Carbon tax watch

carbon-tax-now Well, sort of. Via Timmy I find Will Hutton bemoaning the failure of yet another GW-type summit, Rio-20. We all knew it was going to fail: had I thought there was any question about it, I would have offered to bet heavily on its failure (in fact, so little do I care that I haven’t even looked to see if it has failed. But I assume so…). But there would have been no takers. Nonetheless the pointless waste of time took place, which merely demonstrates how broken our politics is. But we knew that too.

Hutton correctly identifies at least one problem, but fails to see the obvious solution:

Climate change sceptics, most vividly in the US where it has become a basic credo of the modern Republican party, are sceptics because to accept the case is to accept the need to do something collectively and internationally that must involve government. But government is bad.

Sound entirely plausible. He continues…

It is inefficient, obstructs enterprise, inhibits freedom, regulates and taxes. Climate change activists want carbon taxes and to set targets for efficient resource use; they also want regulations to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour. This is the back door through which socialism will be reinvented…

(my bold). You can argue about the inefficient, etc. bits – though that’s what the teabaggers think. But notice the bit I’ve bolded, all of which are first-order unnecessary, though will be pushed by the likes of Hutton and env folk. We need a Carbon Tax Now. And as a sop to the teabaggers to get that, we should make it clear that all the rest of the regulation stuff isn’t needed, so that all their “gummint be evil” stuff becomes irrelevant.

[Update: David Hone, who I used to take seriously but no longer can, has a fascinating, and totally wrong, piece about ETS and appears to happily quote some utter nonsense:

The scheme was intended to deliver a significant shortage of allowances against business-as-usual emissions and thereby oblige ETS installations to pollute less…. Even those stakeholders who have argued for a return to the intended levels of scarcity have been handicapped by a dearth of analysis… The business-as-usual emissions baseline against which both the EU climate target and the ETS caps were set are totally obsolete…

You see the problem? No? OK, let me explain. What this is saying is that those in favour of the ETS see it not as a means of reducing CO2 emissions to a certain level, but as a means of forcing industry to emit less CO2 than it wants to. This is a very puritanical, sackcloth-n-ashes viewpoint, and it has nothing to do with science. Because it isn’t saying that a certain level of emissions (implicitly, if they ever did their sums which I doubt, a certain atmos concentration) is OK; its saying that “a bit less than you can comfortably manage is OK”. The entire point of having an ETS scheme is that Big Gummint decides how much emissions are OK, and issues/sells permits to this level. It makes no sense at all to say “oh, well, since we’re all emitting less than expected we’ll artifically make permits scarce”. All that shows, if its correct, is that they got their calculations wrong in the first place. Which, arguably, they did; but that just shows how stupid the whole scheme is.]

Refs

* What on Earth is Sir David King talking about? – on the dangers of stepping outside your area of knowledge.
* Carbon taxes won’t work. Here’s what will – provides some extremely stupid arguments and poor thinking (h/t Brian).
* Some are still dumb enough to support the ETS.
* Which Is More Corrupt? Wall Street Or Congress?
* Brian is still pushing Cap-n_trade, though; and points at this for how glorious it is.
* Timmy points at The Most Sensible Tax of All in the NYT.
* Carbon Tax or Cap And Trade? Whichever Leaves Less Room For Politics And Corruption
* There will be any amount of special pleading to reserve carbon tax revenues for particular special interests. Here is one example of such pleading, that should be ignored.