Claim: Carbon Taxes are Not Punitive, they Just Change Behaviour

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Apparently carbon taxes are not punitive, because anyone who wants to save money on carbon taxed gasoline can always purchase an electric car.

Are Carbon Taxes The Solution To Global Warming?

Quora , CONTRIBUTOR

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Am I correct to say that carbon taxes are not a solution to global warming? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Michael Barnard, low-carbon innovation analyst, on Quora:

There is a belief that taxes (such as carbon taxes) are punitive or punishing, hence the misconception that carbon taxes aren’t part of the solution set useful for climate change.

This is a common misconception, especially in the USA where taxes have been demonized and cut for decades, and politicians bend themselves into all sorts of silly shapes to avoid putting a tax on something. However, it’s a false assertion.

Taxes are a necessary mechanism for governments to raise money for their actions. They are also a key lever for changing consumer and corporate behavior, along with regulations. In behavioral economics, there’s something referred to as induced demand. This is a directly observable behavioral trait of groups. If something is cheap, people will figure out how to use it and more of it will be used. You can see this with building new roads which become congested almost immediately and you can see it with dumping sewage into rivers instead of treating it where that is allowed by lack of regulation and penalty.

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

A couple are considering the purchase of a car, the second largest single expense most people have after their home. They want the most car for the money, they need to balance status with practicality, they need to balance her desire for an insanely fast corner carving beast with his relative timidity behind the wheel and the like. The price of gasoline and projected future price of gasoline is part of the conversation. A 20 mile per gallon car might cost a couple close to $1,600 in annual gas bills at $2.40 a gallon. A carbon tax might raise that to $3.00 a gallon which would increase their annual gas costs to perhaps $2,000, about $400 more. Meanwhile, a 50 mpg PHEV or a full electric car could drop their annual gas expenditure substantially. Filling up with electricity is half as expensive as filling up with gas at $2.40 a gallon on average in the USA, and closer to a third as expensive at $3.00. That means that buying an electric car might save them $800 without a carbon tax or up to $1,200 with a carbon tax. $1,200 is $100 a month. For most couples that’s material. They’re more likely to make a decision to buy a Chevy Bolt or a Nissan Leaf or a Tesla Model 3 instead of a gas car. They have a choice and are incentivized to make one choice over the other. This doesn’t penalize them, but it does shift behaviors to preferential ones.

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/06/19/are-carbon-taxes-the-solution-to-global-warming/

Why didn’t we climate skeptics think of that? Poor people won’t suffer from high carbon taxes, all they have to do is dump the $500 jalopy and produce USD $22,000 or so to buy a cheap electric car, and whatever additional money is required to replace the electric car battery every few years.

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198 thoughts on “Claim: Carbon Taxes are Not Punitive, they Just Change Behaviour

    • They do hate poor people. In their eyes, poor people, especially poor white people, are deplorables. They’re too stupid and lazy to have the right college degrees and they deserve no sympathy. White people are privileged no matter how poor they are and if anything bad happens to them they’re just getting what they deserve.

      Thomas Frank nailed it in his book Listen Liberal! The Democrat party is now worshipping the expertise of an educated elite. They love theory and hate reality. They hate people that aren’t like them. What they don’t realize is that the supposed expertise of experts like them is mostly illusory. link

      I thought the left might be seeing the light after the election. Many commentators spoke about how Hillary had lost the election by alienating the working people. Sadly, they’re back to their usual bloviations about how racist, uneducated, and unwashed Trump’s voters are.

      These supposedly leftist idiots need to bone up on their Marx 101. The people they’re deploring are the proletariat.

      • To a very large degree, if you want to know what a leftist is planning, examine his rhetoric, and reverse it.
        They claim to want tolerance, yet they are the most intolerant group out there.
        They claim to want to help the poor, yet everyone of their programs ends up hurting the poor.

      • 1+

        http://www.aim.org/aim-column/why-the-russians-conceived-the-global-warming-scam/?utm_source=AIM+-+Daily+Email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Email%20Jun-20-2017&utm_medium=email

        I get the reasons for a topic post about electric car hyperbole and subterfuge but for the informed it serves as distracting trivia over time.

        Do people really think the climate debate centers around a serious GHG impact discussion?

        The line between naive and willful ignorance is being seriously tested by such assuming subtexts in these articles. The cart before the horse, “emissions” and climate change can hardly be related to begin with.

      • The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart has been discussing how to fix the political system. He has proposed “political hospice” for white working class voters and replacing them with immigrants. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2017/06/06/the-real-reason-working-class-whites-continue-to-support-trump/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-e%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.41dd599a9561#comments Even if they could possibly pull this off, what will the elites do when the immigrants stop voting for the elite Democrats just as the white working class did 30 years ago.

      • If we don’t listen to the experts than we are going to be totally screwed. You might not know it but those experts are the reason you are alive today.

        Some far left liberals have an unfortunate tendency to not listen to economist, and some conservatives have a head scratching tendency not to listen to scientist. Luckily there are people both on the conservative and liberal spectrum who understand and believe in economics and trust in science, these people keep the world from falling apart. They also happen to support carbon taxes for the above mentioned reasons.

      • Exactly, bob. After H lost the election, there were thoughts about new blood needed and a young Dem Senator went for Nancy Pelosi’s job. I believed that maybe the Dems are capable of introspection and understanding where they went so wrong (it was pretty obvious) and this was the test. But nope, Nancy won and H and friends doubled down on the same old rhetoric and were overflowing with meanness, anger and exhortations to take to the streets and burn places down, block right wing speakers… I’ve never seen such ugliness.

        If Trump gets his stuff finally going, the angry Dems are a couple of generations away from even getting on the guest list at the Whitehouse.

      • Well said CommieBob. These issues need to be discussed openly in public, but with the MSM in the business of destroying the foundations of the Western World instead of presenting different views, it seems the alternative is the blogosphere and internet news. The difficult part for the public is figuring out who can be trusted and believed, but I imagine that will sort itself out eventually. We certainly need open and diverse dialogue to solve these problems before civil war breaks lout.

      • the democratic party hasn’t carried a majority of working class people for many, many years. they are the party of special interests groups.

        the democratic party is in large part old style union politics. they hate free enterprise. they want government to run everything. they truly believe that “Profit” is evil. that business is exploiting working class people.

        Trump’s success is in large part telling people what they already know, that employers are not their enemy. That it is better to have a job than welfare.

      • Drock June 21, 2017 at 8:29 am

        If we don’t listen to the experts than we are going to be totally screwed. You might not know it but those experts are the reason you are alive today.

        If I’m sick, I will be seeing a doctor. If I need a bridge built, I will hire an engineer. Those are experts operating within the boundaries of their knowledge and skill.

        The problem comes about when people, because of their superior education, believe that they can answer questions that are unanswerable. The trouble is that lots of people believe them. In fact, people crave the certainty they think comes with an expert opinion.

        “Experts” are almost never held to account for their failed prognostications. The poster boy for that is Paul Ehrlich. He’s reliably wrong but people still listen to him.

        There experts and then there are experts and the trick is being able to tell the difference. :-)

      • When did any Marxist state ever benefit the proletariat? In practice, Marxism kept the workers poor and terrorized. No exceptions.

      • Hey Drock, if you can find the science that supports the need for a carbon tax, please show it. So far there is none.
        Models, especially broken models, aren’t science.

      • Drock = Dreck

        For the record, I am neither right nor left – I as on the Board of the largest homeless shelter in North America for 16 years, which allegedly makes me a leftie. I am also convinced that global warming alarmism is not only false, but fraudulent, which allegedly makes me a rightie.

        I reject both left and right labels. I think a well-educated, objective person can work through these subjects and find a rational and humanitarian approach.

        I also think that most people are just too lazy to bother – in that case, just adopt a centre-right approach, and you will be much safer than if you veer to the far left – “Here there be dragons”.

        Regards, Allan

        Notes on East Berlin, Cuba and Communism (excerpts):

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/31/mother-jones-trump-effect-undermining-support-for-german-green-energy/comment-page-1/#comment-2386559

        I went thorough Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin and East Germany in July 1989 and witnessed the last days of the Communist Honecker regime.

        Here is something I wrote a long time ago on the subject.

        Regards, Allan
        _______________________

        This article is true. I’ve also been to Cuba, and it is a cesspool of poverty and degradation (Trudeau boys, please take note).

        What is truly interesting is that there are still apologists for Castro and Cuba here in Canada, even as Fidel himself has recently admitted that Cuba is a failed state.

        They are probably the same “useful idiots” who said that Communist East Germany was a good model for Canada to emulate. I seem to recall several former NDP leaders who tried to sell us that line of BS (the names Broadbent and Lewis come to mind).

        I travelled to East Germany, going through the Berlin Wall at Checkpoint Charlie in 1989, shortly before the Wall fell. East Germany was a cesspool too. While not as materially poor as Castro’s Cuba, it was an even more vicious police state where neighbour spied upon neighbour, and nobody felt safe from the Stasi secret police. Those who tried to escape were shot, and allowed to bleed to death in “no-man’s land” between the many barbed-wire fences that formed “the Wall”.

        Epilogue
        The last person to be shot and killed while trying to cross the border from East to West Germany was Chris Gueffroy on February 6, 1989. He was 20 years old. Rest in peace, kid.

        *******************

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/10/29/scientists-plead-with-greenpeace-for-blind-dying-children/#comment-2329917

        Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, wrote this article circa 1994. It still rings true today.

        After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Greenpeace was taken over by Marxists of many different stripes: Trotskyites, Leninists, Harpo’s, Groucho’s… and evolved into the watermelon outfit it is today.

        http://www.ecosense.me/index.php/key-environmental-issues/10-key-environmental-issues/208-key-environmental-issues-4

        Excerpt:

        The Rise of Eco-Extremism

        Two profound events triggered the split between those advocating a pragmatic or “liberal” approach to ecology and the new “zero-tolerance” attitude of the extremists. The first event, mentioned previously, was the widespread adoption of the environmental agenda by the mainstream of business and government. This left environmentalists with the choice of either being drawn into collaboration with their former “enemies” or of taking ever more extreme positions. Many environmentalists chose the latter route. They rejected the concept of “sustainable development” and took a strong “anti-development” stance.

        SURPRISINGLY ENOUGH THE SECOND EVENT THAT CAUSED THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT TO VEER TO THE LEFT WAS THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL. SUDDENLY THE INTERNATIONAL PEACE MOVEMENT HAD A LOT LESS TO DO. PRO-SOVIET GROUPS IN THE WEST WERE DISCREDITED. MANY OF THEIR MEMBERS MOVED INTO THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT BRINGING WITH THEM THEIR ECO-MARXISM AND PRO-SANDINISTA SENTIMENTS.

        THESE FACTORS HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO A NEW VARIANT OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT THAT IS SO EXTREME THAT MANY PEOPLE, INCLUDING MYSELF, BELIEVE ITS AGENDA IS A GREATER THREAT TO THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT THAN THAT POSED BY MAINSTREAM SOCIETY.

        ************************

      • Chris Hanley June 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm
        … That would be the ‘Lumpenproletariat’ …

        It would not.

        Lumpenproletariat … identifies the class of outcast, degenerated and submerged elements that make up a section of the population of industrial centers” which include “beggars, prostitutes, gangsters, racketeers, swindlers, petty criminals, tramps, chronic unemployed or unemployables, persons who have been cast out by industry, and all sorts of declassed, degraded or degenerated elements.” link

        The Democrat elite’s contempt for ordinary working people is visceral. link

      • Oh excuse me Bob, I’ve always assumed your pseudonym was meant to be ironic, a bit of a joke, I apologise if I have misinterpreted and offended your pure Marxist sensibilities.

      • Chris Hanley June 21, 2017 at 8:47 pm

        … I apologise if I have misinterpreted and offended your pure Marxist sensibilities.

        Politically, I come down reliably somewhere between Ron Paul and Tommy Douglas. I’m not a Marxist. On the other hand, Marx was right about some things (even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while).

        What you got wrong was the use of the word Lumpenproletariat. The Democrat party has moved to a position where it has contempt for the actual proletariat. That leaves only one politician speaking up for the working people. Fortunately, he’s the president.

        Together, we will build projects to inspire our youth, employ our workers, and create true prosperity for our people. We will pour new concrete, lay new brick, and watch new sparks light our factories as we forge metal from the furnaces of our Rust Belt and our beloved heartland — which has been forgotten. It’s not forgotten anymore. link

        As far as I can tell, that speech, which deals with getting rid of job killing over-regulation, has been completely ignored by the media.

      • All my old aunts and uncles (Netherlands) were socialists. During their lives they worked and studied hard. Somewhere in the ’70 ties hoever , the socialist party was hijacked by leftist intellectuals and socialism became the art of having your neighbours pay for your idealistic wishes. Moral superiority became the new weapon. And still our societies immune system is not adapted to reject this parasites.

    • Yes, they do hate poor people.
      And notice how they express that hate. “Let’s force them to do the things we want them to do.”
      And there is always the left’s effort to reduce world population. Who goes over the cliff with a leftist push? Why, it is the poor and the deplorables.

    • You would think they really hate poor people
      ================
      I’m surprised they don’t simply create a poverty tax. Just like the carbon tax, a tax on poverty will cause a shift in behavior. People will no longer want to be poor and we can solve poverty.

      And by the same logic we should never tax rich people, because this will cause a shift away from people being wealthy towards being poor. As such, taxes on the rich are a cause of people being poor.

    • No, carbon taxes are no punitive, no, not at all. They simply change behavior by making it too expensive to do what you need or want to do. That not changing behavior per se, it’s restricting behavior. It’s like calling prison a very fair restricted living condition that takes into account the needs of the individual—it’s still prison and you are not free. Not being able to afford to drive any car, even electric because of the cost is prison as it creates restricted living conditions, except without the bars.

      The idea that taxes are reasonable so that governments can pay for what they do, assumes that the government is doing something the people want it to do, which is not always the case. Then, there is the wasteful spending that government does because it does not respect taxpayer money. Taxes are bribe money to get the government off your back so you can buy or do something.

      It is the duty of the taxpayer to try to pay as little taxes as possible because it is completely true that governments will spend everything they get in taxes and even more, which is why we have a huge debt.

      “This is a common misconception, especially in the USA where taxes have been demonized and cut for decades,”

      Taxes get cut because between tax cuts taxes get raised enormously. If it was always downward, we would be in great shape, but tax cuts are to counter tax growth, duh. How stupid does he think the reader is?

      The concept that it si government’s job to provide all kinds of services is completely wrong. Government should provide on the bare services and capitalism and free enterprise will create the services that are needed. Before Obamacare, there were quite a variety of organizations that could help find expensive and unusual surgeries. Because the government has taken over and even outlawed such services, many of the organizations have died.

    • Anything that comes with a mandate AKA taxes, is by definition punitive.

      You are being punished and fined for doing something.

      And if you prefer to keep on doing what you want to do, you keep doing it.

      Maybe it does change your behavior; like next time you visit the ballot box. You turf the dictators out on their fannies.

      G

  1. The supposed logic of carbon taxes is to encourage us to switch to more expensive renewable energy.

    Once we have all switched, there will be no tax revenue to spend on goodies, but we will still be stuck with the expensive renewables.

    • I agree, thank you Paul.

      The fatal flaw of renewables such as grid-connected wind and solar power is intermittency, and this has been known for decades.

      Cheap, reliable (dispatchable), abundant energy is the lifeblood of society. It IS that simple.

      When politicians fool with energy systems, real people suffer and die.

      Regards, Allan

      • What a relief, I feel so much better, Here I was thinking I’m really hurting financially, like being worried I can’t pay the bills. When in reality I just need to change my behavior, like maybe crawl under a rock like a good citizen. Total BS, I live in BC with the Carbon Tax neutral BS and it hurts like hell and the green blob Feds are introducing a higher Carbon taxes soon.

      • @ Allan M.R. MacRae

        More importantly “Cheap, reliable (dispatchable), abundant energy is ” essential to support electric cars (remotely polluting vehicles). Nobody, seems to have worked out what the power requirements are of these remotely polluting vehicles.
        Take back of envelope…
        If we assume an average gas tank is 15 gallons – then (according to Wiki) each of those gallons holds 33.41 KwH or ~0.5 MwH.
        There are approximately 15,000,000 cars in California – if they were all electric they would require equivalent (possibly more due losses but lets say equivalent) so that is 7,500,000 MwH of power to recharge from empty lets be fair and say every 3 days (unlikely) so 2,500,000MwH

        California has 11,510,704MwH currently available for use so the availability would need to rise by 2,500,000MwH ~30% but in reality as most people would recharge their cars at night the peak load would probably exceed 50% of California’s total available power.

        This power demand will not be supported by windmills nor at night will solar power be much good. So California will try and import electricity from less fastidious states (downwind) who almost certainly use coal. Hence electric cars are remotely polluting vehicles.

        That is of course if neighboring states wish to support California as it shoots itself in the feet. Ask South Australia how well that works.

      • Ian W

        Take back of envelope…
        If we assume an average gas tank is 15 gallons – then (according to Wiki) each of those gallons holds 33.41 KwH or ~0.5 MwH.

        Well, you see THAT is just part of the problem. My 2006 F150 has a 24 gallon tank. Newer rental cars – granted they are for a smaller/shorter-driving market, BUT are designed within Obola’s mandated new fuel-economy regulations that reward lower weight, penalize igher weight vehicles (and the Tesla IS exempted from weight penalties!) but the newer rental cars while traveling only have a 12 gallon tank!

        Take you times to cross country and nearly double it for pure EV’s.

        Combination vehicles? Much more effective, more reasonable. Just not as “eco-sexy” and so the enviro’s refuse to subsidize them as they do pure and more wasteful, less effective, EV’s.

    • https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/13/presentation-of-evidence-suggesting-temperature-drives-atmospheric-co2-more-than-co2-drives-temperature/

      Observations and Conclusions:

      1. Temperature, among other factors, drives atmospheric CO2 much more than CO2 drives temperature. The rate of change dCO2/dt is closely correlated with temperature and thus atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature by ~9 months in the modern data record

      2. CO2 also lags temperature by ~~800 years in the ice core record, on a longer time scale.

      3. Atmospheric CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales.

      4. CO2 is the feedstock for carbon-based life on Earth, and Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are clearly CO2-deficient. CO2 abatement and sequestration schemes are nonsense.

      5. Based on the evidence, Earth’s climate is insensitive to increased atmospheric CO2 – there is no global warming crisis.

      6. Recent global warming was natural and irregularly cyclical – the next climate phase following the ~20 year pause will probably be global cooling, starting by ~2020 or sooner.

      7. Adaptation is clearly the best approach to deal with the moderate global warming and cooling experienced in recent centuries.

      8. Cool and cold weather kills many more people than warm or hot weather, even in warm climates. There are about 100,000 Excess Winter Deaths every year in the USA and about 10,000 in Canada.

      9. Green energy schemes have needlessly driven up energy costs, reduced electrical grid reliability and contributed to increased winter mortality, which especially targets the elderly and the poor.

      10. Cheap, abundant, reliable energy is the lifeblood of modern society. When politicians fool with energy systems, real people suffer and die. That is the tragic legacy of false global warming alarmism.

      Allan MacRae, P.Eng. Calgary, June 12, 2015

      • Allan,
        I posted this on Paul’s Notalotofppeopleknowthat site earlier. I’m sure you to will love this one, a new cheap means of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere, by burning fossil fuel, then selling it to carbonated drinks makers so it can be released back into the atmosphere. http://www.climeworks.com/our-technology/
        Is it too cynical of me to suspect a scam that even the alarmists must surely see?

      • Try to opine on Energy/CAGW isssues on NSPE’s OPEN FORUM (sic), that has recently implemented a policy that amounts to censorship. Unfortunately our profession is so bought into the income generated at the gobmin’s teat they now are threatened by the loss of this 30 year old gravy train. Consequently they are busily engaged in controlling the narrative. They are salivating at the thought of engineering these carbon capture and sequestering projects, amongst other boondoggles—-so much for Professional Engineering.

      • An engineer’s well thought through analysis…I appreciate the logic.
        Sadly, and don’t you know, engineers are despised by the elites, beginning with university, as brutish types?
        I have heard from many a progressive (whether Liberal, Green, Dipper or scribbler) that engineers aren’t real scientists…just glorified techies, only one step ahead of all of those (equally despised) technology grads from colleges (in Ontario it helps if you pronounce college as though both spitting and coughing) that are needed to keep the elite progressive healthy, safe and warm and fix their technology issues. Engineers are told to leave climate debates to real scientists, like all of those biology majors that get into climate “science” with it new method of verification.
        Hey, just because you learned long ago of the deficiencies of models, those are just the models engineers put together using numerical methods or some other such mathy thing. Real scientists have figured out how to make models that are take into account the a chaotic world, but you won’t understand the math…so don’t ask to see what was done.
        Now can you fix my computer or do you drive a train? (The Expulsive is a recovering consulting engineer)

      • The Expulsive June 21, 2017 at 5:20 am

        From a retired Tool Maker.

        Good engineers are worth their weight in gold.

        michael

      • Allan M.R. MacRae June 21, 2017 at 3:11 am

        1. The rate of change dCO2/dt is closely correlated with temperature and thus atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature by ~9 months in the modern data record

        Now I have seen/read the above stated …… “atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature by ~9 months” ……. time after time after time in the published media, ……. yet I have never ever witnessed any actual factual evidence that supports or proves the above claim of a “~9 months CO2 LAG”.

        The Mauna Loa CO2 Record neither supports or proves the aforesaid “~9 months CO2 LAG”.
        To wit, …. NOAA’s complete monthly average Mona Loa CO2 ppm data – 1958 to 2017
        ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/products/trends/co2/co2_mm_mlo.txt

        The Keeling Curve Graph of the Mauna Loa data neither supports or proves the aforesaid “~9 months CO2 LAG”, …… to wit:

        This composite graph of the 1979-2013 UAH satellite global lower atmosphere temperatures & ML CO2 ppm data neither supports or proves the aforesaid “~9 months CO2 LAG”, …… to wit:

        And I do not know of anything in the natural world that functions on a “9 months cycle time” …. other than the “gestation period” of some species of females.

        Thus, for what it’s worth to the miseducated, ….. it is my learned opinion that the afore stated claim that “atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature by ~9 months” ….. is as silly and fictitious as is the claim that …… “the greening of the Northern Hemisphere’s biomass is directly responsible for the decrease in atmospheric CO2 ppm from mid-May to the 1st of October of each and every calendar year” ……. as defined on the above cited Keeling Curve Graph.

        So, today is the day to have a happy Summer Solstice 2017 …….. and don’t be fergettin that today is the day that officially “marks” the start of the “end-of-winter” in the Southern Hemisphere and the ocean waters therein begin their seasonal “warming”, beginning in the Tropics and progressing toward the higher southern latitudes.

        Cheers

      • Professional Engineers have excellent background training in the sciences and the scientific method. We also have to analyze complex problems and have developed techniques to focus on what matters and to discount the unimportant fog of peripheral information that surrounds the problem.

        In Alberta Canada, engineers and geoscientists are the only profession that has excellent integrity as a self-governing profession. The Engineer’s association is very tough on professional malfeasance, whereas the other self-governing professions are less so. The legal profession is by far the worst, where “anything goes” – typically, only lawyers’ embezzlement of clients’ funds is regulated.

        I received a phone call from a friend about one year ago that initiated the following actions. I wonder if the several hundred thousand residents of SE Calgary realize just how fortunate they are that this phone call came to a Professional Engineer, and not (for example) to a lawyer.

        Regards, Allan

        Allan MacRae, P.Eng.

        Epilogue:

        As an uninvolved citizen and a Professional Engineer, I was advised in May 2016 of an extremely dangerous situation at the Mazeppa sour gas project close to SE Calgary, Alberta. Following the Professional Engineers’ Code of Ethics, I investigated, established the facts and reported to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). This situation was then made safe by the AER.

        The risk to the public was enormous – tens of thousands of Calgarians could have been killed. This is becoming a major news story in Alberta, as the extreme public risk is now becoming apparent.

        AER SUSPENDS MAZEPPA PLANT OPERATIONS AMID CONCERNS
        http://www.highrivertimes.com/2016/08/25/aer-suspends-mazeppa-plant-operations-amid-concerns

        The CBC recently published this article. I have notified them of one material error: H2S is instantly lethal at 0.1% concentrations and less. The H2S concentration in the wells was up to 40%. H2S is heavier that air and hugs the ground – nothing survives.
        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/lexin-resources-what-went-wrong-1.4038838

        This article was recently published in the Calgary Herald – this action by the AER (formerly the ERCB) is the most severe reprimand against any company in the history of Alberta.
        WATCHDOG TAKES UNPRECEDENTED STEP OF FORCING OIL AND GAS PRODUCER INTO RECEIVERSHIP
        http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/energy/watchdog-takes-unprecedented-step-of-forcing-oil-and-gas-producer-into-receivership

      • Samuel C Cogar wrote at June 21, 2017 at 6:29 am

        “Thus, for what it’s worth to the miseducated, ….. it is my learned opinion that the afore stated claim that “atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature by ~9 months” ….. is as silly and fictitious as is the claim that …… “the greening of the Northern Hemisphere’s biomass is directly responsible for the decrease in atmospheric CO2 ppm from mid-May to the 1st of October of each and every calendar year” ……. as defined on the above cited Keeling Curve Graph.”
        _______________

        You have written nonsense Sir, and have not taken the trouble to investigate your claims or to suggest an alternative, more credible hypothesis. I really do not have the time to bother with you, because you have spouted this nonsense before and are impervious to rational analysis and debate. I leave others with the following comments:

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/05/13/is-murry-salby-right/comment-page-1/#comment-2502282

        [excerpts}

        “Something” is causing an increase in atmospheric CO2 – this CO2 increase could be mostly natural or mostly humanmade. On top of this CO2 increase is a clear signal, that CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months in the modern data record. The causative relationship dCO2/dt vs. temperature T is incontrovertible.
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1979/mean:12/derivative/plot/uah5/from:1979/scale:0.22/offset:0.14

        CO2 also lags temperature by ~~800 years in the ice core record. CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales.

        I suggest that the following conclusions are valid:

        TEMPERATURE, AT ALL MEASURED TIME SCALES, DRIVES CO2 MUCH MORE THAN CO2 DRIVES TEMPERATURE.

        What we see in the modern data record is the NET EFFECT = (ECO2S minus ECS). I suspect that we have enough information to make a rational estimate to bound these numbers, and ECS must be very low, so small as to be practically insignificant, far too small for there to be a significant risk of dangerous humanmade global warming.

        Regards to all, Allan

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/05/12/surprising-nasas-global-visualization-in-3d-of-carbon-dioxide-in-earths-atmosphere/comment-page-1/#comment-2501415

        [Excerpted]

        It is incontrovertible that annual atmospheric CO2 flux (the Keeling curve) is dominated by natural seasonal temperatures – the cause of this seasonal flux is overwhelmingly natural and temperature-driven. It is also incontrovertible that atmospheric CO2 lags (in time) atmospheric temperature at all measured time scales (MacRae 2008, Humlum 2013 and others).

        Since I wrote that conclusion in 2008, few climate scientists have wanted to even acknowledge this incontrovertible fact. To this day, the mainstream debate between climate skeptics and global warming activists continues to concern the sensitivity of climate to temperature (“ECS”) – or by how much the future can cause the past. :-)

        The following post attempted to focus the debate on what really matters – that based on the evidence, ECS is so small as to be insignificant, and the risks of CAGW are also similarly so.

        Regards, Allan

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/04/12/perspective-needed-time-to-identify-variations-in-natural-climate-data-that-exceed-the-claimed-human-co2-warming-effect/comment-page-1/#comment-2477211

        Excerpts from the following post:

        All that really matters [in this analysis] is that CO2 lags temperature at ALL measured times scales and does not lead it, which is what I understand the modern data records indicate on the multi-decadal time scale and the ice core records indicate on a much longer time scale.

        It also does not mean that increasing atmospheric CO2 has no impact on global temperature; rather it means that this impact is quite small.

        What we see in the modern data record is the Net Effect = (ECO2S minus ECS). I suspect that we have enough information to make a rational estimate to bound these numbers, and ECS will be very low. My guess is that ECS is so small as to be practically insignificant.

        Regards, Allan

        Please excuse the pedantic nature of the following treatise – I am so often misquoted on this subject that I tried to make it very clear where I stand.

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/01/24/apocalypse-cancelled-sorry-no-ticket-refunds/comment-page-1/#comment-2406538

        [excerpts]

        I have stated since January 2008 that:
        “Atmospheric CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months in the modern data record and also by ~~800 years in the ice core record, on a longer time scale.”
        {In my shorthand, ~ means approximately and ~~ means very approximately, or ~squared).

        It is possible that the causative mechanisms for this “TemperatureLead-CO2Lag” relationship are largely similar or largely different, although I suspect that both physical processes (ocean solution/exsolution) and biological processes (photosynthesis/decay and other biological processes) play a greater or lesser role at different time scales.

        All that really matters is that CO2 lags temperature at ALL measured times scales and does not lead it, which is what I understand the modern data records indicate on the multi-decadal time scale and the ice core records indicate on a much longer time scale.

        This does NOT mean that temperature is the only (or even the primary) driver of increasing atmospheric CO2. Other drivers of CO2 could include deforestation, fossil fuel combustion, etc. but that does not matter for this analysis, because the ONLY signal that is apparent in the data is the LAG of CO2 after temperature.

        It also does not mean that increasing atmospheric CO2 has no impact on global temperature; rather it means that this impact is quite small.

        I conclude that temperature, at ALL measured time scales, drives CO2 much more than CO2 drives temperature.

        Precedence studies are commonly employed in other fields, including science, technology and economics.

        Does climate sensitivity to increasing atmospheric CO2 (“ECS” and similar parameters) actually exist in reality, and if so, how can we estimate it? The problem as I see it is that precedence analyses prove that CO2 LAGS temperature at all measured time scales*. Therefore, the impact of CO2 changes on Earth temperature (ECS) is LESS THAN the impact of temperature change on CO2 (ECO2S).

        What we see in the modern data record is the Net Effect = (ECO2S minus ECS). I suspect that we have enough information to make a rational estimate to bound these numbers, and ECS will be very low. My guess is that ECS is so small as to be practically insignificant.

        Regards, Allan

        *References:

        1. MacRae, 2008
        http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRae.pdf

        Fig. 1

        Fig. 3

        2. http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1979/mean:12/derivative/plot/uah5/from:1979/scale:0.22/offset:0.14

        3. Humlum et al, January 2013
        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818112001658

      • Mike the Morlock June 21, 2017 at 5:51 am
        With you there mate, didn’t you just love the wet behind the ears uni graduates who knew more than you did after 40 years in the game.

      • Watch what the “smart money” does. The US economy is downright wildcatting right now, on the strength of Trump’s energy and deregulation policies. Even the Dems will be coming around slowly, wait and see, because it’s REALLY hard to hate someone who’s filling your pockets up with money with a FIRE HOSE!
        And we all know the progs. have all this time on their hands to shriek because they live on (oh, noes!) shhh! Capitalism!

      • @ Allan M.R. MacRae June 21, 2017 at 7:00 am

        Professional Engineers have ….. yada, yada, yada …

        I received a phone call from a friend about ….. yada, yada, yada …

        Regards, Allan

        Allan MacRae, P.Eng.

        Epilogue:

        As an uninvolved citizen and a Professional Engineer, I was ….. yada, yada, yada …

        Allan M.R. MacRae, the next time you get such an irrepressible feeling to “toot your own horn” …. I suggest that you trot yourself down to the local Toy Store and purchase yourself one of these, to wit:

        Yours Truly.

        Samuel C Cogar, …. AB Teaching Degree in the Biological and Physical Sciences, GSC 1963, …… now retired after 20+ years of being a highly productive …… Logical Designer, Computer Design Engineer, System Design Engineer, Systems and Application Programmer, Diagnostics Designer and Programmer ….. and Contract Consultant to/for several different businesses and government agencies.

        And my most cherished achievement was/is this official notice from the United States Patent Office for Patent # 3,449,735 that was issued in my name on June 10,1969 ….. and can be viewed in its entirety at this url link, ….. to wit: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/3449735.pdf

        TOOT, …… TOOT, …… TOOT, …… and one more TOOT to be sure you were hearing them.

      • Allan M.R. MacRae June 21, 2017 at 7:18 am

        You have written nonsense Sir, …..

        Anyone who voices such a wild and demeaning accusation without explaining their reason(s) for do so is not deserving of having the Title and/or being referred to as a Professional.

        In your case. me thinks a “BS’er” would be more fitting.

        Allan M.R continues to claimith:

        ….. and (you) have not taken the trouble to investigate your claims

        Allan M.R, …. I am a Professional, and thus I NEVER make accusations, insinuations and/or statements of fact …… without first studying, researching and/or investigating the subject in question …… and then applying my common sense thinking, logical reasoning and/or intelligent deduction to arrive at a worthwhile and acceptable conclusion.

        When you accuse me of your habitual faults as a means of CYA ….it does not bode well for your claimed reputation of being a Professional.

        Allan M.R continues to claimith:

        or to suggest an alternative, more credible hypothesis.

        Allan M.R, that was an utterly asinine and idiotic statement, ….. simply because, ….. iffen a claimed entity DOES NOT EXIST …….. then how in hell is it possible for anyone ….. “to suggest an alternative, more credible hypothesis”?

        Allen, do you really think it is possible for you ….. “to suggest an alternative, more credible hypothesis for the claimed existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”?

        Allan M.R continues to claimith:

        I really do not have the time to bother with you, because you have spouted this nonsense before and are impervious to rational analysis and debate.

        It is highly unProfessional of you to be inferring that you have previously engaged me (Sam C) in “rational analysis and debate” in/of the subject in question. GEEEZUS, you have intentionally evaded engaging in any said debate with yours truly.

    • False dichotomy. Once the cheep, highly taxed energy is removed the more expensive energy sources will be targeted for taxation. Since there is no alternative, we will have no choice but to pay those taxes. In the end they will still get their graft, and that graft will be used to fund their next pet project.

  2. Has anyone noticed that all these people who want us to have electric cars never mention the proportion of people who live in houses that have no garage. Certainly in inner cities here in England many of us live in houses that were built when horse and carts were the normal transport enjoyed by traders. (My house was built in 1905) Obviously electric wiring cannot be strewn across pavements (US sidewalks) so how would normal people get their cars charged? Perhaps a municipal car park with charging points if one was near enough and the car wouldn’t be vandalised. However here in Birmingham whilst a car is being charged the hourly fee for parking must also be paid. This makes it very dear fuel indeed.
    Ian

      • I don’t how far apart street lamps are in the UK, but here in the US, that would satisfy maybe one car in 5.

      • Wilpretty: So you are relying on the city to provide a service that you were once able to provide for yourself? That’s a problematic solution for many reasons. What if the city cuts you off? Do you even have an alternative option that doesn’t cost tens of thousands of pounds to move or replace your car?

    • Houses that have no garage? I live in Texas, that’s just crazy talk. Down here a house don’t count as a house unless you can get 2 big trucks, an SUV, and an ATV into your garage. Now of course we don’t go for none of that electric car nonsense either, unless you’re rich enough to snag one of Elon Musk’s Expensive Toys for Rich Boys.

      • WWS, while I have a nice garage myself, a good chunck of people live in apartment buildings, almost none of which have garages, and even those that do would not be able to install a charging device if they wanted to due to the landlord’s requirements. Plus, my family up north in tornado country all parks next to their trailer. They would have to purchase even more expensive outdoor charging stations.

        The wealthy and the well off can adapt fairly easily. The poor have nothing. The working class will be the ones hurt most.

      • The poor have nothing

        Here’s a combination of solutions for the too-many-people problem:

    • We have a charging station here in Picton (PRC Ontario) that not only is free but you don’t have to pay to park there either. I have yet to see anyone use it.

      • For those wondering PRC is “politically renewably correct”, but I could also have said PEC, but we can’t Wynne with that one.

      • I thought PRC stood for People’s Republic of Canada. With Trudeau that’s probably where it’s heading

    • When I was a kid I was a neighborhood mischief. Imagine what fun neighbor hoods could have at night running around unplugging cars charging in driveways.

    • Ian, this is a brilliant point, and blows the idea of electric cars for the masses of of the water. I kept my car in a garage in Sydney for 10 years (and it lasted well because of it), but I was in a very small minority.

      Frankly, the UN will sort it all out. They want us to have shared cars. Along with ID 2020 where they control all the data about every global citizen, of course. What could go wrong?

      Want to know more about it? Just Google id 2020 to see what your future will be according to our betters…

      • Just read that the Mayor of London has a solution – charge all cars for driving in London (not just the ‘congestion charge’). So, if we can price the cars off the streets, and the Underground and railways are often on strike – then we’ll REALLY reduce ‘carbon pollution’! Of course, no-one will be able to WORK in London, but then, that city’s for the elite, don’tcha know?

  3. “a key lever for changing consumer and corporate behavior” Let the market change behavior, not the government. In the (free) market decisions are made by millions of people acting in their own best interest, not by politicians looking for votes and power.

  4. “taxes have been demonized and cut for decades”
    Demonized, yes, and rightfully so, but actually raised, not cut.

  5. They are also a key lever for changing consumer and corporate behavior, along with regulations

    Why the Government have to “changing” my behavior? It’s suppose to “regulate” social relations for a better, easier and peaceful life with its organization (police, judge, school, etcetera).

    • “Carbon Taxes are Not Punitive, they Just Change Behaviour”

      Laws against Heroin are not Punitive, they just change behavior!!!

      Laws against Armed Robbery are not punitive, they just change behavior!!!

      The IRS never takes any punitive actions, it just tries to change behavior!!!!

    • But these are the same people that are **shocked** when their new taxes don’t raise the amount they planned to spend because people changed their behavior. The Philly soda tax is the latest example

    • Mr. Barnard, the writer, is obviously perverting logic and playing a semantics game and calling a “disincentive” an incentive by merely changing the view point. However he misses the essential distinction. An “incentive” offers a reward for a certain behavior. A disincentive offers a punishment for not performing said behavior.
      The reward suggested by his perverted logic would be …. less punishment?
      Who do they think they are fooling?

  6. The reality is that the climate change we are experiencing today is caused by the sun and the oceans over which Monkind has no control. There is no real evidence that CO2 affects climate and plenty of scientific rational to support the ides that the climate sensivity of CO2 is really zero. But even if we could somehow stop the climate from changing, exreme weather events would continue and the sea level would continue increase, So there is nothing to be gained by reducing CO2 emissions.

  7. IF we really did have all electric cars has anyone thought about what it would be like to evacuate a city like Houston, Texas in a hurry, and everyone had to charge their cars at the same time? Just thinking out loud.

      • Is the power going to be working in South Australia in September? I was thinking of visiting then.

      • Hivemind,

        Maybe. When the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. Add long as the factories don’t need too much, if course,….

      • South Australian state Govn’t has just announced a tax on bank deposits to raise revenue. They are broke and now raiding bank account with more than AU$250,000. That’ll fix all SA problems for sure.

    • @ Steve Lohr

      Right you are …….. but you need to talk more realistic, like so:

      what it would be like to evacuate a city like New Orleans, the next time a CAT 3 or 4 Hurricane is forecasted and everyone had to charge their cars at the same time?

      Or,

      what it would be like to evacuate the Florida peninsula the next time a CAT 3 or 4 Hurricane is forecast to come ashore on either the East or West coast, and everyone had to charge their cars at the same time?

      • Speaking of the FL peninsula, the distance from Miami to Jacksonville (according to mapquest) is 343 miles. Even if everyone started with a fully charged battery, they would need to recharge their batteries somewhere along the way before they could even get out of FL, much less out of danger.

    • We were stuck in a traffic jam on the Oakland Bay Bridge. Stop and go forever the full length of the bridge. In the next lane was a fancy Tesla. We wondered who would bring him a can full of electrons when his battery charge dropped to zero. I don’t think the other drivers would have been pleased when he could no longer move on his own electrical power.

    • Simple answer–charge it with your generator, which may not work because of the ethanol problem, but if it did be sure you had plenty of gasoline, so you might rent a trailer to carry what is necessary, which would make you a hazard on the highway, which, etc., etc., Is this chaos theory? There may bigger problems just with simple evacuation.

  8. Yeah, and the behaviors they most want to change is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  9. Are there any other people apart from myself who find ‘behaviour-altering’ legislation REMARKABLY oppressive?

    Once the principle of forcing people to alter their lives in accordance with a directive from a ruler is accepted, there is really no possibility of freedom left.

    • I said exactly the same. It’s obvious that “socialism” is coming in our mind quietly and deeply!

      • I think the leftists can’t stand the idea that you could figure out the correct behaviour on your own. They have to change it for you, you see. They know best, and you’re just deplorable. The lumpenproletariat Left think that they are saving the world by changing your behaviour, and what could be more honourable and worthwhile than that? Meanwhile the elites are simply accumulating as much money, power, and control as they can physically get away with, for obvious and predictable reasons – that group is under no illusions about saving anything. Both support each other.

    • Just about any legislation that has a direct impact on people’s lives is “behavior altering.” The behavior elicited may not be the behavior desired, but it’s still the legislation that encourages the change in behavior.

    • And, yah, I do find it oppressive, which is yet another reason I’m big on minimizing government. As the (not so old as generally advertised) saying goes, “”A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.” What the saying doesn’t point out is that the “taking away” part is functionally connected and not necessarily intentional.

  10. The Conclusions Follow the Money:
    Academic Corruption; How Immigration and Climate Change are Related

    Researchers are Funded by Biased Liberal Sources:

    Many of the immigration scholars regularly cited in the press have worked for, or received funding from, pro-immigration businesses and associations. Consider, for instance, Giovanni Peri, an economist at UC Davis whose name pops up a lot in liberal commentary on the virtues of immigration.
    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/academic-corruption-how-immigration-and-climate-change-are-related/

  11. On average, Americans are already paying a carbon tax of $200/ton on transportation fuels! Europeans pay about $2,000US/ton of C! However, a fuel tax is a “user tax” that adheres to what economists refer to as the “benefit principle of taxation” – in this case, building and maintaining roads and other transportation-related infrastructure. Simply stated, the benefit principle says consumers of government services should be taxed in proportion to the benefit they obtain from them. A punitive climate-change based “carbon tax” yields no tangible benefit. Neither is such a tax guaranteed or even likely to be spent on beneficial projects rather than squandered by petty dictators, tyrants and rent-seekers (e.g., renewable energy scams like wind, solar and biofuels).

  12. Their premise on how people figure operating expense for cars is way off base. Most people are concerned with the monthly payment more than anything else. The only concern they have about gas mileage is what they see on the sticker where close enough is good enough.

    BTW, does anyone think that a carbon tax will be applied only to gasoline? As soon as there are sufficient electric cars being used, they will slap the carbon tax on electricity also.

    • In Ontario, we already have a carbon tax on electricity! They call it a “global adjustment”, but it’s a carbon tax in disguise being used to subsidize non-hydrocarbon-fuel-based, non-nuclear, and non-hydropower electrical generation – i.e. wind and solar subsidy farms.

  13. OK, we have another “Nanny” that would like to help us. This quote is textbook “nanny”: “Taxes are a necessary mechanism for governments to raise money for their actions. They are also a key lever for changing consumer and corporate behavior, along with regulations.”

  14. The UK has for decades had very high tax on petrol (gas)…
    UK drivers tend to go for small fuel efficient cars.
    Clearly taxation influences choices in the use of energy.

    • That is pure simplistic junk. The demand for petrol is remarkably inelastic, not least because people cannot easily and quickly change behaviours – they cannot move jobs, move closer to parents or children, buy a smaller or more fuel efficient car and so on.

      And as cars have become more fuel efficient, or as people become more wealthy, or as other things become cheaper, people can buy bigger cars, as they have been doing in the UK.

      Fuel taxation is simply a small part of an overall equation that is extremely complex.

    • As always, the point goes wooshing right over Griffies pointed little head.
      Nobody said that such taxes would not change behavior. We are ridiculing the notion that such taxes are not punitive.

      • Not only are the carbon taxes punitive, they are harmful to the overall economy.

        If a carbon tax raises the price of gasoline from $2.20 per gallon to $3 per gallon, that alone will reduce the U.S. GDP by one percent.

        And keep in mind that raising the price of gasoline harms the poorest people in our society the most. Raising gasoline prices is the worst kind of tax.

        The formula is: An increase of $0.80 per gallon equals a reduction in U.S. GDP of one percent. An $0.80 per gallon reduction in price equals an increase in U.S. GDP of one percent.

        President Trump is aiming to increase the current U.S. GDP from two percent annually to three percent annually. All Trump has to do to accomplish that goal is to reduce gasoline prices by $0.80 per gallon. He won’t get there by increasing gasoline prices.

        I hear President Trump is thinking about selling some of the oil in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That would lower gasoline prices. Do that, instead of raising a carbon tax.

    • Griff’s right, y’all.
      In the very long term, behaviors, especially in terms of car choice, do reflect economics. We saw this quite clearly when gas prices spiked to $4/gallon for several years. Car companies sold a lot more economy cars during that period than before or since.

      Now, you need significant changes to make impacts (because gasoline is a small part of our routine expenses), and it will take many years to be noticeable (because the increased cost of gas is nothing compared to a new, large capital expense, it is only cars that will be replaced anyway that will be affected by the changes). However, it does happen.

      Just because something is unethical or inefficient doesn’t mean it won’t work.

      • “Now, you need significant changes to make impacts (because gasoline is a small part of our routine expenses),”

        That depends on how much money one makes. Gasoline is a LARGE part of a poor person’s budget.

      • Unless you run a business that involves driving constantly, not really, TA. Even the cheapest of apartments costs several hundred a month, plus utilities. Paying for a gallon of gas per workday is $60 a month. It’s not trivial, but it’s not the primary cost. Most importantly for this discussion, the cost in gas is small in comparison to replacing a car.

      • You underestimate the distance between the home and the workplace. The most affordable housing and the most gainful employment are rarely in close enough proximity to consume just 1 gallon of gas/petrol a day. The reality is that the working poor usually have to compromise and get at best 2 out of the 3.

    • Yea. The UK is a country of lonely old people. Poor people can’t sacrifice essential travel like driving to work, but high fuel taxes turns non-essential travel like visiting the grandparents on the weekend into an unaffordable luxury.

    • For Ms Griff:

      Many in London, England don’t even own a car. Where there is traffic congestion and good public transport as well as an excellent taxi system, car ownership is not necessary except for those that want one for weekend use. (New York comes to mind.) I have friends who take the train into London every day.

      It is very different for low density areas of Australia, the United States or Canada where you need a decent vehicle when you may live 100’s of km from the nearest large centre. A small car is possible for me, except in winter it would never get me home to my rural, gravelled, unploughed road.

      But my relatives on the coast can get by with a small car and a car port since it rarely snows.

      Horses for courses. You can choose to live in London. Or you can choose to live in the wilderness like I do. I get taxed for my choice. But it’s a choice.

  15. The working classes would then receive a new tax, for a new entitlement, so the poor could have their new electric car.

  16. As brilliant as our founding fathers were, it always amazes me how they missed protections against the tyranny that taxes can be. Especially considering it being the spark that led to our being. Using taxes in an attempt to control behavior should be part of the 1st amendment….

    • The original constitution banned any taxes that were based on the individual. We needed an amendment before that could be passed.

    • Income taxes were unconstitutional until an amendment made them constitutional. The Founders had nothing to do with that (because they were all long dead).

      • To add to the others: Originally, the feds were to bill the STATES for the money to run the federal government, and the states could use whatever scheme they desired to raise the money. The check and balance on this was the voter in the state who could oust not only their Congressional representative, but also the state legislators, since the state legislators selected the US Senators. Everything was screwed up by amendments that gave direct taxing power to the feds, and cut the check and balance between the feds and state legislatures by changing how US Senators were elected. Now state legislatures are powerless to fight federal acts like unfunded mandates, regulations, loss of federal money for not enacting state laws and regulations the federal government wants, etc., and have zero input as to what the federal government does and spends.

  17. After reading the article and reading through the reader comments, I am surprised that no one has pointed out the “fatal flaw” in the rationale that results in this conclusion that I copied down from the article. This is one of the many examples of statements that use the truth in a way that they are telling a bold faced lie:

    “Filling up with electricity is half as expensive as filling up with gas at $2.40 a gallon on average in the USA, and closer to a third as expensive at $3.00.”

    In fact, that is a meaningless statement whose only purpose is to mislead and/or confuse the perhaps unwary.

  18. What’s the expected (typical) life of an EV battery? 7-8 years? And the cost? Several thousands I’m sure. That would be like replacing a car’s engine every 7-8 years My car is 7 y/o and the engine is probably good for another 10-15 years at my current rate of driving (probably longer) .

  19. “They want the most car for the money, they need to balance status with practicality, they need to balance her desire for an insanely fast corner carving beast with his relative timidity behind the wheel and the like.” Okay, the authors have shown themselves to be nothing but PC morons and I no longer feel the need to read the article. They have insulted my intelligence and I would not ever buy a new electric car after reading this—probably not a used one either. Electic cars are off the table forever. I hope that was the goal.

    So you buy the electric car and save on gas. The roads deteriorate so everyone’s taxes are raised and everyone HATES you and your faux virtue now. Or, in the best possible outcome, a tax is put on electric vehicles to cover road damage. There goes your cost savings.

  20. [ “Taxes … are also a key lever for changing consumer and corporate behavior” ]

    What behavior does the Income Tax change?

    • Tax work and you get less work.

      That”s why raising income tax thresholds increases employment.

      In the UK we have a more invidious tax on employment – employer’s National Insurance. That encourages businesses to use fewer workers as well.

  21. Maybe it is early and I have not had my coffee…. changes behavior. yes indeed, but is someone looking ahead?
    Fads change, local governments and municipalities, one day see green trendy programs as a way to encourage young high income earners into their tax base.
    What happens when things like EVs are no longer a fashion statement, when enough people own them that they are no longer a statement of individuality, of being self superiority? When these same governments suddenly see them as a source of endless captive funding. Or opportunists discover ways of making a “buck” off the vulnerabilities of EVs.
    Think about this, just because the percentage of EV vehicles increases does not mean the infrastructure to support them will actually be built. Business models-priorities change. Counting on a EV manufacture to build support charging stations is really taking a leap of faith. Cities? Forget it, after the few photo opp locations are completed some politician will rub greasy hands together and redirect any dedicated funds to his own vote buying schemes.

    What you will see is independent capitalistic adventurers set up their own recharging facilities, charging exorbitantly expensive rates.
    You may even see mobile charging units that use portable generators to rescue (exploit) hapless travelers that have strayed to far from the nearest charging station.

    like I said, it is early for me, but times change and there is always a way to make a honest if not ethical dollar.

    michael

  22. If something is cheap, people will figure out how to use it and more of it will be used.

    This applies to ‘cheap’ electricity as well.

    Electric vehicle drivers can drive much further (holidays, more day trips, etc) which increases the overall cost and does not change behavior.

    Do these people not know of the Law of Unintended Consequences or Murphy’s Law?

  23. If I assume for a moment that we had a “carbon tax,” exactly where does the money go ?

    There is a shortfall in SSA revenues, the military and highways need some rebuilding, schools can always absorb a few billion dollars, and their is always “cowboy poetry.”

    So allow we to repeat, exactly where does the money go ?

  24. “Replace that electric car’s battery every few years.” Eric Worrell better start reading up on electric cars if he doesn’t want to produce laughable boners like that little gem. The estimated lifespan of the Telsa Model S battery pack,if memory serves, is well beyond 12 years – 15 to 18 years as I recall. In other words, the battery will likely outlast the car and by the time it needs to be replaced, won’t cost very much.
    However, there is no good reason to assume that people will not move to electric cars in droves and end the gas powered car era when batteries get further reduced in cost (which is coming) due to newly developed nanotechnological methods of producing cathodes. With inexpesnsive batteries, a gas powered car cannot compete with an electric, either in fuel or maintenance costs or reliability or build costs. Doesn’t Eric understand just how much electrification simplifies an automobile? Just count the number of parts, for a starter. Disregard the Tesla Model S – that car is over the top in every department, including cost.

    • “With inexpesnsive batteries, a gas powered car cannot compete with an electric, either in fuel or maintenance costs or reliability or build costs.”

      EVs can’t compete with ICE cars in terms of convenience and dependability. Not even close. People are willing to pay for that real value. EV battery technology just isn’t there yet, and there’s no guarantee that it ever will be.

      • I keep wondering what it would be like to miscalculate (due to temp, road grade, load, etc) and run out of juice somewhere. A little bit more problematic than hitching a ride to a gas station and borrowing a gas can – “Pardon me. Do you happen to have a 3-mile-long extension cord that I could borrow for about 10 hours?”

    • Less parts, but very expensive. That photo on the top of the page would cost around $22,000 US, whereas my Kia Rio cost $7,000 Aust. Even if I have to pay high petrol taxes, I save over the life of the car.

    • Batteries ARE expensive to replace, but the manufacturers hide this by putting replacement costs into the warranty, etc. If one believes everything one reads about EVs and never looks at large scale usage, I suppose one can buy into the “cheaper EV” models. On the other hand, real life is not ever portrayed by the sellers, who insult people’s intelligence trying to sell the car. I refuse to buy from PC people who would lie about anything to sell a car. If you want to “believe”, feel free.

      • The sales pitch reminds me of the 60’s advertisement for the Fiat 500 ‘estate’. Showing a 4-person family loading luggage ready for a holiday. Well, I had one, and my head just cleared the roof. 2 small passengers (no luggage) and it was full. Then there was the time I took the 200+ pound Chief Engineer of Fiji Airlines back to his hotel from the airport…

    • arthur4563 June 21, 2017 at 5:30 am

      Well the Model S battery pack has not been “out” there long enough to make claims of 15-18 years.
      What would be a better measure is total maintenance hrs per vehicle type not just “S”. Also the repair and replacement costs. If a line item is 20,000 k US (as I have seen on one forum) its a show stopper. A new engine for a IC runs less then a 1,000.
      Heck at that price you could actually buy one and store it for 25 years down the road. Oh and before you disagree, WW1 aircraft engines have been located packed in boxes and used in the restoration of aircraft at Rinebeck airdrome New York.
      Proven Tech vs unproven tech

      michael

    • If batteries keep getting cheaper at the current rate. In about 150 years they will become affordable.

    • Nameplate life expectancy is not the same as actual life expectancy. Tesla develops those estimates by rapidly cycling batteries in a controlled temperature. Once the battery leaves the lab, it becomes exposed to all sorts of environmental conditions for which it is not designed

      Tesla has made a lot of progress on the life expectancy of their batteries. But, you put that car in Arizona or Florida and it will lose capacity much faster than a more moderate climate. If you put it in Michigan or Alaska, the battery may not start in the winter time without heating.

      • Maximum life expectancy is also achieved by carefully controlling both the charge and discharge rates. Plus, according to what some here have said, you shouldn’t discharge below 10% or charge above 90% to get maximum life expectancy. (that also cuts 20% off your range.)
        I wonder how much life expectancy is lost every time you use one of those superchargers to charge the battery pack in just 1 hour?

      • “Plus, according to what some here have said, you shouldn’t discharge below 10% or charge above 90% to get maximum life expectancy. (that also cuts 20% off your range.)”

        That’s sort of an error. The quoted capacity should include the charge and discharge capacities. For instance, the technology may be capable of reaching 4.3V, but Tesla might rate their capacity at a max voltage of 4.2V. Predatory side reactions occur at the higher voltage.

        There is also an irreversible capacity loss on first charge. This should be in the 8-10% of theoretical capacity of the materials. Some companies include the irreversible losses in their nameplate capacity to make their batteries sound better, but most do not.

    • What is the range of a Model S at 110 kph in 40C heat with the A/C going flat out?
      I drive a Commodore and get a range of 800-850km.

      Sorry, rhetorical question, electric car drivers stick to the cities.

    • Battery life is one thing, but performance past 50% of that life battery performance deteriorates rapidly. You will be charging more often and travelling shorter distances. Battery performance is also drastically affected by temperature. So what Telas claims is pure fiction.

  25. I have always been skeptical of those arrogant and egotistical souls who believe they can use taxes to engineer and modify human behavior as required to achieve some desired societal outcome. They are the high priests of the faith who decide what is evil and what is good, and they apply the taxes appropriately to achieve the desired engineered outcome from society.

    To make matters worse, these displays of arrogance and over-inflated egos are not confined to engineering and modifying human behavior with taxes. They are planning a climate engineering conference in Berlin later this fall. Heck, if they can engineer human behavior, they certainly should be able to engineer the Earth’s climate as well, right?

    http://www.ce-conference.org/

    “……..Climate engineering is an increasingly encountered topic within political, scientific, and cultural discussions of climate change. Building on the success of the first international climate engineering conference in 2014 (CEC14), by organizing CEC17 in October 2017, we strive to continue critical global discussions by bringing together the research, policy, and civic communities to discuss the highly complex and interlinked ethical, social and technical issues related to climate engineering. The conference will provide a thorough and timely update on the latest developments in the field…..”
    ….
    ….
    “…..More than 10 years have passed since Paul Crutzen’s seminal article in Climatic Change sparked an unprecedented surge in discussions of options for reflecting sunlight away from Earth to reduce the impacts of climate change. Together with proposals for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the topic has developed from a fringe issue into an interdisciplinary conversation that is increasingly recognized as one of the central challenges in contemporary climate change research and politics….”.

    All of this, in fact, repulses me.

  26. Isn’t it puzzling how the left knows that taxing fuel will decrease it’s use but try to make us believe that increasing other taxes will not decrease economic activity.

    • The mark of the modern Liberal-Left is to hold two contradictory opinions on a wide range of issues.

      Thus taxes on things they don’t like, like cigarettes and carbon reduce consumption, but taxes on labour or work or investment (corporation tax) will not.

      • True Tim, but maybe 3 or 4 contradictory opinions that they are willing to share.
        They dream of a world minus billions of people they don’t know the least thing about. The believe in full freedom to lie, cheat, steal, and riot and kill those who do not agree with their opinions; while seeking to deny all rights to those who disagree.
        By the way, remember the occupy mobs in 2012 who came just before the election then disappeared and the BLM movement which came for the 2016 election and starting fading after Nov 2016?
        How violent, how disruptive, and how damaging to America is the movement the radical leftists are planning for 2020?

  27. The Green Crowd is in love with Life Cycle Assessments which strive to attribute GHG emissions to human activities but ignore the benefits of CO2 to society. On obvious fallacy to energy LCA is that this approach often ignores reality. In California, the ARB claims that EV’s reduce GHG emissions by about 40% vs conventional gasoline vehicles. That may be close to accurate when the battery is new, but as it ages and requires more frequent charging, the charge-discharge cycles consumes more power than when new causing an increase in GHG emissions which have not be accounted for in the “Total” life cycle of that product. Also, the assumed benefits to EV’s only apply to CA grid average GHG emissions which are about 0.75 lbs/kw-h vs well above 1 for most places in the US. This change alone makes EV’s emit as much GHG’s as a conventional gasoline vehicle.

    Thus the “Carbon Tax” to change behavior actually does nothing but increase taxes and shift purchases to favored technologies which were probably investing heavily in the politicians that made the laws favoring EV’s in the first place.

    Having lived in the LA Basin for 30 years, I predict that EV’s will become the scourge of the freeways. Knowing how people behave, I think this is the likely scenario:
    –People will forget to recharge their EV at night.
    –They will either see that they have insufficient charge to complete the day’s drive or ignore the charge level altogether (more likely).
    –They will run out of charge on the freeway creating massive traffic jams and irritating commuters by being stuck in the fast lane or carpool lane (which they are entitled to use simply because they have an EV)
    –More likely than not, someone will shoot them and the press will blame crazy drivers of gasoline vehicles for being insane instead of looking at the real cause of the problem.

  28. What gets me in all of this is, while I can’t say for certain, intuition suggests to me that Michael Barnard probably thinks that Donald Trump is actually stupid.

    I may be wrong but I’ll bet on it.

    • That is the real point – a tax is not punitive unless it is levied at a very high rate.

      But changing behavior when I don’t want to is simply coercion

    • The problem is that a majority of voters are voting to increase taxes on other people, not themselves.
      In their minds, they are voting intelligently.

      One leftist recently tried to defend the recent shooting of Republicans in DC as being self defense, since Republicans were threatening to take away ObamaCare.

  29. Armed robbery isn’t punitive. It just changes the behavior of the person being robbed.

  30. 100 a month saving won’t cover ANY EV that takes me where I want to go, when I want to go (and return). That will soon vanish as governments (aka regulators) switch to mileage taxes. To say nothing of my domestic energy bills going up by at least that amount to cover subsidies to the renewables feeders. Don’t talk to me about SCC….

  31. Energy taxes aren’t punitive, all you have to do to avoid them is turn off the heat in the winter.

    • I’m working on another work around involving wood and a stove. That way, I stay warm and still cut energy taxes. I still need propane for backup and overnight, but I hate being prisoner to the propane companies. My current one isn’t bad, but that rarely lasts. Forget taxes, the prices alone seem punitive in many cases.

  32. Hanging, drowning, and burning witches wasn’t punitive; it was to get them to change their behavior.

  33. “This is a common misconception, especially in the USA where taxes have been demonized and cut for decades, and politicians bend themselves into all sorts of silly shapes to avoid putting a tax on something. However, it’s a false assertion. Taxes are a necessary mechanism for governments to raise money for their actions. ”

    Superficially, this is true. In this example, it is the height of hubris. Carbon taxes are enormously regressive. They affect the middle class and poor much more than the wealthy.

    It’s hard to believe, but our nation has shifted from a progressive tax structure to a regressive structure over the past 30-40 years. This is the biggest driver behind the lack of opportunity and the growth in income inequality.

    In the 1950s & 1960s, payroll taxes accounted for less than 10% of government revenue. Now, payroll taxes are more than 35% of government revenue — all the while, the government revenue as a percent of GDP has been unchanged. Payroll taxes are almost exclusively middle class taxes. Add to this the other mandatory costs (non-tax) enabled by the government and we are now a Banana Republic.

  34. In a “Free” country, as we “supposedly” are, the government is NOT supposed to be influencing or changing consumer or corporate behaviors ! This is the fundamental problem with democrats and democrat policies !

  35. The state STARTS by pushing people to “shift behaviors to preferential ones” (“preferential” defined by who and on what ground?). Where will it STOP?

  36. They are also a key lever for changing consumer and corporate behavior,

    key phrasing right there.

  37. I think Commie Bob nails the reality about the liberal elite hating the poor and happily doing anything to marginalize them. To add to the latest catalogue of actions to hurt them, in London it is now proposed that in addition to making sure only those wealthy enough to buy new cars every few years will be allowed to drive in the city area, it is also being planned to have an additional mileage tax. This will help to ensure only the right sort of people will have the use of London’s roads, including those able to afford absurd electric cars.
    In another example of the absolute hypocritical claptrap the liberal BBC/Guardian types indulge in, in today’s Times we have rockstar luvvie Brian May whining that having paid £10k for a flight in first class by British Airways, he was outraged that he couldn’t actually see the ground from his window.
    Doubtless those traveling in the rest of the plane would have felt for his pain. Perhaps Mr May and his ilk will feel better about life when the poor are unable to travel anywhere because of enviro taxes and will be confined to their slums with overpriced electricity and water available for only an hour each day and no heating (too much CO2 emmission) and airplanes will be just a spacious private lounge for the hard done by rich. No more deplorables to get in the way then.

  38. Environmentalists have this nagging problem with economics, so they have devised a solution. Make the solution uniformly exorbitantly expensive, and make this the new normal so there is no net difference among people. Costs of all of society are just at a new, exorbitant level. Consider it like inflation. After all, we Western cultures are already a long way from living on a dollar a day, so instead of living on $200 a day, make is an environmentally friendly $1000 a day for everyone. Then all your clean dreams become affordable to all.

  39. Here’s what I posted in response to Michael Barnard’s answer :

    Money taken by force from people who may barely be able to afford to heat their homes much less a new used car , all for cash flow to a political class on the basis of criminally bad science is not punishing ?

    This guy must live on taken tax money .

    No , a tax on the molecule which is the molar equal with H2O in the structure of life ( and thus visibly substantially greening the planet and increasing agricultural yields ) will do nothing but keep the impoverished impoverished .

    Even the global statists admit that agreements like Paris will have no measurable effect on planetary temperature . They are merely “symbolic” , aka “virtue signalling” .

    The entire foundation of the demonization of the “green” molecule — that the bottoms of atmospheres are hotter than the a ball in orbit next to them due to some spectral “green house gas” effect is disproved by undergraduate level physics of radiative heat transfer .

    Before taxing the anabolic half of the respiratory cycle of life , lets see the quantitative equations and the experimental demonstrations of their claimed heat trapping . It’s been decades now , and no such equations nor experiment have been presented . Never anything as one would expect in an honest branch of applied physics .

    • Michael Barnard ( BA English Literature & Environmental Studies, University of Toronto ) immediately responded to me

      Welcome to Quora. Read the “Be Nice, Be Respectful” policy? before you comment again.

      As a suggestion, stick to Forth.

      Frankly , being called “deniers” and subject to all sorts of continual subtle or not so- insults by these “people” , it’s hard not to insult back . I guess the insult was “This guy must live on taken tax money .”

  40. A raser strap across the butt, too, is not punishment. Rather it was just a way to change childrens’ behavior in the olden days.

  41. Magical Thinking.. if you/me/anyone gets into a depressed mental state – easily done simply through eating a diet high in carbohydrate. me/you/anyone will dwell on a subject (almost any subject) for so long – it becomes true. Me/you/anyone effectively hypnotise and brainwash ourselves.
    So it is here.

    Motor fuel tax in the UK, certainly Europe. Why so high. Its *always* been high.
    To build new roads and repair old ones they will say. But what about motor vehicle road tax. Motor vehicle insurance tax.
    Such a huge revenue stream and a fraction is spent on roads,

    There is, not far from me here near Sherwood Forest, one or two oil wells.
    I kid ye not. Nodding donkeys, pipes, tanks, rusty metal fences. The Complete Kit.
    Ang o near that fence and its actually in very good repair, with razor wire around the top and huge chains and padlocks on the gate(s)
    And on the gate, a big notice. Its from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
    AKA The tax man.

    It does not mess about. There is ‘instant response’ CCTV watching the place and if anyone is seen in any way touching anything there, they will be in sooo much sh1t you could not believe it.

    At a poxy little oil well, in a field, miles from anywhere, the major concern is that someone might break in and steal something (crude oil presumably) Hardly any mention of Health and Safety as there usually is at similar places. The tax-man is scared sh1tless about losing a few ££ of oil revenue.

    CO2
    Warmists and bedwetters are quite pleased about CO2 emission reduction from power stations burning natural gas rather than coal.

    So, I suggest, burn Nat Gas in motor vehicles.
    The delivery infrastructure is all there, existing engines would need minimum modification, CO2 emissions would halve and the soot/smoke problem would completely disappear.

    But ‘they’ cannot can they?
    Not least as some enterprising Chinaman, on ebay probably, would start selling little compressors that would fill people’s cars at home, from the same supply the cooker in the kitchen uses.

    And the epic tax stream from road fuel would vanish almost overnight so, It Won’t *Ever* Happen, not in the UK or Europe. Despite the huge advantages to ‘The Environment’ The tax stream (the $$$$ ££££) is more important.

    Back on topic – do we presume that controlling people is more important than the planet, the polar bears, the grand children, coral reefs, pika etc etc etc. let alone Griff’s state of mind (and the ice)

    Letting road transport fuel itself with nat gas would be a huge win win for everyone, except the tax man, so lets see what happens…..

    • “Peta from Cumbria, now Newark June 21, 2017 at 9:09 am

      But what about motor vehicle road tax.”

      It is this tax, or the road fund license, that is supposed to be used for road building and maintenance. Of course, like in any other country I have lived in, it goes in to a consolidated fund and disappears. When I moved to New Zealand in 1995, the UK road tax on private vehicles alone raised the equivalent of ~75% of GDP, or roughly NZ$75bil. Very little of that was actually spent on roads that you. The tax numbers for car use in the UK are enormous.

  42. Failing to recognize that CO2 has no significant effect on climate is an egregious mistake but is dwarfed by the potential disasters of what actually does.

    The still-rising water vapor is rising about three times as fast as expected from water temperature increase alone (feedback). The rising WV coincides with rising irrigation, especially spray irrigation on fields and lawns. The warming (WV is a ghg) is welcome (countering the average global cooling which would otherwise be occurring) but the added WV increases the risk of precipitation related flooding. How much of recent flooding (with incidences reported world wide) is simply bad luck in the randomness of weather and how much is because of the ‘thumb on the scale’ of added water vapor?

    “We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” Ayn Rand

  43. Near as I can tell, it’s all punitive and does very little to change behavior.

    Nietzsche — ‘But thus I counsel you, my friends: Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful

  44. Incentivize electric and hybrid vehicles…then give them a special tax because they hurt gas tax revenue. Ah, government.

    • electric cars are stupidly designed. They should carry 2 batteries. One empty use the other one to reach a station. And do not load batteries, change them by precharged ones.

  45. To me, this is the heart of the matter, wrapped up in two sentences –

    Taxes are a necessary mechanism for governments to raise money for their actions. They are also a key lever for changing consumer and corporate behavior, along with regulations.

    I agree, taxes are needed to pay for governments actions. Of course, the question then pops into my mind as to who determines what actions governments must do? But the second sentence is what burns my butt. WHY is it necessary for government to change consumer and corporate behavior? Best I have always been able to figure is given the opportunity, “behavior” settles out on its own without government pontificating and “levering” anything. We really aren’t “cattle” and need to be herded anywhere.

  46. If forcing people to do what you want this way is OK. Then taxing members of the democratic party is OK because they can always quit and join the libertarian party.
    By the way Oregon taxes electric car drivers extra because they don’t pay fuel taxes for roads. So logic fail all around.

  47. Mainly, new taxes are a way to more the Ruling Class closer to having it ALL. Until the economy collapses again…

  48. A “low-carbon innovation analyst”? How much is the taxpayer being dinged to pay the salary for that fake job? The world would be a lot better off if he learned how to swing a hammer instead of analyzing low-carbon innovations.
    /snark

  49. When Australia brought in the World’s Biggest Carbon Tax, my view was and remains: Terrrible policy, but at least we pay the tax to ourselves. No corrupt kleptocrats in Russia, Uganda, or Australia. It’s just a tax – to be spent in Australia. Not given away like a global ETS.

  50. It’s always the plots of professional activists to try to destabilize the societies they’re in.

    This is the foundational tenet of political understanding. No matter what the excuse, most high energy activism is the spawn of an obsessive troublemaker who just happens to land on the right political, note,

    that everyone starts feeling like dancing. That note is untouchable power to maintain undiminished wealth.

    Political operatives who latch onto some scientific principle then begin bilking others in fraud are the original national poltergeists.

    They start their lives out learning to mimic and thrill youth by attending universities and colleges, learning the basics of herding human beings,

    then go into jobs where they fully feel entitled to never, ever suffer a financial setback. There won’t be any firings, there won’t be any competency checks, there will be free money, power, and privilege.

    The entire Western world was shocked to it’s core to find the Environmentalists of the world extorting millions in faked ‘research’ grants: when they’d had congressional grants rules changed to include ”theoretical physics” grants.

    That was what Hansen achieved so that he and his government climate organ administrators could simply steal at will.

    This is not going to get better either. A large portion of the national population has realized that if they all refuse to obey the law together, they ARE the law: and YOU’LL pay or YOU’LL be attacked.

    It’s a simple story of criminality throughout an entire civilization: fostered by part of it’s leaders to try to diminish the influence of those they disagree with.

  51. So to avoid paying a carbon tax, I would buy a new electric vehicle and make payments I can’t afford (because I’m barely making ends meet now) that won’t do what I need it to do like a gas powered car will.

    What university degree do you need in order for this to make sense?

    Gas is already much higher priced than that here in Canada but hardly anyone drives electrics. Only the rich can afford them because you need a fossil powered car for anything other than short trips.

  52. Contrary to the claim of this article, carbon taxes will definitely impact the consumer and the less discretionary money you have, the harder it will hurt. Carbon taxes will increase the cost of EVERYTHING, not just the gasoline you put in your car. Everything takes energy to make, move or use… including food, clothes, toilet paper.. you name it. It will all be affected negatively by the increased cost of energy. Add on top of that the billions of dollars the government and their Cronies like Al Gore will skim off and just about anyone with an IQ higher than 30 can easily figure that the claim in this article is absolute Progressive BS.

  53. I addressed this in an analytical piece six years ago by looking at change in transportation fuel consumption rates in the United States over time compared to change in transportation fuel real costs, and came to exactly the same conclusion. I summed the argument up as follows:

    If the bulk of transportation fuel purchases are indeed effectively non-discretionary, then there is only a very limited extent to which consumer behaviour patterns vis-à-vis transportation fuel consumption are subject to alteration through the imposition of artificial price increases regardless of how they are accomplished; direct taxes (like carbon taxes levied at the pump) or indirect taxes (like price increases resulting from trading in carbon credits purchased by petroleum distillers, with costs passed on to consumers), even if enormous, will not have the desired effect. This is the difference between a luxury and a necessity. If the price of caviar goes up, chances are you’ll eat less caviar; and if it goes up enough, you might well phase it out of your diet. Nobody needs caviar, after all. If the price of wheat goes up, though, chances are you’ll still buy bread; you’ll just have to adapt by reducing consumption in areas that are more discretionary. You’ll see fewer movies, put off buying that X-Box, or not purchase the sofa you’ve been saving for. You don’t really have a choice about buying bread, you see, because the alternative is starvation.

    And as the data demonstrate, you largely don’t have a choice about driving your car. The little discretionary things – like that trip to Disney World you wanted to take the kids on – will disappear. But that’s less than 10% of the gas you’ll buy in a year. And a 10% reduction at the margins of consumer behaviour will have a negligible impact compared to much larger effects – like the massive reduction in fossil fuel consumption imposed by a crushing economic crisis; or the massive increase in fossil fuel consumption occasioned by increasing demand for fuel in the growing economies in Asia.

    When 90% of your purchases in a given sector are non-discretionary, you’re an addict. So the bottom line, I guess, is that for all practical purposes, we ARE addicted to fossil fuels – at least in the sense that price changes do not appear to significantly impact consumption patterns (looks like I agree with Obama on something. Somebody write the date down). Which is why trying to modify behaviour through price manipulation won’t work. Forcing consumers to pay higher prices for largely non-discretionary commodities like transportation fuel will not lead to a significant reduction in fuel consumption; it will simply lead to a lower standard of living by forcing them to make sacrifices in discretionary areas. Spending an extra $700 on gas simply means that the family won’t be able to afford the nice-to-haves, like sending little Johnny to hockey practice. Which of course means that Mom won’t have to drive him there, which means that she’ll save the expense of the fuel that would have been consumed, which in turn means a concomitant reduction in those greenhouse gas emissions Obama was talking about when he advised that Pennsylvania man to buy a hybrid to transport his 10 children in.

    Of course, any family that is having difficulty affording a $700 increase in annual fuel costs probably isn’t in a position to spend $40k on a Prius. But, hey…details.

    • Which is why trying to modify behaviour through price manipulation won’t work. Forcing consumers to pay higher prices for largely non-discretionary commodities like transportation fuel will not lead to a significant reduction in fuel consumption; it will simply lead to a lower standard of living by forcing them to make sacrifices in discretionary areas.

      But, if that mandated $700.00 (or that $2,400.00 a year, or that mandated $4,800.00 a year) in energy costs don’t go to “paying the oil companies” (which actually goes to the oil-producing national governments worldwide) but go to “paying a refundable carbon tax to the US government” then the US government can re-distribute that new tax revenue to the “deserving citizens” as it sees fit – ie, to the low income voters who “deserve it”. And who don’t pay the energy tax, but who do vote democrat-socialist-communist.

    • climate alarmism and related energy policy may easily be interpreted as a revolt of the elites. A regression to a feudal society with very few very rich and many poor: their servants. Definition of poor (slaves) : no money left after paying for basic needs. Basic mental drive is the fear for energy and resource shortages. It also is the result of little faith in human ingenuity.

  54. This… hrm, Anthony doesn’t allow such language.

    Carbon taxes are only part of the “Green” agenda. A very small part, at that. Let’s take a look at a couple in Australia – a “leader” in the drive towards complete “renewability.” With policies that, without their recent setback, would undoubtedly have been forced onto the US.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2017/06/shocking-electricity-price-rises-coming-in-australia-not-a-failure-of-energy-policy-but-a-complete-success/

    Any rational couple would take one look at their new electric bill, realize that this is going to happen every year from here out (assuming they have electricity with which to charge their EV) – and say “IC, all the way, that’s the ticket for us!”

  55. Taxes on alcohol, tobacco and petrol does not seem to change behaviour. What it does is allow Govn’ts to INCREASE taxes on stuff people use.

  56. I don’t think the person “Michael Barnard” knows the meaning of what he said “This doesn’t penalize them, but it does shift behaviors to preferential ones.” .. ooops or she, it, them, they….. or whatever noun pronoun combination he prefers. So if people don’t look of it as a tax penalty on their bad behavior but look at it as offering to give them back some of the money that was a tax penalty for bad or unapproved behavior, its a win-win. wow….. just wow!

    Cheers,
    Joe

  57. I’m sorry to say this but … they are economic morons.
    Induced demand, or latent demand, or supplier-induced demand, is the phenomenon that after supply increases, more of a good is consumed. It has nothing to do with a price effect. It has not come from the behavioural economics field.
    Why is it even being given air-time?

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