Carbon Tax

Could a Clean Tax Cut Succeed Where Carbon Taxes Have Failed?

 

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — To say that the Trump’s administration’s disconnect from reality when it comes to climate change has created tensions both at home and abroad would be a vast understatement. Even fellow Republicans are uncomfortable with the extreme position taken by the president, one that totally defies well-established science. A number have openly broken from Trump in response to his decision to withdraw from the historic Paris agreement, including the governors of Massachusetts and Vermont,  who have joined the US Climate Alliance. Twelve states plus Puerto Rico, representing over 100 million Americans and one-third of the US GDP, have now formally joined the alliance, with ten other states expressing support. Altogether, those states represent 40% of the total US greenhouse gas emissions and one-third of US GDP.

Supporters of the withdrawal, are not questioning the science—in fact, they are not even talking about it. They are focused entirely on what they say the costs of compliance will be, with no mention of the cost of non-compliance. So how do we move forward on the policy front, with a bottom line-first, nothing-else-matters approach that only looks at one side of the balance sheet? Most attention has been focused on efforts to circumvent the president’s position which, as noted above, is substantial. But can anything be done at the Federal policy level?

It’s well known that after Trump is finished attempting to dismantle the health care system, his next target will be tax reform. Could there be an opening there?

A new proposal, born of conservative roots, called “clean tax cuts,” (CTC) just might have a chance. The proposal is the brain child of the Grace Richardson Fund, which seeks, “to spearhead new free market policy solutions to critical issues stuck in partisan gridlock.”

The key points to the proposal, which are spelled out here, are essentially a return of Reagan-style, supply-side tax cuts, only applied selectively to “all clean solutions.” The rationale behind it being, “if you want something more, tax it less.” The plan, which is described as “all carrot, no stick,” could be seen as a carbon tax turned on its head. Instead of punishing carbon usage, it rewards movement away from carbon. They claim it unites the interests of left and right: “ecology + tax cuts = clean capitalism.”

A Carbon Tax Would Get Us a Lot Closer to Where We Need to Be

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — We have seen impressive growth in renewables over the past several years, but much of that growth is based on the somewhat shaky foundation of continuing subsidies. So argues Eduardo Porter in the New York Times. Porter points out that while wind power added 13 GW of new capacity in 2012, only one additional GW was added in 2013. The reason why: expiration of the Production Tax Credit (PTC).

Referring to the rapid expansion in the market, Letha Tawney of World Resources Institute says, “any time there is uncertainty about the production tax credit, it all stops.”

According to the IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives report, their “annual progress report on global efforts to engineer a clean-energy transformation,” says that despite best efforts in many areas, “the carbon intensity of our energy supply is stuck.” Gains in renewables are being offset by added fossil fuel capacity. Furthermore, even where wind and solar PV are thriving, some of the other technologies, like offshore wind, geothermal, and biofuels have been lagging.

According to IEA Executive Director, Maria van der Hoeven, we have the technology and it is cost effective, but the political will is still lacking. How do we get people and governments in particular, to spend the money?

Here’s an analogy. Let’s say you just moved into a house that was built 30 years ago. The furnace in that house is very inefficient but it is still working. If you replaced the furnace today, you’d begin saving the money (and helping the planet) immediately. But how many of you, despite the fact that the investment can be shown to be cost effective in terms of payback, would still wait until the furnace breaks down before replacing it. That’s exactly where we are today on the clean energy journey. Even though these technologies can be shown to be cost-effective without incentives, it seems to take that extra push to move people to action.

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This is unrestrained, least-ethical, bottom-line capitalism…We have lost the notion of responsible capitalism." -- Sen. John Kerry, March 25, 2012

Fiddling While Earth Burns: Hopes for a Climate Deal Dashed in Durban

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Australia Passes Legislation To Make Its Economy More Sustainable

New legislation promises to make Australian economy more sustainable.

If You Had to Choose: Solve the Climate Crisis, Food Crisis or Financial Crisis?

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." -- Dr. Carl Sagan (1934-1996), cosmologist{1}

In a recent New York Times article, environmental blogger and reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal wonders, "Where did global warming go?"

Gigaton Awards Highlights Companies that Care About Climate Change

The first annual Gigaton Awards were given to businesses that care about action on climate change. Who won?

Carbon Tax--Should It Be Seriously Considered?

Coal would be Taxed under a Carbon Tax

In India, a New Carbon Tax Will Fund Renewable Energy

While industrialized countries delay, India is taking steps to reduce climate change. A new tax on coal will help.

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