Thinking Citizen Blog — The Death of the Carbon Tax (age 47) at Its Home in Washington DC

Thinking Citizen Blog — Wednesday is Climate Change, the Environment, and Sustainability Day

Today’s Topic: The Death of the Carbon Tax (age 47) at Its Home in Washington DC

Why did the best fix for climate change die a premature death? Last month, an article in the Atlantic told the story. Today, some excerpts. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

ECONOMISTS LOVED THE IDEA; BROAD BASE OF ELITE SUPPORT

1. “Some 3,589 economists once declared it “the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions.”

2. “ In 2018, it helped William Nordhaus, a Yale professor and the author of several books about the policy, win the Nobel Prize in Economics.”

3. “The carbon tax won acclaim from self-described socialists and red-blooded libertarians, Democratic senators and Republican secretaries of state, Elon Musk and Janet Yellen.”

THE PROBLEM OF POLITICAL CAPITAL — TURNING THE INDIFFERENT INTO A FOE

1. “Carbon prices save dollars… But they expend an even scarcer resource: political capital.”

2. “Because a carbon price affects all of society, it increases costs for every energy consumer, without providing an immediate alternative.”

3. “Because most industries interact with the energy system only as consumers, that takes a cohort that wouldn’t care about climate policy in the abstract and turns it into a foe.”

NB: “The American carbon tax leaves behind dozens of supportive think-tank employees, thousands of politically engaged and idealistic Americans, and 3,589 dejected economists.”

A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE — a few exceptions

1. “With the exception of Canada, every country that has adopted carbon pricing has no major fossil-fuel industry, notes Nina Kelsey, a political scientist at George Washington University.”

2. “Coal-rich Australia once adopted a carbon price, then repealed it.”

3. “Only the Scandinavian countries — Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland — managed to pass and keep a carbon tax aimed at curbing emissions.” Is this true? See second link for country by country details. Experts, please clarify.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/07/obituary-carbon-tax-beloved-climate-policy-dies-47/619507/

https://taxfoundation.org/carbon-taxes-in-europe-2021/

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PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to climate change or the environment. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to climate change that the rest of us may have missed. Your favorite chart or table perhaps…

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.