Washington Post Proposes a $43 / ton Carbon Tax, Rising 3% Per Year

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Despite massive ongoing social unrest triggered by an attempt to introduce carbon taxes in France, greens still think they can get away with it.

Why I’m (slightly) less pessimistic about global warming

By Robert J. Samuelson
January 20 at 6:35 PM

We have yet to discover or create some low-cost fuel that would replace fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal), which provide roughly 80 percent of the world’s energy. Most nations aren’t willing to scrap the energy status quo — the very basis of modern civilization — before having a practical substitute.

Under one proposal, the government would slap a $43 tax on each ton of CO2. That would equal about 38 cents on a gallon of gasoline, says economist Marc Hafstead of Resources for the Future, who studied the plan. It would raise about $180 billion in the tax’s first year, he says. If the “dividend” — the tax rebate — were distributed evenly, that would be about $1,400 per household.

Meanwhile, if the tax were increased 3 percent annually, there would be (according to the estimates) a dramatic reduction in U.S. fossil fuel use and greenhouse gases. Without the tax, projected CO2 emissions would be 5.4 billion metric tons in 2035. With the tax, the total would be 3.6 billion metric tons, a 33 percent decline. Still, this would hardly eliminate greenhouse-gas emissions.

Read more (paywalled): https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-im-slightly-less-pessimistic-about-global-warming/2019/01/20/4c2b3122-1b52-11e9-88fe-f9f77a3bcb6c_story.html

The source of this idea is the “Economists’ Statement”, a manifesto produced by a high profile group of economists and other financial personalities including former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and former Treasury secretary George Shultz;


Global climate change is a serious problem calling for immediate national action. Guided by sound economic principles, we are united in the following policy recommendations.

I.          A carbon tax offers the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the scale and speed that is necessary. By correcting a well-known market failure, a carbon tax will send a powerful price signal that harnesses the invisible hand of the marketplace to steer economic actors towards a low-carbon future.

II.         A carbon tax should increase every year until emissions reductions goals are met and be revenue neutral to avoid debates over the size of government. A consistently rising carbon price will encourage technological innovation and large-scale infrastructure development. It will also accelerate the diffusion of carbon-efficient goods and services.

III.        A sufficiently robust and gradually rising carbon tax will replace the need for various carbon regulations that are less efficient. Substituting a price signal for cumbersome regulations will promote economic growth and provide the regulatory certainty companies need for long- term investment in clean-energy alternatives.

IV.        To prevent carbon leakage and to protect U.S. competitiveness, a border carbon adjustment system should be established. This system would enhance the competitiveness of American firms that are more energy-efficient than their global competitors. It would also create an incentive for other nations to adopt similar carbon pricing.

V.         To maximize the fairness and political viability of a rising carbon tax, all the revenue should be returned directly to U.S. citizens through equal lump-sum rebates. The majority of American families, including the most vulnerable, will benefit financially by receiving more in “carbon dividends” than they pay in increased energy prices.

Source: https://www.econstatement.org

All these carbon tax ideas seem to assume fossil fuel use is elastic, that using fossil fuel is a simple choice; people can choose to use less fossil fuel. But delve into the issue and lot of that elasticity disappears.

As President Macron of France discovered, if you are a rural worker, hopping on a bus is usually not an option; you need fossil fuel to get to work, to operate agricultural machinery, and to transport farm produce and supplies.

The Washington Post author admits there is currently no practical substitute for fossil fuel.

Food producers whose businesses survived the imposition of carbon taxes would have no choice other than to keep using more or less the same amount of carbon taxed fossil fuel as they currently use, but they would have to pass the additional costs on to consumers.

I suggest a “solution” which creates substantial upward pressure on the price of food is unlikely to benefit disadvantaged people.

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R Shearer
January 21, 2019 5:04 pm

Why not $430/ton, then the alternatives will be found 10 times more quickly.

Reply to  R Shearer
January 21, 2019 5:54 pm

A bigger “why” is why is this crap always directed at the USA?

…the one country that has dropped emissions and not even in the running any more

And if China is a third world country…why is the rest of the world scared sh1tless China is going to blow them up?

Reply to  Latitude
January 21, 2019 6:45 pm


Bryan A
Reply to  markl
January 21, 2019 8:59 pm

Charging people a tax that is used for no productive use but is rather paid back as a dividend is nothing more than wealth redistribution. It could have some effect on the Jet Set if AvGas for their private jets is heavily carbon taxed then paid back as a dividend to the non jet set…
Still just wealth redistribution though.

Reply to  Bryan A
January 22, 2019 10:43 am

Don’t neglect to charge the Washington Post for the carbon cost of Newsprint (and also on the Carbon Cost of operating all their computers. As the WaPooPoo loves to promote taxes on the rest of us while they ‘skate’ claiming First Amendment freedom or the press, it would be fun to watch them squall because they now have to pay at least SOME of the taxes that they promote being imposed on the rest of us.
My prediction is that they will scream for an exemption from the tax.

Thomas Englert
Reply to  Bryan A
February 2, 2019 8:35 pm

I guess this tax will make wind turbine installations a lot more expensive with all that concrete, etc.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Latitude
January 21, 2019 8:09 pm

China has 45 % of the world’s skyscrapers

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
January 22, 2019 12:04 am

And improved ClimateTech coal cool stoves :


Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
January 22, 2019 12:09 am

And improved ClimateTech coal cook stoves :


– always renewable reliable typos –

Global Cooling
Reply to  Latitude
January 21, 2019 8:39 pm

What about carbon tariff on Chinese products?

Michael A Klopp
Reply to  Latitude
January 22, 2019 6:15 am

Two fold answer: 1 Because the USA has a majority of gullible government educated mass who cannot think for themselves and are very susceptible to this kind of propaganda. 2 Because it is another way to control our wealth as the Fed is not enough, especially since their attempt at taking over our health care has hit the rocks.

Reply to  R Shearer
January 21, 2019 6:28 pm

Wasn’t something around $400/ton recommended to save us from Climate Armageddon(TM)? If they really believe that the end is around the corner, why aren’t they imposing the full amount right now?

Sir Padre
Reply to  PaulH
January 22, 2019 9:26 am

Sticker shock!

Charles Higley
Reply to  R Shearer
January 21, 2019 8:03 pm

Exactly. I carbon tax will not have any effect unless it hurts. So, by definition, whatever they come up with has to be bad for every body.

With the fact that no gas at any concentration in the atmosphere can detectably warm the climate, all efforts to decrease CO2 emissions is by definition for all the boring reasons. We need more CO2 not less, with our cooling climate.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Charles Higley
January 21, 2019 9:22 pm

They are targetting “emissions” but nobody has done the first step – proving that “emissions” change the temperature.

Sir Padre
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
January 22, 2019 9:33 am

That’s because water vapor, at 95% of “greenhouse gases”, can’t be realistically targeted. .003% CO2 LOOKS viable without doing much (other than killing all plant life if dropped below 280 ppm) to change things at all. That’s why they declare war against things; guarenteed “war without end”.

Reply to  R Shearer
January 22, 2019 7:40 am

Robert Samuelson lives in a Rube Goldberg world where all events can be manipulated and controlled with no unintended consequences. He should know better, but time has not sharpened his mind, it’s blinded his vision.

Dave Fair
Reply to  William Capron
January 22, 2019 11:18 am

A U.S. CO2 tax will distort markets, not “provide market incentives.” It will increase the costs of all goods and services, leading to inflation. Giving “free” money to consumers will further increase the already inflationary impact of the original CO2 taxing idiocy.

A U.S. CO2 tax will wreck exports. A U.S. CO2 tax on imports will result in other nations increasing trade among themselves, avoiding the U.S. and further wrecking our economy.

Those advocating CO2 taxes are not true economists. They are ideologues pushing a false climate meme.

N.B. I initially wrote “carbon” instead of “CO2.” Please do not fall into the propaganda trap when writing or talking about global warming. [See, not “climate change.”]

Thomas Englert
Reply to  Dave Fair
February 2, 2019 8:40 pm

CO2 is mostly oxygen, so it’s really an “Oxygen Tax”.

Sir Padre
Reply to  R Shearer
January 22, 2019 9:51 am

How about removing the suppression of 5,784 patents (a major portion of which involve electrical generation) by the US government?


Clay Sanborn
January 21, 2019 5:07 pm

I propose a tax of 1 cent/word tax on written and verbal news media outlets such as The Washington Post, increasing to 2 cents/word in one decade.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  Clay Sanborn
January 22, 2019 7:40 am

And specific words like ‘Impeachment’ and ‘Collusion’ should be charged at $1,000/word (for single daily use) increasing to $10,000/word for each repeated use in the same day.

We could pay off the national debt in less than a month.

Tom Halla
January 21, 2019 5:07 pm

On one hand, it is just another tax. On the other, as it is very unlikely to have any positive effect on climate, it is virtue signalling. The appalling thing is that Samuelson should know better.

J. Philip Peterson
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 21, 2019 5:20 pm

Increased taxes on tobacco products decreased consumption. Increase taxes on carbon(dioxide) will have the same effect, namely a decease in emission.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 5:33 pm

Increase taxes on basic food items, decrease consumption.

And which segment of the population gets hit hardest?
And which segment of the population will still fly around the world in private jets, have ski chalets in Swiss Alps and Aspen, attend the latest liberal movie viewing venues in Aspen-Caans-ParkCity, mega-yachts in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, and all the while having a carbon footprint as large as 20 ocean liners?

You are seriously a chump JPP if you believe the Liberals are advocating the reduction in everyone else’s carbon emissions for the good of the planet or climate control.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 21, 2019 6:05 pm

Come on, he’s right, admit it.

Taxing CO2 will put far more people below the poverty line due to increases in the price of pretty much everything, especially heating fuel. More people will die earlier, especially due to cold weather. Hey, presto! Less CO2 emitted!

It’s a perfect solution, really.
/sarc, but maybe not…

Tom Halla
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 5:34 pm

Some products are price-elastic, others are much less so. A really deceptive analogy, unless the tax is so high it causes a technological change to avoid having to pay it. As no such technology is currently available (batteries aren’t really practical), it is mostly a virtue signalling tax.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 21, 2019 7:08 pm

It’s also deceptive in that it implies that CO2 itself is an appropriate analog of harmful tobacco smoke.

Big T
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 5:36 pm

A decrease in emission of BS.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 5:42 pm

Mr/Ms Peterson, as was pointed out in the post, it is possible to choose to not smoke. The choice to produce less CO2 is often not that easy, especially if your livelihood depends on its inadvertent creation. Think agriculture, long haul transports of goods to name two. If I was a farmer, do I shift to an electric tractor? What about fertilisers and pest control? Transport of my harvest to storage, what electric trucks? Easily said, not so easily done. If you are city-bound, entitled, millennial, maybe…

Reply to  AussieBear
January 21, 2019 6:53 pm

Further, there will be large costs associated with shifting from fossil fuel to electric. Does the farmer scrap his perfectly good ff tractor and buy an electric one? Do motorists scrap their ff vehicles and buy electric? How many homes will have to hire an electrician to install a suitable 220V outlet in their garage for charging? How many people park their vehicles on the street or in an apartment lot without a garage? People may be forced to change over time, but much of the costs involved will not be reimbursed.
Then there are costs of scraping all the ff infrastructure (including gas stations) and paying for the huge cost of constructing and installing renewable power facilities and for new power connecting lines. All this will increase the cost of power.
Because there is no viable renewable power storage, gas power plants will have to be maintained, and likely some new ones built. The CO2 released will keep the cost of power high. As renewable power slowly replaces ff power, rebates to consumers will decrease. But these other costs will not decrease.

Reply to  donb
January 21, 2019 7:02 pm

As long as electricity is still being generated by fossil fuels, shifting to electric tractors and cars merely changes where the CO2 is being emitted, it doesn’t reduce emissions at all.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing
Reply to  donb
January 21, 2019 9:07 pm


By all accounts it increases emissions. A gasoline engine is about as efficient as a coal fired power station so any losses added, such as distribution and battery losses are parasitic.

Displacing emissions is reasonable if the power source is locally, excessively polluting which is no longer the case for coal.

The major CO2 reduction available for domestic energy use is to replace inefficient and highly polluting coal stoves and low pressure boilers (hydronic heaters) with modern ones that emit 1/1000th of the PM and black carbon.

Modern appliances are far more efficient and would reduce CO2 emissions (their main target) by 40-50% in short order. It is not even expensive to implement.

Buying time with such a move would save money, not cost money, and after a few decades nuclear power would replace fossil fuels. It is a problem that is not difficult to solve and can be implemented at any scale, one region or country at a time.

The major international problem is the lack of an international forum for the sensible discussion and creation of global standards of behaviour and the management of markets to prevent predatory raiding and proxy warfare.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 5:57 pm

No, it will cause more industry to move to China and other nations that don’t give a crap about ’emissions’, where the less-efficient industry will produce more CO2 than it would in the West.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 6:14 pm

When vaping is included, the consumption of nicotine containing products has increased, particularly among the youth.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 6:45 pm

But the point is to reduce global temperatures. These taxes would have a minuscule effect upon global temperatures and therefore be completely useless. And all of the money lost on administrative costs would be like pouring money down a drain.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 7:00 pm

Tobacco isn’t a vital ingredient needed to keep people healthy and alive.
Fossil fuels are.
Using tobacco can kill you.
There are no downsides to using fossil fuels.

There are no substitutes for fossil fuels. People will keep using them, they will just be forced to sacrifice elsewhere.

Reply to  MarkW
January 22, 2019 5:47 am

I choose to burn coal to heat my home. If coal would become unavailable I will burn wood. All the burnables in my garbage are also burned in the winter heating season. Am I gonna stop? Not on your life. You don’t like it? Come get me!

Thomas Englert
Reply to  emmanuel
February 2, 2019 8:57 pm

There would definitely be a shift towards more wood burning under this tax scheme.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 7:06 pm

Yea, Phil, we could keep turning the screws until people had to quit work, quit heating their homes, break their medication into halves and then quarters. Even with a rebate, the poor families would have to pay the elevated costs of food, 85c/kWh for windmill juice, even public transportation would go up …

Thank goodness this will never happen. Anyone with a passing knowledge of human nature, how politicians react, how impossible it is to replace reliable cheap energy with what are misnomered renewables and how, indeed this all came to be the meme that it is with billionaire champagne soshulists crony capitalists and neomarxbrothers apparatchiks behind the curtain, knows this is going nowhere.

If Germans, who are technical wizards and the most obedient, hardworking people on earth can’t make a go of it and are admitting defeat, if the French elites don’t even know that their own people won’t put up with it, if Eastern Europeans, who know the end game from firsthand miserable experience, what are we to expect of Americans, without whom no serious project 5% this size has a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding without them. I wish I could make a huge wager and test my theory that no one would take my bet. No one really believes this is workable.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 7:41 pm

Phil, Im glad you at least come to this site. It is a giant step up from those of your persuasion who don’t want to engage. Anyway, selling saving your health was a big part of getting people off tobacco. Most smokers I knew wanted to be able to quit. Selling abject poverty to support the new world order’s elites is vastly different. In the first you are getting people off a poison that is causing ill health andshortening their lives; in the second you are giving the working and middle classes impoverishment and poor health for no benefit to them. They know they don’t count in your world and they won’t go for it. Look at what is happening in Europe and UK. Look at what is happening in India, Bangladesh, Africa – they are installing economy boosting fossil fuel electrical plants. China, whom you guys admire are building many of such plants at home and in the Third World. Eastern Europe isnt buying into this nightmare…This whole show is over. It isnt going to happen.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 7:52 pm

Why do you want a decrease in emissions since temperature is not dependent on co2 but lags behind it as shown by history.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 9:24 pm

It was not the taxes that decreased consumption – some people noticed that you live longer if you do not smoke.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 21, 2019 9:49 pm

The taxes on my income do not decrease my productivity. In fact an increase on my income taxes, when I see what they are spent on, makes me want to be earn less so that I pay less tax. So yes, taxes do provide an incentive to “do” less. I just wish I had the choice to determine what portion of my income could be taxed. Unfortunately in Australia, taxes are applied to income at source…meaning it is taken before I have even seen it in my bank.

So you think a new revenue stream for Govn’t, a tax on CO2, will be distributed evenly, even if it is “dezigned well”? That is the best joke of the year so far.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 22, 2019 9:13 am

This is what ‘Global Warming / Climate Change’ has always been about, taxes.
Because politicians never have enough of other people’s money to squander, no matter what.
They could spend every cent in the world and still run a deficit.

Larry in Texas
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 21, 2019 5:33 pm

Yeah, I’m really surprised that Samuelson would use some of the sources he’s using there. And he neglected to mention that CO2 emissions have fallen by a lot to that 5.4 million tons he was citing as current in his article.

Some people refuse to give up on bogus ideas. As I have said before, you can’t force the love on climate change and CO2 emissions. There will have to be a true economic alternative that people will flock to to save money; they can’t be forced into alternatives that do not work economically, even with heavy government subsidy.

Reply to  Tom Halla
January 21, 2019 8:01 pm

“. . . should have known better” . . . assumes Samuelson is an objective journalist. Which is an extinct species that disappeared last century.

Only ‘managed’ information is inked for the fly-overs. And television? A recurring daily joke delivered by parrots.

Oz is on record as saying, “. . . we should never have given the public access to the ‘Net.”

Mike McHenry
January 21, 2019 5:15 pm

Why do non science/engineering people think a new source of energy can magically created? What you see is what we got! Physics of energy was laid down in the early 20th century. There are no startling discoveries to be made. As we saw in the Washington state referendum Democrats intend to redistribute a carbon tax to society’s parasites to buy votes. That’s what it’s all about.

Reply to  Mike McHenry
January 21, 2019 6:43 pm

There are at least three very energy dense alternatives nearing introduction. Rossi just put out the press release for the Jan. 31 debut of his E-cat SK (https://e-catworld.com/2019/01/21/leonardo-corporation-to-introduce-revolutionary-new-e-cat-sk-heating-technology-in-worldwide-broadcast-press-release/),
Mills has made great advances on his SunCell (https://brilliantlightpower.com/scale-up-testing-of-spherical-suncell-hydrino-reactor/), and Brillouin has begun licensing for their Q-pulse LENR system. If any of all of these come on the market there will be economic and environmental reasons to move away from fossil fuels. That move will have almost no effect on the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 as it is nearly all natural and not from fossil fuels. Maybe the taxers and controllers won’t notice and will find some other non-problem to exploit.

R Shearer
Reply to  DMA
January 21, 2019 8:06 pm

Scams all three, enabled by perhaps the biggest of all.

Reply to  Mike McHenry
January 21, 2019 7:05 pm

That magic source of energy has already been invented and its called nuclear fission. Unfortunately, the same ideology that objects to CO2 emissions also objects to the technology with the lowest possible carbon footprint and lowest cost per reliable Gigawatt. In both cases, the objection is based on a misplaced fear of what they don’t even want to understand.

Longer term, He3 fusion has the potential to be the primary energy source once we run out of exploitable hydrocarbon fuels.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
January 22, 2019 5:17 pm

And if feasible (still a huge If), it could produce a useful byproduct: beryllium. Stronger than steel, lighter than aluminum, with the drawbacks of toxicity and extreme rarity.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Mike McHenry
January 21, 2019 8:10 pm

Personally I don’t see why we can’t just use these magical Greenhouse Gases we hear so much about.

Have you heard of them? You get the gas, warm it up by exposing it to solar energy and then it continues to emit additional energy that continues to warm.

You eventually get to what the ‘Scientists’ call Runaway Greenhouse where basically you are getting masses of free energy which you could then use to produce steam for our more conventional turbine power generation methods.

CO2 – it is the energy of the future!!!


A C Osborn
Reply to  Craig from Oz
January 22, 2019 3:31 am


Joel O'Bryan
January 21, 2019 5:20 pm

“If the “dividend” — the tax rebate — were distributed evenly, that would be about $1,400 per household.”

Ah, the Big “IF”.

And IF I had won that recent $1.5Billion dollar a few weeks ago…
And IF unicorns were real…
And IF fairies existed…
And IF gold coins flew out my butt…

Only the most ignorant of people actually believe the Brave New Socialist US government would re-distribute that money equally, without their favored middle-men taking a piece o’ the action, without deciding who was politically worthy of receiving the windfall…

Government picking winners and losers — It’s the game free market capitalism was designed to avoid. Which is why the US Socialist-Democratic Party embraces a carbon tax, as it is energy that is at the heart of every endeavor in our modern world and economy. Control energy, and you control everything.

January 21, 2019 5:22 pm

Washington Bedsore Post should be burnt to the ground 30 seconds after the New York Times!

Ha ha

Zig Zag Wanderer
January 21, 2019 5:32 pm

Because massive taxes on fuel have dramatically reduced fuel use in the UK and Europe, have they? And trust me, they are huge compared to the US.

January 21, 2019 5:33 pm
January 21, 2019 5:49 pm

How about we nationalize Amazon. Take it away from Bezos. We could then distribute the shares to India, so that country could build solar panels. Fight climate change and redistribute wealth at the same time.
Sarcasm off.

And seriously now, all Wash Post employees and owners should be added to the no fly list. To save the planet drastic action is required! 🙂 I’m sure the employees will understand.

Larry Barden
January 21, 2019 6:01 pm

In countries where a carbon tax is fully returned in equal shares per person, folks in the lower income brackets have been happy with the system because they get a monthly dividend that is larger than the extra costs they have incurred paying the tax.

The problem in France is that none of the tax is returned to the taxpayers. I’d riot too.


Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Larry Barden
January 21, 2019 6:10 pm

So it’s really just a tax on the rich, given to poorer people? How does that solve anything apart from getting rid of the rich in your country?

OK, it will reduce emissions, because the rich will leave (see brain drain) and there will be less emissions. Suddenly all this hapoy people will be left with no rich people to pay them wads of cash via taxes. They have to pay, their handouts go down, they die in poverty, emissions go down more.

Win, win, win!

Tom Halla
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 21, 2019 6:13 pm

No, it ends up being a tax on the middle class, going to the poor to buy votes and to the apparatchiks who administer the tax (and their relatives).

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 22, 2019 12:07 am

To what country will the rich go?

Reply to  Larry Barden
January 21, 2019 7:06 pm

The problem is that this distribution to the poor never lasts long.
Anywho, give people free money, and they are always happy. Until those who have to pay for the system figure out a way to avoid the taxes.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Larry Barden
January 21, 2019 7:48 pm

Larry, the tax rebate wont be enough to pay the economy wide costs of this new deal with 80c/kWh wind, higher food costs, unaffirdable holidays except for the elites. Moreover much of this money will enrich political crony capitalist friends. $1400 is the cheap end of this deal.

January 21, 2019 6:04 pm

Question: Why is it that progressive/leftist solutions always involve creating a new tax or raising existing taxes?

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  ScienceABC123
January 21, 2019 6:14 pm

Because people are too stupid to know how to spend their own money, and need enlightened socialists to take it off them and use it wisely on their behalf. You know, like in Venezuela, or Soviet Russia.

nw sage
January 21, 2019 6:24 pm

I’m not sure if it is accurate, but this article and others purports to quote various noted and famous ‘economists’ who seem to support the concept of the carbon tax – the the purpose of that tax. I remain puzzled that so many economists do nor seem to realize that the efficiencies created by use of the most efficient energy, especially petroleum and coal generated electricity are the very basis for the world being able to feed, clothe and house so many millions of people. If that is arbitrarily undone the economic and political damage will be nothing like anyone has ever imagined.

nw sage
Reply to  nw sage
January 21, 2019 6:26 pm

‘not, not nor.
edit doesn’t work

Mike Lowe
January 21, 2019 6:27 pm

What on earth does a tax issue have to do with a newspaper? It seems to me they are far to keen to attempt to create the news rather than report on it!

January 21, 2019 6:33 pm

The rebate is such a ruse. They would just eventually get rid of it.

January 21, 2019 6:45 pm

“Under one proposal, the government would slap a $43 tax on each ton of CO2. That would equal about 38 cents on a gallon of gasoline, says economist Marc Hafstead of Resources for the Future, who studied the plan. It would raise about $180 billion in the tax’s first year, he says. If the “dividend” — the tax rebate — were distributed evenly, that would be about $1,400 per household.”

Another, more realistic, way of looking at this tax is that it would cost Americans about $180 billion in the first year, or about $1400 per household. This is a very regressive tax. It may seem like crumbs for someone like Nancy Pelosi, but to me it would be a chance of change.

Reply to  DonK31
January 21, 2019 7:11 pm

We have ways to determine if an average 38 cents would reduce the total amount of fossil fuel used. We have experience.

When the price of gasoline was closer to $3.00 per gallon, did the consumption of gasoline fall? Did the amount of fuel used by farmers fall? Did the amount of fuel used to transport food to the grocery stores fall? Answer to all; no.

When the price of crude oil was twice what it is now, did the amount of fossil fuel used to heat and cool homes fall? No. Some people may have switched from oil to gas, but the amount of BTU’s consumed did not fall.

Laundering money by taking it from a person’s right pocket and putting it back into the same person’s left pocket, minus the vig, of course, does not increase the total amount of money each person has to spend.

January 21, 2019 6:53 pm

There is continued evidence that people don’t want/like carbon tax. It has been voted and demonstrated against over and over. This is the part that the scammers didn’t account for. People want proof before they acquiesce to giving the government more money. Despite all the media and political support the people aren’t convinced.

Reply to  markl
January 22, 2019 12:13 am

Not obviously true. Recently, here in California, the Government increased the tax on gasoline to repair the transportation infrastructure (that the baseline tax hadn’t been able to repair). An initiative was placed on the ballot to repeal this extra tax. People were given the opportunity to repeal the tax, and they chose (by a narrow margin) to keep the tax. So much for rational behavior.

Brooks Hurd
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
January 22, 2019 7:49 am

The tax repeal was mislabeled by the California AG to sound like it would make the roads worse. As you pointed out, the previous increase in the gas tax was not used to fix our roads. The California legislature determines where to squander our tax money and the AG lies about the meaning of a tax repeal.

Tom Abbott
January 21, 2019 7:00 pm

The Democrats and Democrats who pretend to be Republicans are sitting around now with visions of CO2 tax spending in their heads. I bet they have it all figured out.

I think we should set a limit. We should not consider any type of CO2 tax until temperatures meet or exceed the Feb. 2016 temperature highpoint.

We will need the temperatures to climb about 0.6C from where we are at right now in order to get back to the 2016 high. It may be a while.

On second thought, let’s just nip the idea of a CO2 tax in the bud. It’s nothing but a scam by socialists to collect more of other people’s money to spend. They have an insatiable appetite for money and the power it buys them. Any excuse will do. This time it’a a CO2 tax.

Brooks Hurd
Reply to  Tom Abbott
January 22, 2019 7:52 am

Gavin and his GISS can give you any temperature that he wants.

January 21, 2019 7:04 pm

For reasons of geography and history, Europe’s energy use per capita was way below that of the US even before sky high energy taxes were implemented.

January 21, 2019 7:13 pm

” To maximize the fairness and political viability of a rising carbon tax, all the revenue should be returned directly to U.S. citizens through equal lump-sum rebates. ”

Sounds like Socialism

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. ”
Winston Churchill

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s’ money. ”
Margaret Thatcher

Mike H
January 21, 2019 7:27 pm

It takes a lot of gall and brass to sell a tax as a “dividend”. What cut of the pie is the government going to keep and who will the losers? The losers is easy as that will the middle class and those living in rural areas.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mike H
January 22, 2019 4:47 am

Yes, don’t think it is just going to be the millionaires and billionaires that will be taxed. That’s not nearly enough money for the socialists. Everyone who pays taxes will eventually have their taxes raised, and those who don’t pay taxes will have their expenses raised because the tax increases will have caused price increases in every sector of the economy. Even if the poor get a government rebate, it won’t make up for the increased prices they will be paying for goods and services.

The only ones who benefit from this kind of tax are those who get to decide how to spend the tax money, for their personal benefit, political or otherwise.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Mike H
January 22, 2019 8:21 am

First the government will have to create a new Department to oversee the collection and redistribution of the taxes. That should employ about 10,000 people with the top 10% getting paid 6 figures. Of course they all will have paid healthcare, vacations, travel expenses, and a hefty retirement program. What ever money is left will be used to promote the glory of the tax and given to groups that support the election of those who want to keep the tax so they can tell us all how wonderful the rebates are and what they are doing for people. After that you will be lucky to get 50 bucks.

Sir Padre
Reply to  Mike H
January 22, 2019 9:47 am

Didn’t stop them from adding a “penalty” to Obamacare that effected lower class uninsured WORKERS more than any other!

Richard Hood
January 21, 2019 7:52 pm

Anyone that claims wood and biomass does not emit CO2 is a bald-faced liar. Wood and biomass emit about the same amount of CO2 as the average coal does. If the greenies lie about this they will lie about anything, After all, wood and biomass are the precursors of coal.

Craig from Oz
January 21, 2019 8:25 pm

“IV. To prevent carbon leakage and to protect U.S. competitiveness, a border carbon adjustment system should be established. This system would enhance the competitiveness of American firms that are more energy-efficient than their global competitors. It would also create an incentive for other nations to adopt similar carbon pricing.”

Okay, without the use of SARC tags can anyone explain how this is going to work in real terms?

They make the cost of operating higher, but because you do business overseas and still need to compete with all those nasty foreigners there will be some method of re-levelling the playing field. Since the playing field is now level again, those foreigner businesses will now be forced to reduce their CO2 emission in order to compete.

Seriously? Increase operating costs, then compensate said costs (using the money from the CO2 tax maybe? That same money being used in Point 5 to give to the poor so they are better off?). This makes you internationally competitive, a statement that also implies that if you only produce for the domestic market you can just wear the tax and be grateful.

Then, having been made competitive again (implying they were competitive before) the incentive is now on the foreign companies to reduce CO2 because that somehow reduces their operating costs…

Ummmm…. WHAT?!?

Reply to  Craig from Oz
January 22, 2019 1:03 am

I assume that they will level things by changing a tariff on any foreign products which are not subject to the same level of taxation. Generates more money all around. They will probably come up with some insanily complex and convoluted formula. It is the way most governments work.

January 21, 2019 8:38 pm

I’ll just burn water…cheap. Chemistry 101 electrolysis.

Sir Padre
Reply to  Highflight56433
January 22, 2019 9:49 am

With electricity supplied by…..?

January 21, 2019 8:45 pm

The temperature of any planet is determined by its atmospheric pressure and solar radiation intake. No change in any gas concentration in the atmosphere can noticeably affect the temperature. Efforts to decrease CO2 emissions by humans would only hurt plant growth which has benefitted greatly from increased CO2 levels. Leftists, Warmistas and Krazycats do not understand that we need more CO2 not less. Their efforts to reduce CO2 levels will only hurt the poor, and jeopardise lives and food production. Their heads are so far into the sand that it is amazing that they can still breath.

Walter Sobchak
January 21, 2019 8:59 pm

I am going out to by a yellow safety jacket

January 21, 2019 9:45 pm

I am sick of hearing the word Ëmissions”. call it what it is, CO2, the essential trace gas which both we and our crops need.

So we have just a few years before the Planet ceases to be, so what are we going to do about both India and China.

They must be classified as the Enemy, by doing what they are doing, they are going to cause our death.

So they must be stopped, completely. But how.

Do t6he Greens in the USA advocate nuclear war, if not, why not. Put it too every Greenie you mee3t, “Do you want a war, a real one, with both India and China..

Of course this is complete nonsense , but if they say no to having such a war , then ask them as a matter of National Emergency just what they suggest we do.

Remember its a short time we are looking at, a decision is required right now, or we are all doomed, or so they keep telling is.


Dave Fair
Reply to  Michael
January 22, 2019 11:38 am

An “existential” climate crisis would seem to require extreme measures.

Mickey Reno
January 21, 2019 10:19 pm

It is not a media outlet’s job to pimp out so-called solutions to society’s problems. WaPo has fallen even further in my estimation, and it was already near rock bottom.

January 21, 2019 10:24 pm

Just what the Western World needs – unelected economists and journalists proposing a increasing carbon dioxide tax because they think its the right thing to do for the planet. Democracy is about the vote of elected representatives – not about what elites think.

Meanwhile other major global powers quietly laugh as the west continues to try and destroy its economy over fake science.

January 22, 2019 12:05 am

No one seems capable of reading past the words CARBON TAX and comprehending what fully-rebated means.
If I had to sell this program, I would say that the government will direct deposit $120 in the the bank account of every American on the first of every month. Americans will pay more for gasoline and electricity because the gas station owner and your power distributor will be paying the carbon tax. Energy is used in the manufacture and delivery of all products, so they will cost more. The average American will break even. None of the money will be going anywhere else.

Unrealistic? The government isn’t going to expect the average American to wait for a full year to get their $1400/person rebate! Perhaps working Americans will be able to reduce their withholding by $120/person/month and obtain their rebate this way. Those receiving Social Security are already getting monthly deposits, just add another $120.

WUTW readers are about as rational as a bunch of teenage girls saying: “Eke! A mouse.” Eke! A carbon tax!

Macron’s carbon tax was a gross mistake, because it was a regressive tax intended to raise revenue. Macron had invested all of his political capital making desperately-needed structural changes to the highly Socialist French economy and raised taxes to keep the budget deficit under the mandated 2%. France already got 85% of its electricity for nuclear. Their per capita emissions are roughly HALF of Germany’s and have fallen 10% more since 1990. They are lower than Britain, Italy and Spain too.

Reply to  itsmyturnnow
January 22, 2019 12:22 am

There will be a cost of administering it, so there will be a difference between the amount collected and the amount rebated. All we’re doing is setting up a new bureaucracy that will drain money out of everyone’s pockets. TANSTAFL

Rod Evans
Reply to  itsmyturnnow
January 22, 2019 1:06 am

If you are looking at France as an example of all that is good vis low carbon energy. Could you also explain why France is such an economic mess? Can you explain why people from third world countries and war torn places in the Middle East, would risk death from drowning and exposure, setting off in a rubber dingy to cross the Channel just get out of France and into the UK?
The world needs more CO2 in the atmosphere to assist subsistence farmers.
A tax on CO2 is a tax on the poor.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  itsmyturnnow
January 22, 2019 3:34 am

Hello, is that you, Justin Trudeau? If you believe ANY of the “carbon pricing” schemes are revenue neutral, you are grossly naive or a liar.

Reply to  itsmyturnnow
January 22, 2019 7:12 am

So the guy in the city who can walk to work every day, or works from home, gets the same $120 as the fellow in a rural area like mine who has to drive 45 min to an hour to work, or the farmer who needs gas for his equipment, or the over the road truck driver who owns his own rig?!? You think that will go down well outside of the metropolitan areas?

By the way, what government is going to administer this at no cost?

Look at CA and NY as well as Canada, and tell us that a huge portion of the revenue won’t be used to “promote green technology” (really meaning “subsidize at high risk”), or at Washington state where it would have been distributed to designated groups to insure “climate justice”.

Just who is using immature reasoning?

Robert of Ottawa
January 22, 2019 3:32 am

Global warming/climate change is the biggest scam in world history. There are criminals out there pushing this.

January 22, 2019 4:08 am

Does this mean that the Washington Post intends to increase its price? If so; by how much?

Michael A Klopp
January 22, 2019 6:06 am

If you persist you’ve already lost because you believe their false premise! MORE CO2 is needed!
They have most of you believing the false premise of CO2 is a ‘bad’ gas’ because someone got the EPA to declare it is so. Now everyone is arguing the economic perils as if it is inevitable something must be done to cause humanity to use less ff.
Please take the time to educate yourself about the importance of CO2:

michael hart
January 22, 2019 6:50 am

” To prevent carbon leakage and to protect U.S. competitiveness, a border carbon adjustment system should be established. This system would enhance the competitiveness of American firms that are more energy-efficient than their global competitors. It would also create an incentive for other nations to adopt similar carbon pricing.”

Now there’s the recipe for the mother of all trade wars. I also suspect that the writer’s implicit assumption is that U.S. competitiveness will generally be demonstrably equal to, or greater than, global competitors, a perilous assumption.

The source of this idea is the “Economists’ Statement”, a manifesto produced by a high profile group of economists and other financial personalities including former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and former Treasury secretary George Shultz.

Chuckl. Yeah righhht….It was written by an intern. They didn’t even read it.

Eric Brownson
January 22, 2019 7:03 am

No mention of how much “climate change/global warming” will be averted as the result of these carbon tax schemes. Why is anyone in favor if the potential effects are unknown?

January 22, 2019 7:47 am

Just add it to the Amazon Prime subscription price.

Paul C
January 22, 2019 8:11 am

Can I be the first to volunteer to pay the new tax! Just replace the 60% (approx) tax that we pay on petrol and diesel here in the UK with less than 8 pence per litre AND receive free money for paying vastly less fuel tax. It’s a win/win for everyone. Gotta love those greens and their crazy ideas. Not only that, I can also smugly claim that I am paying the right amount of tax that the environmentalists say absolves me of any responsibility for their claimed damage by my fuel use.

Paul C
Reply to  Paul C
January 22, 2019 8:20 am

Oh, and just to be clear – that is 60% of the pump price is taxation equating to a rate of tax of 150%.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Paul C
January 22, 2019 10:32 am

Speaking of volunteering, there is nothing stopping those that believe in a carbon tax from voluntarily paying it themselves. Or rather the only thing stopping them from voluntarily paying the carbon tax is the “not with MY money you don’t” attitude.

Steve O
January 22, 2019 10:27 am

“I suggest a “solution” which creates substantial upward pressure on the price of food is unlikely to benefit disadvantaged people.”

You’re not supposed to include higher food costs — only higher energy costs. The energy cost component of everything we buy is supposed to be ignored.

Farmer Ch E retired
January 22, 2019 11:25 am

Is this an economic perpetual motion machine where the government collects carbon taxes then returns the money to the citizens so they can then afford to pay more for energy and everything else that energy helps build, grow, transport, etc.? This is not a true perpetual motion machine because the government will extract about 30% to oversee the program every time the money wheel turns over. In addition, it will disincentivize the more productive.

January 24, 2019 5:35 pm

I live in the Rocky Mountains west of Denver Colorado and heat my home using a natural gas condensing boiler. A great many of my neighbors use wood stoves. For me using natural gas is convenient, cleaner, easier on the environment and reasonably priced. If natural gas should increase in price I would be forced to convert to a wood stove. I wonder what the carbon tax on a cord of black market firewood would be?

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