel consumption (and greenhouse gasses) do not go down because consumption of these polluters does not go down either.
d) This proposal is a merry-go-round concept, nothing changes. Stimulating the economy will simply mean more consumption, when less is needed. Redistributing carbon taxes back to the citizens is no different then not having a carbon tax at all, ie., you’re paying Peter to pay Paul who pays Peter, etc. Nothing has changed.
e) Consumption of fossil fuels HAS to go down (lower greenhouse gas emissions) across the entire economy. We need a strategy that is very different then this one (imo).
f) We are not going to “buy” ourselves out of this predicament (this is the same strategy that got us here).