24 Replies to “http://2ndthotz.dr-mikes-maths.com/2011/10/the-carbon-tax-debate/”

  1. The most arrogant thing I have heard in a long time is believing we actually have control over mother nature. Climate change is natural and normal. No amount of taxes, fear mongering or profiteering will change anything.

  2. @Dan, we aren’t talking about having “control”, we’re talking about having “a significant effect, desirable or otherwise”, and surely it’s clear we’ve done that. We changed the English countryside from forest to grassland, we’re clearing the Brazilian rainforest… what percentage of the USA is still in its natural state, and not farmland or city?

    Before industrialisation, atmospheric CO2 hovered between 200-280 ppm. Now it’s 380. While I agree that it would be arrogant to say “we are in control of the climate”, it’s not arrogant to say “this will have an effect”, nor to try to figure out what the effect will be.

    The science is settled, and we don’t have time for politics to dawdle behind.

    If that doesn’t persuade you, consider that China will have a carbon trading scheme in 2015, and will then be able to sanction WTO member countries who don’t also have carbon pricing legislation in place, including the USA. What effect do you think this will have on the US economy or their relations with China?

  3. Science is far, far from settled, and is an ideological led agenda for profiteering and fear mongering…one good, strong volcano has more impact on the climate than the combustion engine has for the entirety of it’s existence. The ebbs and flows of climate extremes have existed since the beginning of time…30 years ago I was being told as a child we were heading for an ice age. It’s ridiculous.

    That being said, it does sadden me to see such huge environment contributor such as the rain forest destroyed.

    I’ve worked with dozens and dozens of climatologists and meteorologists with hundreds of years of experience between them, all with valid points and reasons for their opinions, and no, the science is not settled…I will say though, media has done a pretty good job of portraying otherwise to people outside the industry to further the agenda of the wealthy influencers that be.

    I do believe it’s everyone job to act and live responsibly, conserve resources and take care of our planet, and I certainly do, but to portray it as some sort of “save the earth from apocalyptic eminent doom is just lies.

  4. Ok, let’s clarify two points to start with….

    Do you agree or disagree that industrialization has significantly increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere?

    Do you agree or disagree that average global temperatures have risen significantly since the 1960s?

  5. 1- Depending on your definition of “significant” doubtful, it has had impact but not nearly as much as mother nature herself over the whole of time.

    2- For a period of time, yes, now it’s cooling again and has been for a short period…it’s how mother nature works…and has always worked…this is based on weather data I worked with up until a few months ago.

  6. Ok, fine so far.

    1- The problem with anthopogenic climate change is not so much the amount, but the speed at which it happens. Doubling CO2 concentrations over 50000 years has a huge impact on climate, but a very slow one. Life can adapt. We’re on track to double it over 100 years. Mother nature has never done this, as far as we can tell, and many species can’t adapt that fast.

    2- what weather data was that? Was it the satellite data? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Satellite_Temperatures.png I think the dip in 2008 is still within the error bars on this trend…

    Next –

    Which of the following to you believe is closest to the truth –

    a) only a small number of climate scientists truly believe in climate change

    b) there is a lot of disagreement amongst climate scientists about whether the climate is changing at all.

    c) while a majority of climate scientists agree that the climate is changing, there’s a lot of disagreement about exactly why

    d) almost all climate scientsists agree that the climate is changing, and a majority agree that human activity is the cause

    e) with only a handful of exceptions, climate scientists agree that the climate is changing, and that human activity is the cause.

    f) it is patently obvious to everyone that the climate has changed, and that we did it.

    g) Oh my God! zihara’s house is flooded with seawater!! Someone make a disaster movie, quick!!

  7. See, that’s just it, I do believe we should look after the earth, and I do a lot, personally, and currently planning a $20,000 solar install on my house…but not to save the earth from eminent doom, but because it’s the right thing to do.

    Michael, I had a pretty long term contract in which it was my job to retrieve satellite data, parse it out into a usable format of pieces, store those pieces in a database, and then grab it and use that to build various way of charting and analyzing it…so I got pretty familiar…plus, while doing so met some pretty darn smart folks in the field. Actually, the single most interesting contract I’ve ever had.

    So, to answer your question, yes, of course the climate is changing, anyone would be a fool to argue that point, the points of contention for me is how much people have had an effect on it (seems about 3% of the change is human related) and how much we can do about it. From what I saw and had shown to me historically speaking, and models I’ve had explained by by people on all sides of the debate, it seems to me it would be A LONG TIME before anything tragic happened if it continued at the same rate, and it’s already reversing itself and has been for a couple years.

    I have heard radical fear mongers (forget exactly who) scream that within 5 years we are all gonna die in a ball of fire, you get guys like Al Gore that have a very obvious financial interest in carbon credit exchange which discredits him in my mind.

    Based on what I have seen, I believe that yes, it’s our responsibility to be responsible with resources, but only because even a parasite knows enough not to leech too much from it’s host and kill it, not because the world will burn up like the sun tomorrow if we don’t, and I wish the fear mongering and hype for profit would stop…and I, as a small government thinker, do not believe it’s anything that government should regulate.

    That is all, be well.

  8. Sure, but I don’t need, or want, some profiteering, hypocritical, blowhard lawmaker to tell me how and when I need to do it while they have conferences that they fly into with massive jets creating more of a carbon footprint in one day than a small country makes in a year.

  9. Yes, most of the severe effects of climate change are 50-100 years down the track – although we’re already suffering some problems in Australia that might be related.

    The point of a (**well-designed**) carbon tax or emissions trading scheme is threefold – I’ll write in more detail in a future blog post (not enough here) – but basically :

    * first of all, I can know far more easily if my actions are worth their negative environmental impact. At the moment, it’s very hard to tell.

    * secondly, even people unwilling to make changes for the sake of the environment will make changes for the sake of the cost savings, but only if the changes are actually worth it

    * thirdly, it’s up to individuals and companies to decide how best to change – the blowhard lawmakers step back and say “let the free market decide, now that the market failure is fixed”. Libertarians like you should jump at supporting pollution taxes or pollution permit trading schemes – they are the cheapest way to solve environmnetal problems with the least amount of government fiddling.

  10. Look me up on FB, I am far more of an opinionated jackhole there. 🙂

    There are already obscene taxes on carbon, the price is gasoline, at least in the US, is a huge percentage of taxes…libertarians will never jump on new taxes, we need less taxes, more money in the hands of consumers, and less money in the wasteful hands of lawmakers.

    We need less gubment and more personal responsibility, sadly, in this increasingly socialist society encourages nanny states, no personal responsibility and increasing reliance on gubment, while they drain us of our freedoms and wealth. If I want to drive a huge gas guzzling car, it’s my choice, the costs are filling my tank.

  11. in Oz, too, the Carbon Tax doesn’t apply to gasoline…. however, we already have a huge govt tax on petrol, more than the carbon tax would be.

    If you’re going to have any taxes, it’s better to have well-designed taxes that encourage people to take into account the external costs of their actions. However, we’re a loooooooong way from that ideal.

  12. In the US we do not have well designed taxes, we have extortion. I do not believe it’s government’s role to dictate such things. It’s their job to govern, not dictate.

  13. My immediate thought is that my true belief is taxing consumption, not income, but that would NEVER happen, so erring on the side of possible (though still not probable), I lean toward flat tax rate across the board, with no deductions or perks of any kind for any one…I believe corporation should be held to the same standards since the want the same rights as an individual. Seems to be the truest form of “fair” that would/could ever happen.

  14. I’d go with replacing all these other taxes with a simple, broad-based consumption tax too. Though if I thought it was likely to happen any time soon, I’d want to think about it more carefully. And I’d still want to tax negative externalities and subsidise positive ones 🙂

  15. An externality is a cost or benefit of a transaction that is borne/received by people other than those who make the transaction. For example, pollution is costly, but the costs often fall on people other than the polluters or those who use their products. Innovation is beneficial, but the innovators usually only get a small percentage of the benefit. No need for subjectivity here. An effective way to discourage pollution and encourage innovation would be to tax the former and subsidise the latter. We could weigh the benefits of doing so against the costs you point out (the potential for abuse is a cost) of having the tax/subsidy at all. Sometimes, it will be worth it. Since we’re talking ideals here, I claim immunity from practical objections.

  16. The “Sin Tax” (might be a US term, not sure) and subsidizing of projects, ideas, businesses, etc is a large part of what got the US in the situation it is. I believe everyone and everything lives or dies on it’s own merit. Things like pollution are handled by regulation, which, as a rule I don’t believe in much, but common sense regulation of wide scale damage (pollution is a good example) would not be objectionable…but when it gets to the place it currently is in the US, which is the government using it to forcibly pick winners and losers in technology and innovation, it’s an epic failure.

    Our president, whom I have little to no respect for, gave millions (of MY money) in subsidies to “green energy” firms (mostly solar) and a couple have went bankrupt…using subsidies to force the markets hand to go a direction it won’t naturally go is just wrong.

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