James Hansen… Carbon tax or we all die
Hansen (In a Al Gore Style) Tax on carbon is the “The only way to save our planet” – Independent
It sounds a little nutty becasue it is… however it is less nutty that most things Hansen proposes. And lord knows this may work as governments LOVES the idea of controlling resources through taxes. Worked great throughout history 😉
My commnets from 2009 : As OECD countries begin to tax their own economies by charging growing fees on CO2 emissions, their their trading partners will diminish rapidly…. killing the GDP of those countries whose supply chains depend on OECD countries.
FACT: Developing World – Principal Source of Emissions.
Total global emissions have risen by a cumulative 25% since the beginning of the decade. But only a small fraction of those emissions came from North America, Western Europe and OECD economies. In fact, emissions in the most advanced economies of the world have grown by a paltry 5%, one-tenth the 50% increase seen of the developing world. This completey removes the aurguemnt of cap and trade measures being ‘the most effective way to control greenhouse gases is through a cap and trade mechanism‘.
Who and what are we controlling and why?
I would agree that the taxing of high carbon unsustainable commodities is a strong tool to fight for longterm conservation and sustainable communities… but blanket taxing the resources that economically sustain basic energy, health and infrastructure to non-OECD nations will only continue a sustainable economy for coffin makers.
Trading markets for ‘co2’ and ‘carbon’ ideas of clean coal, biofuel harvested from rainforest’s and food pools?
Seriously, these are the same people who brought you the pet rock and bottled energy water.
I don’t feel sorry for the gullible until they invest the future of others on magic beans.
What about this? world’s oldest economic instrument, the tax, hasn’t worked and cannot work.
This post by James Greyson explains why a carbon-only focus hasn’t worked and cannot work.
Governments have invested a grand total of nothing at all in researching new kinds of economic instruments that work with all kinds of resources including fossil carbon. Nevertheless such an instrument has been designed, a version of insurance that requires neither taxes nor caps. It implements the ‘circular economy’ described in China’s national plan and would boost rather than suppress economic growth.
Boulding envisaged the economy taking part in a “cyclical ecological system which is capable of continuous reproduction of
material form even though it cannot escape having inputs of energy.” This is not academic: China’s 11th five year plan for 2006-2010 established a national goal of circular economics, “It is an overall, urgent and long-term strategic task for China to vigorously develop the circular economy” (Zhou, 2006). The future for growth is circular economics where more economic activity would mean a faster pace of change away from waste-making and towards looking after the world and all its inhabitants. This would preserve and regenerate material value, co-operation and natural capital instead of losing it, so growth would work to build the basis for more growth. Today this may appear idealistic. Yet if circular economics was already practiced, and people were accustomed to prosperity based on resource security, then any proposal to adopt an exploitive self-defeating vision would be laughable.
Economic dependence on waste is perpetuated by managing waste primarily as an addiction to disposal, “how can we get rid of all this junk?” The ‘waste hierarchy’ (reduce, reuse, recycle, then dispose) that has been available since 1975 (European Union, 2008) is commonly quoted but in practice the bulk of effort and funding provides for continuing long-term disposal to ecosystems (by landfill, waste-burning and pollution). The waste hierarchy is being used backwards and no nation has yet attempted to create the incentives for an economy that grows from the work done to end waste dumping and implement circular economics. This is achievable with the concept of ‘precycling’ (O’Rorke, 1988) originally used for public waste education. Precycling is applicable throughout an economy (Greyson, 2007) and may be understood as action taken to prepare for current resources to become future resources. The ‘pre’ prefix emphasises that this cannot be arranged after something becomes waste; it must be done beforehand. The scope of action extends far beyond recycling, to creating the economic, social and ecological conditions for all resources to remain of use to people or nature.
A free market in harmony with nature
Precycling insurance would switch the power of markets to reversing the planet crunch. The speed and scale of change would exceed the expectations of all who are accustomed to ineffectual controls designed to make markets less-bad. All market participants (such as buyers, sellers, investors and governments) would adapt their decisions to the new incentives, profiting by addressing actual needs rather than superficial consumerist wants. Producers would remain free to choose how to meet customers’ needs without waste, and even free to continue making wasteful products, in competition with other producers cutting their costs (including precycling insurance costs) by cutting their product’s waste risk. Economic growth would no longer be a competitive scramble between people rushing to acquire and discard ever more resources from an every-shrinking stock. The economy would prosper in harmony, rather than in conflict, with nature.
Shrinking material and energy demands
The material requirements of today’s linear economy would rapidly shrink since the new incentives would lead to the most needs being met with the least materials moved the least distance and then regenerated rather than dumped. The energy requirements of today’s linear economy would rapidly shrink since a smaller material flow with higher quality materials closer to where they are needed requires less energy to process. For example, a factor 10 improvement in resource productivity would dampen energy requirements by up to 80% (Schmidt-Bleek, 2008), putting renewables within easy reach world-wide and putting waste-making energy sources (such as new coal-fired plants, nuclear, food or forest-consuming biofuels and mixed-waste incineration) back on the shelf. Shrinking energy dependence is the key to energy security, economic recovery, climate restabilisation and prevention of conflict over diminishing non-renewable resources. The resource and energy efficiency of circular economics makes it realistic to plan the necessary reductions in GHG concentrations (ie net-negative emissions).
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