San Francisco approves greenhouse emissions tax on business

From the “pay and your sins shall be forgiven” department…

FROM KTVU-TV in Oakland:

Officials Approve Controversial Greenhouse Gas Tax

SAN FRANCISCO — Air pollution regulators in the San Francisco Bay area voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve new rules that impose fees on businesses for emitting greenhouse gasses. 

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s board of directors voted 15-1 to charge companies 4.4 cents per ton of carbon dioxide they emit, an agency spokeswoman said. 

Experts say the fees, which cover nine counties in the Bay Area, are the first of their kind in the country. The new rules are set to take effect July 1. 

The modest fee probably won’t be enough to force companies to reduce their emissions, but backers say it sets an important precedent in combating climate change and could serve as a model for regional air districts nationwide. 

“It doesn’t solve global warming, but it gets us thinking in the right terms,” said Daniel Kammen, a renewable energy expert at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s not enough of a cost to change behavior, but it tells us where things are headed. You have to think not just in financial terms, but in carbon terms.” 

But many Bay Area businesses oppose the rules, saying they could interfere with the state’s campaign to fight global warming under a landmark law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.

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May 22, 2008 10:24 am

The title actually plays it down. BAAQMD governs the entire Bay region, from Gilroy to Santa Rosa and from Half Moon Bay to Altamont Pass. Over 6 million people are affected by this, not to mention, visitors.

May 22, 2008 10:25 am

Not to mention, price increases passed along to out of the area customers.

May 22, 2008 10:40 am

Nine counties in the bay area. Just like Reagan fought the commie creep, we are going to have to fight the climate creep.
So at an average temp of 57.1 degrees in San Francisco, what are the good people buying for 4.4 cents per ton of co2?

Jeff Alberts
May 22, 2008 10:48 am

Not to mention businesses leaving the area, and new businesses giving it second thoughts.
If this happens all across the country all our major business will continue to be shipped offshore, especially heavy industry.

Joe S
May 22, 2008 10:49 am

It doesn’t solve global warming
The tax wasn’t intended to cool the world. It’s the beginning of that newfound way for government to get folk’s money. Governments all over this earth are absolutely salivating at their revenue prospects these days.

May 22, 2008 11:00 am

Well, I guess one can only hope that the bastion of liberal/communist ideals that is California will one day detatch itself from the mainland by mercy of the San Andreas Fault and spare the rest of us normal folk from such insane principles (which seem to spread outward from Cali). As the Cali high court’s recent ruling on gay marriage illustrates, the power is no clearly longer with the people! These are sad, troubling times indeed when the government will so deliberately and openly over-ride the will of the populace…

(Gary G) Otter
May 22, 2008 11:02 am

‘what are the good people buying for 4.4 cents per ton of co2?’
Tickets to the Poor House.

Frank Ravizza
May 22, 2008 11:02 am

$4.00+/gal gas will do more to change behavior then a riduculous C02 emission tax.
REPLY: Hmmmm…ya think? See this.

May 22, 2008 11:15 am

I guess they’ll have to cancel Burning Man.
REPLY: Naw, they’ll just add a surcharge to the tickets to pay for the CO2 depravity that ticket grants them.

May 22, 2008 12:01 pm

This is a good one!-a perfect illustration of polititians in action.
By their own admission it will have no effect on climate nor will it likely affect behavior.
I think the most ironic part is that the tax WILL NOT BE USED to clean anything up! The money will be used to ‘measure emissions’? Is this a new agency? (They can’t say it’s a new agency because if the emissions are not now measured by another agency-how do they know they, the taxable emissions, actually exist?)
Translation: Tax Businesses to Create More Government.
Ummm…how will this be audited? Who sets the standard? How will they know if an individual business has underpaid? Isn’t CO2 (human exhalation) considered a pollutant? Is a tax going to be charged based upon the number of employees breathing on premisis? …If so-isn’t the largest employer the Gov’t? Is the Gov’t going to levy this tax on itself?
Don’t even get me started on city busses and garbage trucks!

Pierre Gosselin
May 22, 2008 12:09 pm

Absurd! absurd! absurd!

May 22, 2008 12:28 pm

Since most of the tens of thousands of Bay Area businesses will pay only a dollar or two. I recommend two things to send a message, and I may just help to promote this.
1. Send payment in pennies.
2. Send completed calculation on paper with one word or number per page.

May 22, 2008 12:32 pm

No no no no no no. This is a good thing. The last time SF was up to societal modification for no apparent reason, (they paid homeless a monthly wage to live in the city – not to work – just to live there) it cleared out the streets of Sacramento of pan handlers. Eventually it led to a real estate boom too, as the somewhat normal people of SF decided to become commuters from the Sac area.
I’m predicting a simular boom for commercial real estate in the Sacto area in the near future.

Robert Wood
May 22, 2008 1:34 pm

Since when did The Bay Area Air Quality Management District have the right to taxation, without representation too.

David Walton
May 22, 2008 1:41 pm

Re: “It doesn’t solve global warming, but it gets us thinking in the right terms,” said Daniel Kammen, a renewable energy expert at the University of California, Berkeley.”
Feel good legislation and punishment based social engineering is precisely what the “green”, AGW crowd, and most so-called “environmentalists” are all about. What they propose won’t solve any problems but justifies their existence and salaries.
[snip] Just wait until the state based carbon extortion scheme starts hosing business down. The exodus to come is nothing compared to what it is now.

May 22, 2008 2:00 pm

Yeah, I think that they are doing it now and fast, before the idea of AGW vs CO2 begin to be laughingstock in a couple of months.
And when a tax is voted it is forever !

David S
May 22, 2008 2:05 pm

When the federal income tax started in 1913 the top rate was only 7%. By 1917 it was over 70%. This CO2 tax is a “foot in the door” appproach. Once they set the precedent then the rate can go up and up and up, and spread to other states and maybe the federal government too. Hold on to your wallets!

Alan S. Blue
May 22, 2008 2:19 pm

I have 42 Dryopteris bissetiana, 83 Dryopteris celsa, 72 Dryopteris erythrosora, a Sequioa, three Douglas Firs and two acres of ‘blue grass’. My business’s electrical needs are off-grid and new carbon sinks.
Enclosed please find a bill for eliminating 24 tons of carbon dioxide a year. See also the section on late fees and non-compliance fees.

May 22, 2008 2:48 pm
The big oil refineries will pay the lion’s share. For example the annual fee for Shell will be more than $195,000.
The following are some examples of what some businesses can expect to pay each year.
# United Airlines: a little over $5,035
# PG&E power plant in San Francisco: more than $13,725
# Anheuser-Busch in Fairfiled: just over $1,858
# Guadalupe Rubbish Disposal Company in San Jose: $1,388

Consumers can expect to pay more for oil, airfare, utilities, rubbish disposal, and beer.
Sometimes I wish San Francisco would just secede from the Union.

May 22, 2008 3:36 pm

Well lets see the economic growth of san fran stall as business realises the loony fringe have taken over. Might be a good thing as other cities dont want to ruin themselves like San Fran is doing

May 22, 2008 4:37 pm

I recall reading a recent business article stating businesses have been leaving California in droves because of taxes and excess regulations. Many are heading to Nevada, Arizona, and even Colorado. Many others are simply folding their tents and going out of business. This absurd tax will simply accelerate the move.
Jack Koenig, Editor
The Mysterious Climate Project

May 22, 2008 5:25 pm

Re: Echo3Skywalker (11:00:22) :
Unfortunately, the way the fault system runs, it will actually result in Southern Cal, and with it, Orange County,the last bastion of normalcy, being part of the new island nation while most of the Bay Area would remain attached to the mainland. But don’t hold your breath … 4 million years is a very long time.

May 22, 2008 5:30 pm

Robert Wood (13:34:57) :
I long for the day, if ever, that the Federal Government will get local radicals back in line with the Constitution, on this and a number of additional issues (e.g. sanctuary cities, etc). Back in the Stone Age, before the “glorious revolution” of the 1960s, Federal Troops were sent in in response to this sort of illegal behavior on the parts of local governments. But alas, no more.
It is also notable that BAAQMD is an unaccountable, non elected body.
Oh, the joys of de facto, informal “regional government.” (/sarc).

May 22, 2008 5:45 pm

Realize of course that this is not The City of SF doing this. I write this in response to some of the comments I see. This is one of those megalithic “regional bodies” across the entire megalopolis, encompassing not only SF proper, but Oakland, SJ, and all the mass of sprawling suburbs and even a few exurbs. An area the size of Belgium, encompassing 6 – 7 million people, is “regulated” by this. If I recall correctly, the BAAQMD was commissioned back in the late 1960s or early 1970s, as part of a state level Air Quality Act, at the same time as similar bodies, such as the South Coast AQMD, the Sacramento AQMD, etc. Don’t know if it was Pat Brown, or Ronald Reagan, who signed it. The BAAQMD is not an elected body, it is appointed (I believe there are either a certain number of appointees apportioned to each county, or, if not, it is done at the State level, in any case, these are appointed bureaucrats with no real legal authority, in the strictly Constitutional sense).

May 22, 2008 6:26 pm

As much as I would like to see this nonsense greeted by a mass exodus of business from the Bay Area, what I think more likely will be clone legislation in Portland and Seattle followed by similar tax grabs in other major urban centers dominated by like-minded green idiots.
What then? Where will the businesses go?
REPLY: Texas, China, Mexico

Jeff Alberts
May 22, 2008 6:33 pm

$4.00+/gal gas will do more to change behavior then a riduculous C02 emission tax.

Not really. I still have to drive to work, so does my wife. Still have to drive to the landfill a couple times a month. Still have to go grocery shopping. It just means people who can’t afford it will really suffer. I can afford it, so it won’t affect me.

May 22, 2008 7:25 pm

RE; Doug (15:36:45)
It is sadly ironic that in fact, in the actual City of SF, in the belly of the beast, as one local talk host puts it, there is very little actual industry left. It’s all finance (downtown) small retail, movie theatres, restaurants, NGOs, strip clubs, etc. Meanwhile, in places like Petaluma, Rodeo, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Fremont, Milpitas, Fairfield, etc, where there are still real factories making real things, and / or refineries making special “environmentally sentitive” fuel blends for the Priuses of Marin, the SF Peninsula, Berkeley, et al, I’d imagine that if you actually polled the population, many are not in favor of this. Point pistol at foot, release safety, shoot.

May 22, 2008 7:48 pm

Ok, Sadlov, you’ve stepped over the line if you are starting to dis strip clubs!

May 22, 2008 8:45 pm

Perhaps the capital will go to China or Mexico, but what about the small businessmen who are the backbone of the economy? And Texas? Why would they go there, when the cites there are run by same bunch of luddites?

May 22, 2008 8:51 pm

OT, latest on the Chaiten eruption. Very interesting.

Mike Kelley
May 22, 2008 8:52 pm

Despite all the alleged global warming, here in Montana we have a cold rain falling, and it is snowing higher up in the foothills. It kind of feels like some of the springs we had back in the 1970’s.

May 22, 2008 9:07 pm

While this is absolutely idiotic, it is not surprising. Any of the board of supervisors who voted against this would have been hammered in the local paper and likely not re-elected. The ultimate goal of these people is to stay in office, not lead. They are about pandering, not making tough decisions.

May 22, 2008 9:08 pm

“It’s all finance (downtown) small retail, movie theatres, restaurants, NGOs, strip clubs, etc.”
Except for SFO. This is aimed at the airlines and the cab companies.

David S
May 22, 2008 10:52 pm

“Sometimes I wish San Francisco would just secede from the Union.”
Maybe we could trade them to Canada in exchange for Vancouver… or maybe just a case of Labatts Blue.

May 23, 2008 12:18 am

Maybe we could trade them to Canada in exchange for Vancouver… or maybe just a case of Labatts Blue.
I can just picture a Canadian working the swap, “Well, I don’t know… I really like my beer.”

May 23, 2008 2:26 am

[i]”The big oil refineries will pay the lion’s share. For example the annual fee for Shell will be more than $195,000.
The following are some examples of what some businesses can expect to pay each year.
# United Airlines: a little over $5,035″[/i]
How will Shell pay such a huge tax/fine? Don’t they earn that amount every minute?
And a whole $5000 for United Airlines? My God!!!! Won’t somebody think of the children!?!? How will they afford $5000 per year?!?!?
Clearly this is just a way of extorting more money. $5000 per annum to a company like United is in no way an incentive to “go green”.
[i]“It doesn’t solve global warming, but it gets us thinking in the right terms,” said Daniel Kammen, a renewable energy expert at the University of California, Berkeley.”[/i]
Isn’t he a little biased given his chosen field? I wonder what the AGW crowd would have said if the Oil expert at the university (sponsored by Exxon) spoke out against it?

May 23, 2008 6:29 am

Californians deserve to starve and freeze in the dark.
REPLY: Did I mention I’m from California? -Anthony

May 23, 2008 6:49 am

Seems discriminatory to me. Why shouldn’t this tax be applied to the citizens of SF as well? After all they directly produce CO2….. and their contribution should be accounted for … maybe all residents of SF should be required to plant enough trees to compensate for the CO2 they are rudely shoving into the atmosphere.

May 23, 2008 6:59 am

Climate creep & commie creep are synonymous in SF. They’re called “Watermelon Greens:” Green on the outside, red on the in. And in SF it’s no mean exaggeration or joke.
Worry not, the tide will eventually turn in SF as taxes go through the roof as businesses leave SF to never come back.
The crap in SF is piling up…. Red Gavin (mayor of SF, not RC) has already banned SF muni govt from the purchase of water bottles and is proposing yet more recycling and garbage mandates (fines, imprisonment) in hopes of pushing SF’s 70% waste stream diversion to 75%. Then there’s the whole Marine recruiting office imbroglio completely underwritten by the SF City Council, replete with functional police protection for the radicals, etc.
Britain is fully in the throes of an anti-Kyoto rebellion. After years of new Kyoto-sanctioned taxes in excess of per capita carbon footprints, London voters kicked out Red Ken in what was arrogantly framed as a “green referendum” turned into an anti-Kyoto rout. Gordon Brown is facing a major political crisis due to excessive Kyoto taxes, he’s rescinding gas taxes in hopes of stemming Labor’s political hemorrhaging but it’s too little too late. The polity is in a very foul mood against anyone or anything daring to peep the name “Kyoto.” The Brits live under an increasingly oppressive situation – a misplaced apple core in the recycling bin earns a criminal record. So the Brits have good cause for rebellion and NZ isn’t far behind. Other countries in Europe may be next. Canada is facing UNFCCC sanctions for CO2 reporting nonconformance as Greece was last year.
The plan will hit the fan, it’ll just take a bit more time.

Jeff Alberts
May 23, 2008 7:13 am

Or at least trade them for the ladies in Vancouver, rwowwwrrrr 😉

May 23, 2008 8:04 am

Let’s have a contrarian moment: Although this tax is being pushed in under the cover of global warming, it actually is moving the cost of pollution abatement back toward the polluter. Historically polluters have relied on the general public to bear the costs through private losses and government mitigation (think acid rain damage to property and heavy metals in Superfund sites). Now the polluters themselves are going to pay some of the costs. Of course, they pass the charges on to consumers, but ‘consumers’ have been bearing the costs anyway. This is at least a little more efficient because it isn’t filtered and overcharged by the bureaucratic maze. OTOH, the bureaucratic maze is likely to complicate and distort this new process so that it is at least as inefficient and misdirected (eg, by bad definitions of pollution). [Call me a pessimist, but long observation suggests reforms often are worse than the original problem ;-)]
The lesson is to have minimum government interference, and then only for the things that count – like protection of life, limb, and property from the actions of others.

May 23, 2008 8:34 am

No such luck, SF is on the N. American plate, east of the San Andreas.

May 23, 2008 8:35 am

I read yesterday that Ford is cutting back on it’s production of trucks and SUV’s.

May 23, 2008 8:50 am

Jeff Alberts (18:33:14) :
Not really. I still have to drive to work, so does my wife. Still have to drive to the landfill a couple times a month.

So $4 gas won’t affect how you drive? Less leadfooting it?
It won’t affect when you drive, morning or evening so you won’t use the AC as much.
It won’t affect your shopping habits? Fewer trips for just a few things. Stopping at several stores in one trip vs. seperate trips for each?
It won’t give you an incentive to make sure your tires are properly inflated and your engine is in tune?
When it’s time to buy a new car, it won’t give you incentive to look a little harder at the mileage ratings?

May 23, 2008 8:52 am

I’d be willing to trade California, Oregon and Washington for the three Western Provinces of Canada. Alberta, Ontaria(??), and ???

May 23, 2008 8:54 am

REPLY: Did I mention I’m from California? -Anthony

When you come to your senses, you are still welcome with the rest of us.
(Did I meantion that I’m from California)

May 23, 2008 8:56 am

Clearly this is just a way of extorting more money. $5000 per annum to a company like United is in no way an incentive to “go green”.

Yup. It is really about using a politically popular “hook” to extract more revenue. Now if today the word went out that the “carbon footprint” doesn’t impact climate one iota and in fact improves global food production do you think they would reverse it? Not a chance. It’s revenue baby and it’s all theirs now.
I went to a book fair at my children’s elementary school and there were three different books on prominent display whose objective was the teach the children what they could do to “fight” global warming. I just shook my head. This kids are being fed this stuff from kindergarten on through graduation. It is going to be so hard to deprogram them. And once they are taught that was wrong, they will question everything else they have been taught. I am really ashamed of our educators on this issue.

Bill in Vigo
May 23, 2008 9:05 am

A tax is a tax. Here in the little town close to where I live they had a hospital years ago and it was operating in the red. The cure to keep the hospital was by the city fathers to impose a 1% sales tax in the city corporation limits.
The hospital closed its doors more than 11 years ago. (that is how long I have lived here and it was before that.) When asked by the citizenry why the tax was still in place the answer. We can’t afford to reascend it. Giving the impression that it was probably miss used all along. We are still paying a 1% sales tax to support a hospital that has been gone for a very long time.
By the way the hospital is now the property of the city and the city is the largest owner of real property in the city. Make one wonder why 4 of 5 manufacturing firms have move out of the city or just closed their doors. Since I have been here we have suffered more than 6000 lost jobs. People used to come here from surrounding areas to work. They used our stores and businesses. No more. At one time the city was population over 10,000 it is now less than 5000 and people are moving away. Many houses for sale for extended time and bank repos in many cases. Rent cost hasn’t dropped due to mortgage rates and property taxes. (You can’t refinance for a lower rate if your income is no longer adequate for the loan.)
Judging by the effects of taxes here while not the complete cause have certainly contributed to the loss of employment, small businesses, and population.
Bill Derryberry

May 23, 2008 9:14 am

I never understood how one can be green and against CO2. CO2 feeds all the plant life on the planet and without it all plants would die (as would aminals and people as a result). Furthermore, nature’s CO2-O2 cycle is the ultimate recycling model, animals and humans breathe O2 in and CO2 out, plants absorb CO2 and through photosynthesis use the carbon to grow and emit O2 for aniamls and humans to breathe and live, what could be more perfect. And now some humans, of all things, claim that CO2 is a pollutant….bizarre or just deranged?

May 23, 2008 10:21 am

Look for businesses to move out, and the economy of the Bay Area to start to tank.
it will be a good example of the “real cost” of CO2 deception.

May 23, 2008 10:54 am

Jupiter has developed a third red spot.
Berkeley is calling it climate change.
“The appearance of the planet’s cloud system from just north of the equator down to 34 degrees south latitude keeps surprising us with changes and, in particular, with new cloud features that haven’t been previously observed,” Marcus said. “Whether or not Jupiter’s climate has changed due to a predicted warming, the cloud activity over the last two and a half years shows dramatically that something unusual has happened.”
via Tom Nelson

Mike from Canmore
May 23, 2008 11:13 am

If you want Vancouver, you do realizes we are getting are own carbon tax starting in July. You get it lock, stock an barrel. No cherry picking allowed!!

May 23, 2008 11:22 am

Holy crap. How many tons of pollutant does a company create in order for the 4.4 cent a ton to be costly. This is freaking scary. It’s a whole ton. Why not fine them $100.00 a ton.
How many tons a year does the average car produce?

May 23, 2008 11:34 am

Hooray for San Francisco!
It’s great to see such environmental leadership from California, showing that individual states can make a difference where the national administration has stalled all progress.
Thanks for this marvellously positive news. Proves that there is more to America than ignorant self-interest at the expense of the global environment.

Bruce Cobb
May 23, 2008 11:39 am

“You have to think not just in financial terms, but in carbon terms.” Yes, by all means. Whatever you do, don’t think about the cost, let alone the uselessness and sheer idiocy of trying to reduce C02 levels. Trust us, those in power to do your thinking for you. Would we steer you wrong? There, there, don’t fret, it’s just a few pennies more, and besides, it’s for our planet. You do like our planet, don’t you? I knew you did.

May 23, 2008 12:26 pm

This is good for Michigan.

May 23, 2008 12:35 pm

“Maybe we could trade them to Canada in exchange for Vancouver… or maybe just a case of Labatts Blue.”
We don’t want them either and NO you can’t have my beer, unless you want to trade us for Vegas, and then we can talk (I might even throw in some Tim Horton donuts!!)

Tom in Texas
May 23, 2008 12:56 pm

Deadwood05: “And Texas? Why would they go there, when the cites there are run by same bunch of luddites?”
The #1 produce of Austin is watermellons. The rest of this very large state will
welcome Calif. companies.

May 23, 2008 1:31 pm

OK, I am in the carbon industry, and even I think these folks are BAAQinG MaD.
This is exactly the kind of thing that makes and absolute mess of more significant policy efforts. Other carbon taxes are revenue neutral, and this one is going to raise the princely sum of $4.4-million annually? And how much will it cost to police and collect? Did anyone do an ROI on this?
Think! And act in concert with others.

Arthur and Amy
May 23, 2008 2:54 pm

This one time, I stepped on a rake. Cartoon physics are sometimes correct; don’t do it.

Retired Engineer
May 23, 2008 6:27 pm

Re: jeez (19:48:49)
If the strip club is close to good, the patrons breathe faster. Elevated metabolism, more CO2, more tax.
David S (14:05:41) : I think the original income tax was only 2%, on the very highest incomes. By 1940 it was 90% of the last dollar earned for those folks.
This is more of the camel’s nose under the tent. Another source of revenue to fund boondoggles. Politicians can’t sleep at night, worrying that they have left one dime untaxed.

Tom in Florida
May 23, 2008 8:37 pm

While we are on the subject of government lunacy, let me tell you about one of Florida’s nutty laws. It is illegal in Florida to walk WITH the traffic where there are no sidewalks. You must walk against traffic and not only have people been fined, they have been taken into custody. Recently passed by the Sarasota City Council: The City of Sarasota will no longer hire anyone who smokes at any time. The have given themselves the power to test employees to determine if they have smoked in the past 48 hours. The City of Sarasota has also just passed a stronger vehicle noise ordinance. If you play your music too loud your car can be impounded on the spot by a police officer. No evidence needed, just the Officer’s word. The nuts are not all in California.

Evan Jones
May 23, 2008 9:37 pm

Now if today the word went out that the “carbon footprint” doesn’t impact climate one iota and in fact improves global food production do you think they would reverse it? Not a chance. It’s revenue baby and it’s all theirs now.
It’s just stupid. They already overtax. That means when they raise taxes, they get a little more in the short rub, and then less in the long run as wealth is “uncreated”.
Either revenue is lost or less revenue is gained.
I am a liberal who wants to extract as much money as humanly possible out of the rich. The solution to the current situation is to CUT TAXES, then stand back as the economy responds and piles of extra revenue pour in.
It’s not a matter of liberal vs. conservative. It’s called Remedial Economics for Dummies 001. It is maddening that there are still fools out there who think a 5% tax hike will get them 5% more revenue (rather than actually reduce revenue as it kills business).
These idiots are mindlessly killing the economy a piece at a time. Suppose GW is a serious threat. How in Sam Hill would we solve it without improved wealth and technology? Not only are they killing our future but they are leaving us disarmed in the fight to improve the environment.

David S
May 23, 2008 10:19 pm

“Maybe we could trade them to Canada in exchange for Vancouver… or maybe just a case of Labatts Blue.”
We don’t want them either and NO you can’t have my beer, unless you want to trade us for Vegas, and then we can talk (I might even throw in some Tim Horton donuts!!)
Hmmm, Well we don’t want to trade Vegas but how about if we reduce the price on San Fran to a six pack and a couple of day old donuts?
We’ll return the empty bottles too.

David S
May 23, 2008 10:39 pm

Retired Engineer
I think my 7% number is correct.
I agree with you about the nose of the camel under the tent. I would just suggest that the best solution is to drop something really heavy on the camel’s nose, maybe a law suit challenging the authority of unelected bureaucrats to levy taxes and seeking a huge financial settlement.

May 23, 2008 11:51 pm

It is almost June and here in Michigan we have no mosquitoes!
Come to think of it, I haven’t seen much of any flying insects this Spring, even flies in our barn and bees too. We had a week or so in April that brought out the windshield splatters, but that’s about it.
Normally we’re out spraying for wasps all around the barn by Memorial weekend; not this year.

old construction worker
May 24, 2008 3:28 am

“Other carbon taxes are revenue neutral”……?
Then why have the tax in the first place? In reality, when I rear some say this tax or fee will be revenue neutral, I have learn to hold on to my wallet. Taxes or fees are only revenue neutral until the ink drys on the paper work.
I hope that California taxes becomes so heavy that more business move out. Ohio sure needs the the jobs.

Robert Ray
May 24, 2008 5:08 am

Create a tax, use the revenue from the tax to create jobs to enforce and expand the tax. Use the increased revenue to create more jobs to enforce and expand the tax. It appears that tax models also use feedbacks or is it forcing.

May 24, 2008 6:09 am

No, these politicians have achieved the ultimate in taxation. We used to joke that, if left to their own devices, politicians would tax breathing. These guys have done it. Or at least they are close.
They call it pollution because, if they can get people to accept that absurdity of CO2 as a ‘pollutant’ (one of the great logical fallacies ‘repeat something often enough and people will start to believe it’) it will be easier to get them to accept the cost of ‘doing something about it’. Far easier to get people to accept doing something about a substance that is ‘polluting’ the air than to get them to do something about a substance that is essentially benign and beneficial. When faced with this absurd claim by AGW friends (who think I’m a quite mad flat earther) I simply ask if CO2 is a ‘pollutant’, why greenhouse operators keep the level of CO2 pollution in their greenhouses at 1000ppm? This seems to cause no end of consternation, followed by much head shaking and lamenting that I am a right wing tool of Big Oil (I preferred the days when they called me a ‘lackey of capitalist, imperialist, hegemonic, bosses’ — circa 1968-1975).

May 24, 2008 6:34 am

Well doneSF, and may the rest of the major cities follow suit!!
Could be timely as the masking of global warming by the cooling phase of natural cycles will soon be over. Nobody on this blog has mentioned this…(surprise?!) but the Arctic ice cover is now down on last years historic low with marked decrease in ice around the west Greenland coast and the Canadian ice sheet The cracks are showing well at ground level
It seems I was correct in blaming the increased extent of Arctic ice this winter on the ice melt diluting the sea water thus increasing the freezing point.
The first rise in atmospheric methane levels for a decade could suggest that the melting of parts of the Asian permafrost are starting to release very significant levels of methane.
Any way the less fossil fuels burned the less money in the hands of OPEC, now that must be an incentive to conserve fuel!!

Frank Ravizza
May 24, 2008 9:22 am

It’s not very ‘global warming’ friendly weather here in Northern California. Right now it’s drizzly with temperatures hanging around the middle 50s. Last Saturday it was 105 F. How’s that for climate change?
Anthony, what’s the meteorologist explanation for this weather? I know last week there was a power high pressure region over the middle US. That caused the high temperatures. However, as that high pressure dissipated it created weather disturbances, tornados, storms ect. The satellite map show the clouds are circulating over the North West, and at the moment stalled over Northern California. It also looks like there are some clouds (moisture) over the Pacific that could get drawn in later.

May 24, 2008 9:26 am

Hmmm… yet the city isn’t worried about its Wi-Fi pollution:
Maybe they’ll invest some of that money into getting a hypoallergenic Wi-Fi system? 😉
Anthony, are you the only sane person living in that state?

May 24, 2008 9:33 am

Actually that was Santa Fe but what the heck, SF is still SF not to mention it is also the abbreviation for science fiction .

May 24, 2008 12:59 pm

90% of the Arctic thaw has been caused by soot deposition. Around a third of the ongoing thaw is due to dirty snow thawing earlier and earlier due to soot.
The Facts Please:
Up to 90 percent of the centennial Arctic thaw appears to be due to soot, with the Arctic ice loss constituting nearly 19 PERCENT of ALL global warming since the 19th Century (Zender, Hansen, Ramanathan).
A black iceberg & melting snow
Woods Hole published photos of ice lakes in Greenland and I could see that the snow & ice were as dirty as the shoveled mounds of snow in NYC after a good snow.
– CURRENT black carbon heating effect in the Arctic is equal to CO2’s effective warming effect in the Arctic (air & sea).
Zender’s opening statement comes about a third into the video, after Ramanathan
– Historical Effects: Up to 90 percent of the historical Arctic thaw has been due to soot (the past 200 years). “… The effect is more conspicuous in Arctic areas, where Zender believes that more than 90 percent of the centennial warming could be attributed to dirty snow.” The *ongoing* effect of soot is around one-third of all warming effects in the Arctic, but the centennial effect could be as high as 94 percent.
Both figures are actually consistent with each other: The current 33% effect is an ongoing progressive amount, the 90% effect is a historical figure from compounded decimation (especially when historical CO2-driven warming was relatively small).
– The Earth has warmed about 0.8 degree Celsius. Dirty snow contributed 0.1 to 0.15 degrC increase, up to 19 percent of the total warming
– The Arctic has warmed about 1.6 degrees, with dirty snow causing 0.5 to 1.5 degrees warming, potentially as much as 94 percent of the observed change.
– New snows lose their rejuvenating effect on aging ice packs, no longer being perennially young and bright.
– Warming a patch of Arctic ground triggers more climate change than warming a comparable patch of ground that isn’t covered by snow in lower latitudes. That is if the small region of the poles were kept from warming by a few degrees, it would keep climate more stable than keeping a similar-size region of the tropics from warming,” he said.
– Nations that encircle the Arctic, including the United States, Canada and Russia, could get more bang for the buck by reducing soot in the Arctic than by reducing greenhouse gases elsewhere.
[a great amount of soot from East Asia is making its way up into the Arctic as well, and may equal or exceed the contributions from the USA & Canada]
– Contemporary Effects: One third of the current ongoing Arctic thaw is due to soot.
“Keeping the poles cold is a great place to start … Preserving the climate in the poles is very important now relative to any other piece of real estate on the planet.”
McDonnell/Edwards study on the different effects by soot type:
Essentially Zender is saying that in the Arctic the benefits of significant soot mitigation would be like cutting CO2 levels by a third (or more). The efficacy of soot mitigation is far greater, however, because soot mitigation has an immediate effect, as opposed to waiting 50 years for the effects of an equivalent reduction of CO2 now.
Charlie Zender:
With a paucity of data you AGWers are ready to fall over for the most draconian, costly and invasive crash-program ever dreamt of by the proponents of big gov’t, wealth redistribution and social control.

May 24, 2008 1:16 pm

Al Gore gives his pitch:
(This was hard for me to watch … it made my eyes bleed & ears ache )

May 24, 2008 4:14 pm

Soot, Co2, all comes from the same man made sources, the burning of fosil fuels. Nice to see you agree that human activities are causing the arctic to melt rapidly!

Michael Ronayne
May 24, 2008 4:48 pm

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”
Ayn Rand; Atlas Shrugged 1957
This has nothing to do Global Warming or saving the Polar Bears and everything to do with being made inmates in a planet wide Gulag. If they want to treat us like criminals then let us all strive to be the very best criminals our talents will allow.

May 24, 2008 5:17 pm

You forgot to mention (and MikeK seems to have ignored as well) the extent of Antarctic sea ice reaching ‘uprecedented’ levels, i.e., an all time record for sea ice extent last year and it continues this year unabated.
MikeK, I’m wondering why you think the ‘natural cycle that’s masking AGW’ will end soon? Given that Solar Cycle 23 is 12.5 years and counting with the no major activity on the Sun since 2005 and Cycle 24 expected to be quiet (usual behavior after an extended cycle) I don’t have the expectation of any warming for at least the next 10 years and I have to say it seems to me that this is showing rather pointedly that the climate is not as sensitive to CO2 as the IPCC would have us believe.

May 24, 2008 10:39 pm

From about 1980-1999 NASA (you know, Hansen’s mob) claim that the Arctic was losing 193,000 km2 per year. Starting about 2000 that number tripled. Using all their neat satellite and other data acquisition, they determined that the primary reason for this tripling was a change in winds that loaded the annual broken up ice into normal currents that swept it to warmer waters where it melted. The longer this occurs the less thick old ice is left and the easier it is for the next year to melt further.
I don’t see a heck of a lot to blame people for in that scenario, do you??

Bruce Cobb
May 25, 2008 4:55 am

Soot, Co2, all comes from the same man made sources, the burning of fosil fuels.
Nice try, MK. Soot is an actual pollutant, caused by incomplete combustion. Most of it comes from south Asia and is readily lofted to the NP. A great deal of it also comes from the burning of biomass or vegetation. Clearing of rain forest in order to grow corn, soy, etc. for biofuels is a large source.
AGWers love, love, love to conflate C02 with pollution, but it’s all a big lie.

May 25, 2008 9:47 am

It was a quick one-off post.
Indeed I expect the Arctic to show some kind of ice recovery b/c of the approx. 2:1 annual emissivity-to-insolation of open water near the poles. I’d also think the reversed currents & warm AO will shift as well, help ice recovery. I keep reading conflicting reports about unusual new faults in the last big ice shelf so I’m staying a bit agnostic about it all – thick ice vs. thin ice, etc. KuhnKat however, made an excellent point.
The reason I push the point about soot is that there are real field data demonstrating its net heating effects on ice and in the air.
The field data against CO2, on the other hand, are sketchy b/c of complexity … the seeming inability of the field to gather definitive field data on water vapor feedbacks and ocean heat content doesn’t favor a case for strong evidence of a worst-case CO2 warming scenario (2.6+ degr C).

May 25, 2008 10:07 am

> Soot, Co2, all comes from the same man made
> sources, the burning of fosil fuels. Nice to see
> you agree that human activities are causing
> the arctic to melt rapidly!
Thanks for sticking with us.
The difference between CO2 & soot is that soot is readily abated from smokestack & tailpipe emissions.
The environmentalist view on this is that the battle is against CO2 & soot will follow along. Taken on face value the claim that CO2 levels pose a hazard, if CO2 emissions can’t be brought down quickly then that much-cited window of opportunity will close. Soot abatement widens that window of opportunity by a significant margin, and its cheap, cost-effective and imminently feasible. For the time being, CO2 mitigation is not.
Note how the big environmentalists orgs are lumping CO2 & soot under the rubric of “carbon emissions.” I believe they’re doing this is for fear of diluting their message about CO2 (I remember EDF had a big blog entry on soot a year back). Soot is the carbon that must not be named.
If the environmentalists were true to their word they wouldn’t use the polar bears as the thin wedge in their campaign against CO2, they’d immediately cite soot as the bears’ greatest current threat. They won’t. So either the bears aren’t terribly threatened -or- the environmentalists are holding a gun to the polar bears’ heads.
Ask them about soot and they’ll reply that the evidence against soot isn’t established, is new, needs validation, etc. That’s baloney, the evidence against it has been piling up since 2001. That’s real field data, not weak circumstantial evidence underpinning a hypothesis that has been shown to have serious flaws. Even James Hansen has stopped using climate models in making his predictions.
The enviro organizations have galvanized their constituents and don’t want to shift rationale one iota. Is that cynical or battle strategy? I have to wonder. In the meantime, until some rationality is injected into the discussion, you won’t hear much about soot. I hope that will soon change.

retired engineer
May 25, 2008 11:14 am

re: David S (22:39:04)
7% is correct, for folks who made over $500,000 (in 1913!) Much lower for realistic incomes. The Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act of 1894 set a 2% tax on incomes over $4000. It was thrown out (imagine the SC tossing a tax out today) 16th amendment fixed that.
How can a brand new tax be revenue neutral? What did they repeal?
As for all that soot: China is the largest consumer of coal and they are exempt from Kyoto. I doubt they have the same ash and soot recovery standards as the U.S. What’s al-Gore doing about that?

May 25, 2008 1:38 pm

Hi Bruce
Conflation is the tactic du jour. Polar bears be darned, soot is the carbon that must not be named.
Huge plumes of soot, mercury, arsenic, sulfates & nitrates from E. Asia are crossing the Pacific & are being further lofted into the Arctic.
I look at some of the unqualified statements made about CO2 and I have to wonder about the quality of science being done. For instance, the oceans are going to acidify from CO2 absorption, but their CO2 capacity diminishes substantially as they warm. That is the oceans are supposed to lose CO2 as they warm, not gain & become more acidic. So what could currently be making the oceans more acidic? Could it be sulfiric and nitric acid from clouds of aerosols instead? If 50% of the mercury deposition in the American West Coast is from China, what else is falling into the sea before it makes landfall?
Aerosols? Acid rain?

May 25, 2008 3:22 pm

At least in my state, an unelected body may not impose a tax. The power of taxation cannot be delegated by an elected body to a non elected agency. Taxation without representation.
The closet thing I could find the the California Constitution was
SEC. 11. (a) The Legislature may not delegate to a private person
or body power to make, control, appropriate, supervise, or interfere
with county or municipal corporation improvements, money, or
property, or to levy taxes or assessments, or perform municipal

May 25, 2008 4:32 pm

Here is some more of that “AGW” my wack job neighbors in San Francisco are trying to fight!!
10 inches of snow in the Sierras closing passes that are normally open, sunny, warm, and dry for Memorial Day Weekend!!

Evan Jones
May 25, 2008 4:46 pm

Could be timely as the masking of global warming by the cooling phase of natural cycles will soon be over.
PDO is a thirty year cycle. Soon to be followed by a cool AMO. That’s around a 40-year cycle. (And then there’s AO, and NAO, also still on warm. But only for a while. Both multidecadal cycles.)
All this leaves out the as-yet AWOL Solar Cycle 24. And if THAT’s gone south, we’re–really–tooling for a cooling. (25% of the time since the Oort Minimum has been spent on the bum side of the DeVries cycle.)
The first rise in atmospheric methane levels for a decade could suggest that the melting of parts of the Asian permafrost are starting to release very significant levels of methane.
Methane is only 7.1% of the GH effect (().4% if including water vapor). It’s last on the list of the “Big Four” GH Gases. As you state, it has been very stable for a decade.
And if a cooling hits, the issue is moot, to say the least.
Any way the less fossil fuels burned the less money in the hands of OPEC, now that must be an incentive to conserve fuel!!
It all depends if you prefer an Arab country to act like Qatar or Kuwait (lots of oil money) or like Syria (almost no oil money). There are exceptions (like Iran on the one hand and Egypt on the other), but I see no particular advantage to anyone if OPEC goes bust.

Evan Jones
May 25, 2008 4:53 pm

Soot, Co2, all comes from the same man made sources, the burning of fosil fuels. Nice to see you agree that human activities are causing the arctic to melt rapidly!
Point is that particulates are one hell of a lot easier and cheaper to clean up than CO2. In 20 to 30 years, China and India will be affluent enough to do that part of the cleanup (for the exact same reasons the west did).
Then all it takes is one good layer of the white stuff to cover up the dirty stuff and the problem simply goes away. Not only the “grit melt” from the soot, but the albedo issue as well.

Evan Jones
May 25, 2008 5:06 pm

leeb: Yes, of course. Lord knows how much the brown cloud is contributing to ocean pollution through carbon fall. But that will only last as long as the cloud lasts. And that will be gone (or well on the way out) in three decades.
That sort of pollution costs very little to clean up compared with CO2 cuts.
These are almost never straight-line equations. They are s-curves, j-curves, and o-curves.

May 25, 2008 10:32 pm

The 1930’s ice recession
Even Andy Revkin over on his NYT “Dot Earth” column/blog points to dynamic – wind & ocean currents – phenomena, not “thermodynamic” ones.
“…First, the [polar bear] listing was a function of the projections, not current conditions. And second, I know of no sea ice experts who say the huge loss of multi-year floating ice in the Arctic Ocean has been mainly driven by soot, although soot is clearly one influence on snow (and ice) melt. The huge change in the Arctic ice cover was mainly driven by dynamics (winds, etc.), not thermodynamics, according to most of the ice scientists (more than 20) I queried last fall….” — A. Revkin, May 15th, 2008
I disagree with making too big a distinction between short- vs. long-term thermodynamic & dynamic effects on the ice. They compound each other, possibly along with the Arctic Haze phenomenon. Seems to me that contemporary soot thermal effects has made the ice extent more vulnerable to other dynamic effects. I can only guess but I’d tend to think that soot would likewise have a continued and ongoing effect on thin annual ice, etc.
The question I’m left with is whether CO2 will ever have the same impact that soot has had upon the Arctic. CO2 is a Johnny Come Lately compared to Soot, and as we know, the ultimate amount of CO2-driven warming is controversial. The more we learn about soot & aerosols, the more we find out their surface shading effects are misleading, that sooty/brown aerosols have a net heating effect in the air. On ice the evidence shows that soot has driven a linear long-term trend of ice loss. The effects of airborne aerosols are more variable and natural phenomena (the AO, wind, ice rotation) come and go.
With solar cycles we might be looking toward a 4+ decade dimming cycle, so we may realize a recovery of the icecap if soot mitigation is pursued.
What really bugs me about all this is that the AGWers make absolutely no mention of any of these mitigating factors, soot being the big one, the sun’s onset of a long-term dimming cycle another, the missing ocean heat yet another. I’m OK with known unknowns, but their neglect of these data counts as sins of omission.

May 26, 2008 7:34 am

retired engineer:
Via the Kyoto / UNFCCC CDM mechanism China is being paid for the actual use of clean coal plants. They are following Western clean air standards, but it’s only a start. As to the wisdom of subsidizing these projects it’s a quandary.
For a UN organ established under the premise that CO2 is dangerous it would seem self-contradictory for it to be helping fund coal-burning power plants. This is the mechanism that penalizes industrialized countries for emitting CO2, hence giving yet another economic competitive advantage to India and China and paying them to emit even more. EU member countries are already grappling with the prospect of cutting their own throats economically, particularly for the sake of an emergent hegemony of the Chinese Communist Party. The EU is now reconsidering self-inflicted punitive carbon taxes and warning of carbon tariffs if the outcome of these taxes will be the loss of industries and jobs to Asia. Labor and industry are looking at the prospect of these green policies and noting that if off-shoring CO2 along with production will accelerate globalization it’ll come at the expense of domestic industries, jobs and economic power.
If the best goal is soot & aerosol mitigation then it makes sense, but puts the lie to so many CO2 exaggerations and contrivances.

May 26, 2008 10:00 am

David S:
Six pack of Pilsner, and a 20 pack of Tim-bits (donut holes for you Americans)….final offer. The San Fran crowd will get along with the Vancouver crowd, but they should watch out for the rest of B.C. where oil and gas is starting to drive their economies.

May 26, 2008 12:07 pm

Evan Jones:
We’re largely on the same page. I may not be quite as sanguine as some about certain aspects of climate change – either the nascent solar dimming, the potential rate of global warming or the newfound heating from aerosols – but I see no cause for alarmism either.
Who knows? That errant OHC may resume if aerosols are cleaned up. But since the SH shows less overall temperature anomalies and the SH is largely aerosol-free, I tend toward optimism on that count. If Trenberth is speculating that the missing OHC is disappearing into space, then perhaps we’re enjoying some kind of reprieve from a dimming sun. Ramanathan’s findings on the net warming effect of tropospheric brown clouds (soot + sulfates) have propelled even a staid and orthodox AGWer like himself to cite field data that contravenes IPCC conventional thinking. Its manifold effects of drought, glacier decimation, atmosphere heating and polar thaw are reason enough to qualify the skeptic’s premise. Likewise we don’t know how long a calmer solar period will last — 45 years? 90?
The AGWers will claim that none of this exculpates CO2. Perhaps they’ll be proven right in their worst-case scenarios (even though I don’t think so). But with opportunist shenanigans of the likes of Al Gore the skeptic sniff test becomes a big challenge for the AGWers. He’s their own worst enemy.
Even so I’m willing to grant provisional forebearance on their behalf in the form of soot mitigation. For now Kyoto & its successor be damned.
Soot mitigation should happen anyway. It seems a reasonable critical path option in a phased, but provisional and qualified, plan to phase into a cleaner industrial society less dependent upon fossil fuels. Soot *is* the right first step for the AGWer POV as well, as they should be ready to hedge against the great inertia of the entire human economy. Taken on face value, anything that widens their oft-cited window of opportunity would be sensible. Any ruse to subsume soot as just another CO2 is rightly seen as a duplicitious effort to protect CO2 as a PC cause celebre.
Soot *is* the carbon that must be named and it must be presented on its own and not under the counterproductive rubric of CO2. Qualified statements WRT CO2 are OK, but only in the context of risk assessment, not with soot riding on the cape of foregone conclusions made by minions of globo-soc.
This is why I make so much noise about soot, it’s feasible, doable, and will help further humanity at so many levels. But this means that priorities have to be balanced and applied in metered doses. As such sane risk-assessment is the only realistic path before us. Anything else is bound to fail either as a matter of a fool’s errand or missed opportunities.

Evan Jones
May 27, 2008 9:02 am

“Further sins require further expense.”

May 27, 2008 4:38 pm

RE: crosspatch (21:07:12) :
There was, and never will be, a vote by the SF Board of Sups (or boards of any other counties) on such matters. The BAAQMD rules by fiat – their “vote” is solely amongst their own board.
RE: crosspatch (21:08:23) :
SFO is located in Millbrae, about 17 miles south of SF.
RE: Bill (06:49:04) :
The tax is applied to all business in SF and the megalopolis it’s part of, impacting nearly 7M people either directly or indirectly plus all customers of said businesses world wide.
RE: Gary (08:04:42) :
CO2 is not pollution.
RE: Roads (11:34:12) :
The national administration have done much to perpetrate alarmism regarding AGW and Climate Change. They are in league with the philosophy of the BAAQMD. And you are in league with the whole lot.
RE: Mike K (06:34:34) :
How much of claimed 20th century warming is a result of natural cycles? And I would urge you to reconsider your false claims regarding areal extent of sea ice. The annual minimum is generally in August or September. There is no way current extent is lower than that. That’s assuming you even trust the “data.”
RE: KuhnKat (16:32:37) :
A very dangerous scenario, so late in the season. But, nothing to see here move along, drink the AGW kool aid.

Evan Jones
May 28, 2008 7:26 am

Bear in mind that soot gets cleaned up as a natural matter of course. No undeveloped country cleans up its soot. That doesn’t happen until poverty is a lesser killer than soot. By the time that happens, a society will make the economic decision to clean up its soot. No World Legislation required.
This so far has been the invariable pattern. A developing-process-plus-pollution followed by affluence-plus-cleanup. There are no exceptions to this rule I know of. And since it conforms with human nature, I doubt there ever will be an exception.
But don’t expect the soot cleanup before the affluence. Ain’t gonna happen.
The best way to deal is to help the UDCs to achieve that affluence as quickly as possible. Not only will this create the conditions for a “natural” cleanup, but the increased wealth and wealth-fueled tech will put us in a much stronger position to deal with ANY environmental problem. (Including AGW, if that turns out to be true.)

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