Friday, December 18, 2009

A possible way to handle global warming?

Downsize DC's minarchist proposal:

Even if you accept that human CO2 emissions are causing problematic global warming, a government run "cap and trade" system is not the way to deal with this problem. There is a better way. Here are some points to consider . . .

•Fossil fuels create massive amounts of air pollution, quite apart from CO2.
•This pollution causes health problems, none of which are reflected in the price of fossil fuels.
•Fossil fuels enjoy a "free ride" in terms of pollution costs that make it hard for alternative sources of energy to compete.
•Air pollution is a form of trespass, and a case can certainly be made that dealing with such trespasses is a legitimate function of government.

The federal government could do this by . . .

•Taxing fossil fuels
•Cutting other taxes so that your overall financial burden would remain unchanged
Your energy costs would rise, but your taxes would fall by an equal amount. Doing this would . . .

•Eliminate the justification for a "cap and trade" boondoggle
•Make fossil fuels reflect more of their true costs
•Provide an incentive for everyone to reduce their use of fossil fuels
•Make other sources of energy cost competitive
•Limit the financial impact on you and the economy
•Help reduce air pollution, including CO2 emissions

Thoughts? This would still be compatible with less government if it were to replace, say, the monstrous income tax (and all the boondoggles it funds).

1 comment:

  1. I've always been one for positive solutions. Taxes are a negative solution. I think we should be focusing on:

    •Help reduce air pollution, including CO2 emissions

    We all laughed at "cauking" as a funny parallel to the Bush era "duct tape," but maybe we should encourage people to make their homes more efficient, or "weatherized" (or whatever the hell we're calling "thrifty" these days). For one thing, it stimulates the economy to have investment in efficiency; it only hurts energy companies who rely on our wasteful use. For another, terrorists aren't as scary as the weather, and I'm pretty sure we can beat a draft with some cauking. As an added bonus, if you do weatherize your house, it will apparently make your home immune to WMDs without the need for duct tape (though in these near apocalyptic times, we must all keep several rolls on hand).

    There's really lots of little things we could encourage, not necessarily mandate. I really believe that a concerted push for effiency can prevent the need for any government intervention, taxes or otherwise. Here's the problem: we have half the voting population saying "We need to do something, but I have no idea what," while the other side is screaming "There is no problem, and I'm not going to do a single thing you tell me to do... in fact I'm going to do the opposite!"

    Maybe we should start pointing out that terrorists love our use of oil. I think that's how you say, "Stop wasting so much" in Republican.


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