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National Academy of Science Urges Carbon Tax

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  • Grandfathered in (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:08PM (#32272272) Homepage Journal

    Its weird that I am not allowed to drop rubbish in the street but disposing of some types of effluent in the atmosphere which we all need to breathe is perfectly okay.

  • externality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:09PM (#32272286) Journal

    It makes a lot more sense to tax a negative externality than it does to tax something we want more of like income.

  • by allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:10PM (#32272298) Homepage Journal
    That's because you don't have huge lobbyists paying your senators to pollute the streets.
  • by khayman80 (824400) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:18PM (#32272420) Homepage Journal

    That's because breathing CO2 just recycles CO2 that's already in the biosphere. Digging miles into the earth to burn fossil fuels releases CO2 that hasn't been part of the biosphere for tens of millions of years. As I've repeatedly explained [], fossil fuel use can be causally linked to the skyrocketing CO2 concentration through the C-12/C-13 isotope ratio (among other techniques).

    Oddly enough, the National Academy of Sciences is aware that humans exhale CO2. Imagine that.

  • by wizardforce (1005805) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:19PM (#32272440) Journal

    That is because half the country essentially believes that they have an unlimited right to piss in the pool without consequence. The problem is that if they even remotely believed in the ideal capitalism that they claim they do, they wouldn't be so keen to pollute the air and thus violate others' property rights. Of course, they don't; they believe in everyone out for themselves.

  • Re:Same thing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:23PM (#32272486)

    Cap and Trade is just a fancy phrase meaning "tax" anyway. I hate the verbal misdirection.

    I hate the fact that calling it "cap and trade" actually makes it more likely to get passed than calling it a tax.

  • Now that's news! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:24PM (#32272502) Journal
    Extra, Extra, read all about it! Quasi-governmental organizations tells government to do what head of government wants to do anyway!
  • Experts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:26PM (#32272528) Journal

    I'm not an expert in a relevant field to understand fully this issue, and chances are neither are you. Other than wait and reserve judgment, the only logical choice I can make when there is overwhelming consensus among experts (there is on climate change) is to listen to them. I support cap and trade, not because I think it's a good idea - because I'm not qualified to know that - but because the majority of those who are qualified think it is, and science is not a political process even when the conclusions polarizes people along political lines.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:26PM (#32272536)

    ...but reduced the deficit, income taxes, sales taxes, or all three, it would be a win-win situation. If they do what government normally does -- spend the money faster than it comes in -- at least it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Re:Same thing (Score:1, Insightful)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:28PM (#32272550) Homepage
    It isn't the same thing at all. For one thing, direct emissions taxes are not as likely to hit specific levels of CO2. For another, the presence of trading in a cap and trade system allows for the efficiencies of the market to come into play. Thus, a cap and trade system works more efficiently than a direct tax.
  • Re:Same thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:30PM (#32272572) Journal

    This already goes on, it's rampant. The solution is more restrictions and regulations on Wall Street to stop people from being able to make money who don't actually produce anything of value. It shouldn't be possible to get rich skimming off the top and siphoning away wealth from the working class that actually moves the economy. This country produces thousands of college graduates every year who go on to be bankers or Wall Street traders when they should be engineers and scientists. We produce people who not only don't contribute anything themselves but actually make it harder for other people to be productive. This can't go on forever, and if we don't put and end to it it's going to put an end to us.

  • by khayman80 (824400) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:30PM (#32272574) Homepage Journal
    What a strange coincidence! I also got my education in atmospheric radiative physics from George Carlin. And I enjoy stand-up comedy by the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Re:Who is going (Score:5, Insightful)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:36PM (#32272632)

    I'd definitely like to see IRS personnel inside an active volcano.

  • by khayman80 (824400) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:36PM (#32272640) Homepage Journal
    I didn't notice scientists telling President Bush that it was perfectly okay to burn fossil fuels. In fact, it seems like scientists have been saying pretty much the same thing for decades, but the last head of government never listened [].
  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:39PM (#32272682) Journal

    People will be more willing to accept high taxes on energy related to transportation if they had alternatives. If you reinvest the tax money, or some of it, into a robust public transportation system it would make it easier to live without a car; something which is difficult to impossible in many places in the US. There is still a huge car culture in America, and it'll take a culture shift for that to change but it has to start somewhere. It no longer makes sense that we're reliant on each person owning and operating there own 2000 pound machine to move them to where they need to go. It is rapidly becoming economically and environmentally unsustainable and it's a change that has to happen.

  • by uassholes (1179143) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:40PM (#32272690)
    We definitely need a tax on politically active scientists.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:41PM (#32272692)

    I don't have any lobbyists. So what will happen is that I'll be paying more to heat my home and drive to work while big mega corp, inc. buys itself an exemption from the tax.......

  • Re:Experts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:46PM (#32272748) Homepage


    Given a choice between paying attention to television talking heads, or paying attention to scientists, I'd go with the scientists.

    Amusingly, the same site notes that corporations are taking global warming seriously []-- if you go by the market-theory, I'd say that this is pretty serious.

  • by Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:49PM (#32272772)
    Culture change time. Rethink atomic power. Rethink public transport [].
  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:50PM (#32272776) Journal

    There's no reason why it couldn't work. There are cities just as large as LA in the world that do just fine with less cars. Tokyo and Moscow come to mind. There just isn't enough political/cultural will to get it done at the moment. $5+/gl petrol would probably change that.

  • Re:externality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theaveng (1243528) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:50PM (#32272790)

    Double my electric bill from $400 to $800 each month? Okay.

    Well I guess I could tear down my house and rebuild a new one based on the PassivHaus model, and thereby hope to burn less electricity. I certainly can't afford to be socked with ~$10,000 a year in electricity + carbon taxes.

  • Re:externality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tsm_sf (545316) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:52PM (#32272806) Journal
    Why are we so determined as a nation to magnify and extend the current economic crisis to match the Carter years?

    Some of us prize health over a new tv?
  • Imbalance. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by w0mprat (1317953) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:54PM (#32272824)
    So far any carbon trading scheme I've heard of doesn't fully take into account international trading. My country like several others is a huge net agricultural exporter. Argiculture being responsible for 50% of our emissions. Therefore its as if other countries are poluting here, yet the producer/exporter gets the bill under current proposals.

    What then of all the high value goods we import (which have a high impact per given mass compared with food), these don't polute here, but some other country has paid the price both in impact and in tax.

    What a way to collapse global trade.

    Any system needs to a per-ton value on carbon, as a baseline, and then build the system bottom-up from there. Slapping taxes on everything seems to be the only option being considered.
  • Re:Experts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:54PM (#32272826) Homepage Journal

    >>I'm not an expert in a relevant field to understand fully this issue, and chances are neither are you.

    Spend a few hundred hours researching the issue, and you can be qualified to comment, too. None of the issues surrounding energy production and global warming aren't particularly hard to understand - the only reason it is so time consuming is that figuring out who is bullshitting on which point of contention takes a while.

    For example, the issues surrounding bad station data is rather complex. hand-waves the issue, saying that they have "taken it into their calculations", but on this issue, it seems obvious that is bullshitting.

    >>science is not a political process even when the conclusions polarizes people along political lines.

    Not true. These are scientists trying to dip their toes into the political waters with this, so of course it's political. They're not arguing about facts or anything, they're proposing societal change, and honestly, they're probably out of their league here.

    Case in point: Kyoto was one of the worst designed treaties ever written. It is "cap and trade", but would result in no CO2 reductions, only a transfer of money from America to Eastern Europe. Why? The CO2 levels were set at pre-USSR collapse levels, so all the Eastern Bloc countries have a massive amount of "credits" to sell to countries who therefore don't need to reduce levels at all.

    I'm not singling you out for this, but it's really very dangerous when people give up on trying to research issues for themselves, and rely on what they hear from a single source as fact. Whether it be Fox News, or HuffPo, or "scientists", I've never once been happy with a single perspective on a problem.

  • by theaveng (1243528) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:56PM (#32272848)

    Trains are a backwards 1800s technology that lacks flexibility. Heck I can't even ride a train if I wanted to, because it's a 10 mile walk to the station..... and even if the station were right next door, it takes twice as long (1 hour) as a car to reach my job. Plus what if I need to make a sudden trip in the middle of night? No trains run after 10pm around here. So I'd be stuck.

    Cars offer flexibility. And they are modular, such that they can scale up from minimal operation (a few cars running at 3am) to full deployment (rush hour). Trains can't do that. I see a lot of trains running almost completely empty, and therefore wasting fuel. Cars are more flexible.

  • Re:externality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:58PM (#32272864) Journal

    Why do you believe that you have an inherent right to not have to pay for damage that your actions cause? If burning Coal to power your home causes property damage due to acid rain and erodion etc. from global warming, you are most definitely liable to pay for that damage. Society has no obligation to shield you from the consequences of environmental damage caused by your actions.

  • Re:Experts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:03PM (#32272926) Journal

    100 hours? Please. It takes a lifetime to get the kind of knowledge required to be an expert in any field. I am not an expert, you are not an expert. If you're trying to prove otherwise you'll have to do better than a few dozen hours of "research". Your opinion on this matter is, pardon my saying so, worthless. Mine is too for that matter.

    Which is why I have to look to the people who's opinion is not worthless: scientists with relevant knowledge and experience. Collectively they do not constitute a single source. Individually maybe, but that's why I look for consensus. It's there.

  • Re:Same thing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by daem0n1x (748565) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:05PM (#32272946)
    That's because the cap & trade tax goes to Wall Street instead of the government.
  • Re:externality (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:09PM (#32272998) Journal

    Why do you believe that you have an inherent right to not have to pay for damage that your actions cause?

    Why do you believe that you have an inherent right to make up a number to determine his "damages"?

  • Re:Experts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:09PM (#32273004) Journal

    That is a strength of the scientific method, not a failure. Our understanding of the natural world is always improving and ideas change over time. Climate change isn't a new idea, it's time tested. There is more debate about what gravity is and how it works than there is about if climate change is happening and humans are to blame.

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:09PM (#32273014)

    A sane society would tax things like gasoline, diesel fuel, fuel oil, etc., highly enough to discourage its profligate consumption and apply the funds to develop practical implementations of an array of alternative renewable energy sources (fusion, solar, biofuels, etc.).

    If I had a reason to suspect that that's what we'd do with a carbon tax, I'd be all for it.

    Alas, past history suggests that we'd use the money gained to fund some congresscritter's favorite boondoggle instead.

    Oh, and do we plan to impose a carbon tax on India and China? Not sure I see much point in crippling our industry unless they do the same, since we won't be solving global warming by any action that's not worldwide....

  • Re:Experts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khayman80 (824400) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:10PM (#32273028) Homepage Journal

    Spend a few hundred hours researching the issue, and you can be qualified to comment, too.

    When you say "research" do you mean enrolling in graduate physics courses at an accredited university to learn about the radiative physics of the atmosphere? (This would involve some kind of objective measure of your ability to construct and solve equations.)

    Or does "research" mean reading crackpot [] websites, then using trick #11: "10 points for beginning the description of your theory by saying how long you have been working on it. (10 more for emphasizing that you worked on your own.)"

    Considering your other [] comment (which is wrong []), it's probably not necessary for you to answer this question.

    Keep in mind that all the creationists I've seen are convinced that they understand evolution better than 97% of evolutionary biologists. Just like you seem to be convinced that you understand radiative physics better than 97% of climatologists, and the overwhelming majority [] of scientists in all fields.

  • Re:Same thing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:13PM (#32273048) Journal

    Every resource is "rationed." It just so happens that in Capitalism those with power get more rations than others.

    Interestingly enough it's the same under socialism.......

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:19PM (#32273114) Journal

    What? You're opposed to eliminating Income Tax?

    Of course they are. Cap and trade isn't about reducing carbon. There's a multitude of ways we could do that without imposing new taxes. Cap and trade is all about creating a new revenue source for Government. Apparently it's not enough that the Government consumes 1/4 of our economy.

  • Re:externality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:23PM (#32273156)

    Should be an easy cost to calculate, just set it at the cost to remove said CO2 from the atmosphere, then pay folks to do that.

  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:23PM (#32273160) Journal

    That's an example of the "culture shift" that will need to happen for public transit to become viable. You buy ten bags of groceries and shop once every two weeks. That's the norm in the US. If you shopped every day or every other day and bought less at a time then public transportation becomes more acceptable. You'll say you don't have time, but again that's just another cultural value.

  • by antirelic (1030688) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:24PM (#32273174) Journal

    All carbon credits are designed to do is to lower emissions through impoverishment of the "masses". This will dramatically increase the divide between the rich who can afford to invest in carbon credits, government workers (who will largely live exempt due to special "needs"), the special interests (unions who back political organizations, academics who live in government funded universities, and contractors who perform special services for government workers), and the rest of us. I have not seen an explosion in "green jobs" outside of the jobs that the stimulus package has created, and we all know that none of the "green energy sources" that are a reality today can even come close to providing a fraction of the power needed to sustain the way we live today.

    There for, carbon credits are a method of reducing emissions through impoverishment... well... impoverishment of the "masses" (I hate that term). Corporations like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan will benefit greatly as the ones who provide access to the new carbon trading markets.

    Folks, if you truly believe in "equality" and all that jive, carbon credits arent the way to go. They will create the greatest divide in wealth since the creation of the Feudal Society.

  • Re:Same thing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:24PM (#32273178) Journal

    You are painting with an awfully large brush there. The word "bankers" includes everybody from the CEO of Citi to the branch manager of Small Town Bank, Inc. The second guy is not making millions of dollars.

    Besides, who appointed you the arbitrator of how much a profession is "worth"? And what would you do about it? Raise taxes? Cap salaries?

  • Re:externality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thms (1339227) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:32PM (#32273258)

    [..] directly caused by energy prices rising.

    But look at who got the extra money, in large parts it was exported overseas and is still being exported there. I wonder how much of the negative trade deficit comes from just that.

    Money raised from this tax would stay within the country and when used wisely can foster new technology. Much better than giving billions each year into the hands of, well... you need a tagline to sell it: terrorist sympathizers! (Not the Saudi gov't itself, but quite a few of it's citizen). Oil prices will go up inevitably, better to prepare for the future now. And since many corporations don't look beyond the next quarter, this sadly is the only way.

  • Re:Same thing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:45PM (#32273396) Journal

    Make the top marginal rate 90%

    Few people outside of the far-left would regard it as far to take 90% of someone's earnings.

    There are also other creative solutions like making the board of directors of publicly traded companies elected by the workers.

    Yeah that's fair. Take the vote away from the people who put up the money to get the company off the ground. Has it occurred to you that might have unintended consequences, such as discouraging investment?

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:45PM (#32273402) Homepage

    The first thing is to shut down the coal-fired power plants. This will immediately decrease the CO2 emissions.

    In 10 years or so we can have some nuclear plants built, but by then there will be far less need. Anyone that needs electricity to survive will have died off and the entire US food distribution system will have been reshaped - no refrigeration, no frozen food.

    Besides, unless we can convince Mexico to get on board, just exactly where would we build a nuclear plant? Nobody in the environmental movement is going to allow one to be built within the continental US today. The procedures for preventing this from happening are well defined and have been used for the last 40 years or so. Any attempt to inject reality (like TMI where 0 people died and Chernobyl where 46 firefighters died) into the discussion will simply have result in being branded as an uncaring, environment-destroying fool.

    I do not even believe that in the face of some pending shutdown of coal plants that a single nuclear plant would be built. It isn't going to happen, ever.

    Likely within the next 20 years we are going to see electric power become extremely unreliable and costly for most of the US. It might be even less than that. We are probably completely out of time to build anything before there are serious consequences, even if the environmental folks would get out of the way, which they aren't going to do.

  • Re:externality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:51PM (#32273462) Journal

    Why are we so determined as a nation to magnify and extend the current economic crisis to match the Carter years?

    Some of us prize health over a new tv?

    It's not people who want a new TV that will go without. They'll just rack up more on credit. It's those who can no longer afford to eat or heat their homes etc. and can't get credit that will suffer.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:53PM (#32273488) Homepage

    Basically because everyone knows that nuclear plants kill people.

    Ask anyone about Chernobyl and they will tell you about the thousands of people that died because of it all across Europe. And how the entire state of Pennsylvania was nearly wiped out because of Three Mile Island. Then there are all those poor Japanese people that died because of a radiation release in Japan.

    If you then show these people that (a) Zero people died because of Three Mile Island, (b) 46 firefighters died in the Cherynobyl accident, and (c) nobody died in Japan you will be branded a liar and some kind of anti-environmental kook. Probably a REPUBLICAN that believes in wierd religious stuff and wants money, not family.

    We are about 40 years too late to educate people and the tabloids have taken over the job.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:53PM (#32273492)

    Yes, you can charge China and India a carbon tax. It would be collected as a tariff on imports and indexed to the amount of CO2 discharged by industry in countries that did not mandate control of CO2 emissions. China would notice this very quickly.

  • Re:externality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:57PM (#32273510)

    A tax on carbon is a tax on everything. Food prices will rise. The price of everything ordered on Amazon will rise. The price of everyhtng transported by road or rail will rise. The price of running your heater or AC will rise, a lot. And it's a regressive tax, like all consumption taxes.

    If half the harms of global climate change come true, that's going to happen anyway. I'd hate to pay more for my amazon order, but I'd hate even more to catch malaria because it was warm enough now for it to thrive in my latitude.

    (note that I have no idea how likely that effect of climate change is. I'd probably invest in some bug spray and gin and tonic... maybe that's not a bad thing...)

  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:58PM (#32273522)
    There are still some people furious that the government is sticking its nose where it shouldn't belong by requiring catalytic converters. To some people, _any_ government action is an abuse of power. Most of us consider these people to be nut cases or seriously deluded.

    Air quality has improved since the days of L.A. being famous for its smog. Maybe not directly the cause of catalytic converters, but it's very probable that it is due to taking the problem of air pollution seriously and implementing many steps to try and put a curb on it.
  • by quantaman (517394) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:01PM (#32273544)

    unless he continues to be right. So far, the "CO2 is the cause" crowd have continued to get it wrong, so why do so many people continue to listen to them? The initial theory of CO2 heating the planet up was based on the observations of Venus' atmosphere and temperature. Venus was described as a runaway greenhouse effect. While it's true that the atmosphere of Venus has a much higher concentration of CO2 than on Earth, it's also true that Mars has a higher concentration of CO2. Venus is much hotter than Earth, Mars is much colder. So what gives? Scientists have more recently concluded that the high temperatures on Venus aren't cause by a greenhouse effect. []

    No Scientists did not conclude that the high temperatures on Venus aren't cause by a greenhouse effect.

    Anthony Watts, a climate sceptic and meteorologist, posted an entry by Steve Goddard (I don't know his qualifications) on his blog that said the high temperatures on Venus aren't cause by a greenhouse effect. If you want me to take that post seriously than show me the paper in a respectable peer reviewed scientific journal that says the same thing. That way I know that at least some knowledgeable scientists have looked at the paper and checked the data and calculations.

    I'm sorry but I've seen more than enough "scientific" blog posts and it will take more than that to convince me of an argument.

  • Re:Cap Tax (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:05PM (#32273600) Journal
    "The EPA and others have begun pushing to label CO2 as a poison."

    That statement is in dire need of a citation.
  • Re:Experts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:06PM (#32273614)
    Of course the corporations are taking it seriously. There could be trillions of dollars of easy government money in the offering in the near future. The pigs are scrambling to get to the trough and are working on their schemes to game the broken system. Corporations love corporate welfare, and this is a corporate-welfare scheme of unprecedented proportions. Banks, oil companies, and genocidal dictators will be the big winners.
  • Re:externality (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:08PM (#32273650) Journal

    If a business can't survive without paying for the property destruction that is the result of doing business, why should anyone shed a tear for it? If you lose your job at pollution inc because society has made it unprofitable to pollute the land, that is too fucking bad.

  • Re:externality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by riverat1 (1048260) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:08PM (#32273654)

    Jobs are lost in the fossil fuel industry. What makes you think there won't be new jobs in whatever we do to replace them? The world economy is going to change significantly in the next decade whether we like it or not. Why not embrace the change and be a leading nation into the future? China is investing more in clean/renewable energy than the US. Can we afford to be behind the curve?

  • Re:externality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:10PM (#32273670)
    What alternative do you propose that will fix the problem? The manufacturer's are not voluntarily deciding to spend more money to fix the problem, they're certainly not going to fix the problem without passing on the costs anyway, whether or not this is mandated.

    Yes, the costs of things will rise. That's unavoidable. If we do nothing, the costs will probably be even larger.

    Reminds me of when we had rolling blackouts in California a few years back. Despite the warnings to reduce electricity usage, and brown outs the day before, I showed up at work to sit in a frigid cubicle because all the air conditioners were going full blast. It's really weird to be wearing a coat in the middle of a heat wave because someone can't figure out that we don't need it to be that cold inside. But try raising prices to encourage people to reduce usage and people start shouting and screaming.
  • Re:Who is going (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:12PM (#32273700)
    97% of annual CO2 emissions are natural. Only 3% are anthropogenic. It mostly comes from decaying biomass. Look it up. What, don't they highlight this fact on the greenist web sites? My country (Canada) is responsible for 0.06% of total CO2 emissions. Hardly seems worth gutting my standard of living over.
  • Re:Experts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khayman80 (824400) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:13PM (#32273718) Homepage Journal

    I have a Master's degree in computer science; my master's thesis was on the modeling of seawater.

    Another example of the modified salem hypothesis [].

    But beyond that, I actually do my own research, and know how to eliminate crackpot theories better than Al Gore, who uncritically reported several false stories in an Inconvenient Truth.

    Let me guess, the crackpot theories you've eliminated happen to be the ones that my previous comment showed are accepted by the overwhelming majority of scientists who actually study these topics for a living?

    Note that my article [] starts with the sentence "... this explains why some people who watch a documentary that exaggerates [] the science [] end up imitating that smug [] politician's alarmism []."

    Later in the article, during my conversation with Jane Q. Public: "... the thought of that smug, pompous politician accepting a Nobel prize for exaggerating the science makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon just to get the image out of my head.

    So I've already listed several points that Al Gore got wrong in his silly little movie. I'm also amused by nonscientists who think Al Gore is relevant. He's not a scientist. He's a smug, pompous, washed up politician. If you seriously want to learn about the science behind abrupt climate change, stick to peer-reviewed journal articles and stay away from politicians like Al Gore.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:15PM (#32273734) Homepage

    No, you're miss-informed as to what Clean Coal actually is. It has nothing to do with CO2 reduction. It means that technologies (namely scrubbers) are used to dramatically reduce sulfur dioxides, nitrogen dioxides, and other particulate matter.

  • "Checking the numbers" only works on those whose minds are open enough to step outside the comforting, narrative-supporting cocoon of Fox News and question the notion that everything that challenges your assumptions is part of the conspiracy. And even well-educated, otherwise mentally-capable people can be imprisoned by that narrative, because it's comforting.

    So you're saying that all the people who have checked the numbers and still doubt AGW are... deluded? Crazy? Blind followers of Fox News?

    The "you need an open mind" argument is only valid coming from someone who doesn't apply absurd stereotypes to those who disagree. (Which, if I haven't been clear, excludes you.)

  • by angelwolf71885 (1181671) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:23PM (#32273818)
    they only way to get to 68% below 1990 levels is to bring the entire world economy to a halt
  • The Jobs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by codepunk (167897) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:37PM (#32273944)

    Ok so it is pretty much a given that China, Mexico and the other Asian nations are not going to implement this
    in their own countries to the detrement of their fast growing industrial economies. Implementing this is about
    as beneficial to the US job market as the new health care bill. Our countries manufacturing industry is already
    treading water adding additional costs to do business in this country only quickens the pace.

  • Re:externality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <> on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:39PM (#32273974) Homepage

    Probably because the only effective way to replace our current power usage with "green" energy sources is nuclear, but the environmentalists don't want us to use nuclear power because.... actually, I've never really understood why.

    In other words, they want us to reduce our energy usage (and thus our CO2 production) but they also want to prevent us from doing what it would take to maintain our current lifestyle. Go figure.

    Americans as a whole don't like giving up our luxuries, and as a result I don't think most of us would react kindly to a carbon tax (at least not before we have nuclear power infrastructure in place, which is the case right now).

  • by 246o1 (914193) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:41PM (#32273994)

    We definitely need a tax on politically active scientists.

    This is modded insightful because . . . . ? If there's one thing a democracy requires, it's a politically active citizenry. In particular, we need our experts to be involved in the topics relevant to their expertises. Were it possible, we should tax Know-Nothingism of the sort displayed in the parent.

  • Re:externality (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shadow99_1 (86250) <> on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @10:58PM (#32274156)

    How about you tax that companies that make non-green shit, not the people who can't afford to buy the green stuff? The poor regularly get the items in their price range that is the worst for the environment. The richer you are the better your access to 'green' tech/food/living is.

    If we actually taxed the 'non-green' stuff it would make it harder on the poor people, but at least it's taxing the right thing! Every plan of this sort I've ever seen taxes the consumer, who doesn't always get to really chose what they buy.

  • Re:externality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:09PM (#32274234) Journal

    1) Corporate corruption is a separate issue entirely.
    2) who do you think gets fucked over most from climate change? A) rich thieves or B) poor people? Case closed.

  • by epiphani (254981) <epiphani&dal,net> on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:21PM (#32274316)

    I see a television weather reporter here, not a published scientist.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:23PM (#32274334) Homepage Journal

    Depending on your latitude, it may more more sense not to re-plant the trees, as snowpack reflects more IR back into space than the trees' CO2 sequestration offsets.

    Assuming global temperature is the only concern, of course, but that seems to be the trendy thing to do.

  • Re:Same thing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:23PM (#32274338) Journal

    So what? The fact that someone makes a lot of money is not sufficient justification for the Government to take almost all of it.

    Aren't leftists big on the concept of equal protection? Explain to me how "progressive" tax structures are compatible with treating everybody equally under the law?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:31PM (#32274414)

    When the gas engines run for a day to cut an acre of trees,
    more CO2 is released in cutting down that one acre of trees
    than what the trees would ever release in being burned or

    Now, step away from the keyboard and breath a prayer or two
    onto your vegetable dinner to take as much poison back in
    your body so I don't have to put up with your stink. Bad
    enough I breath the same air as eco cowards like you.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:36PM (#32274456) Homepage

    The US government created the Department of Energy in the early 1970's to regulate the price of a barrel of oil. It went from $3 to a high around $150 to about $70 today.

    Yeah, I'm sure that had absolutely nothing to do with skyrocketing demand, a relative leveling off of production capacity, general inflation, or the cartel that is OPEC. Your simplistic "it's the big bad government" answer *must* be the right one!

    Listen to your gut, big guy, I'm sure it's right, facts be damned...

  • by shis-ka-bob (595298) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:43PM (#32274508)
    Just for gigles, go look at gapminder. See$majorMode=chart$is;shi=t;ly=2003;lb=f;il=t;fs=11;al=21;stl=t;st=t;nsl=t;se=t$wst;tts=C$ts;sp=6;ti=2006$zpv;v=0$inc_x;mmid=XCOORDS;iid=phAwcNAVuyj1jiMAkmq1iMg;by=ind$inc_y;mmid=YCOORDS;iid=phAwcNAVuyj1gkNuUEXOGag;by=ind$inc_s;uniValue=8.21;iid=phAwcNAVuyj1NHPC9MyZ9SQ;by=ind$inc_c;uniValue=255;gid=CATID0;iid=pyj6tScZqmEfbZyl0qjbiRQ;by=grp$map_x;scale=log;dataMin=294;dataMax=76977$map_y;scale=log;dataMin=-1.2196;dataMax=26$map_s;sma=58;smi=1$cd;bd=0$inds=;modified=6 [] Your argument is a bit silly. It it like a glutton complaining that his neighbors their 3 children eat more than he does, so they should be the ones to go on a diet. Yes, 1.32 billion Chinese use more energy than 0.31 billion Americans. Are we so special that we deserve 4x the CO2 per capita as the rest of the world?
  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:44PM (#32274514)

    Actually large coal plants are more efficient than liquid fueled vehicles in the amount of CO2 they produce to generate a given amount of energy. But natural gas is 30% more efficient than coal in that regard.

    One of my biggest problems with nuclear power is it can't be built without massive government subsidies. No private insurance company is willing to insure them. Several projects around the world have run into problems or been reexamined due to costs.

  • Re:externality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by antirelic (1030688) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:44PM (#32274516) Journal

    "Carbon Credits" may be presented to fulfill a fantasy of tree hugging hippies (I mean that in the nicest sense possible), but in all reality it is the greatest and most destructive grab for power in human history. Despite all of the negative press associated with modern living (pollution, crime, inequality, etc.), people are living longer, better lives, everywhere (except for the few places that are still practicing early 20th century communism such as North Korea and Cuba, and even Cubans are living longer). Advancements in science and technology are moving a long at break neck speeds (relative to any other time frames outside the 20th century), and all of these advancements are built on proceeding advances.

    Carbon Credits attacks the basic blocks that made the progress of the 20th century possible; access to cheap electricity and cheap petroleum. While its true both of these sources of fuel have negative qualities (pollution, danger of extraction, storage, etc.), they have gone a LONG towards connecting the world, and improving the quality of life; everywhere. Once "carbon credits" begin to dramatically increase the scarcity for these two life blood components of modern life, things are going to change, and not for the better.

    Betting on "breakthroughs" in "green xyz" is a bad strategy. How are people going to come up with great new inventions when they can no longer afford electricty? Or when Universities have to increase the cost of admissions because the price of utilities has "necessarily skyrocketed", who is going to be able to attain a degree? There will be those who can afford to, but history has shown repeatedly that those who have money and power really have no reason to try to change the world... because the world is already working in there favor. From Edison to Bell, many of the great innovators and inventors have come from humble origins to change the world. While their inventions may have change the way the world lives, the businesses that they created have grown large, and stagnant, but provided mediums which helped lift other inventors to prominence years down the line.

    This carbon credit scheme is not going to favor the Bells and the Edisons before they were rich. Carbon Credits are going to favor the AT&T's, the Goldman Sachs, and the Enrons of the world, while creating a barrier to entry so high that no new businesses will come into being, and the ones that exist will be "too big to fail".

  • by oldwordsmith (547302) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:45PM (#32274530)
    Redistributing the wealth....isn't that the point???
  • Re:Experts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:53PM (#32274588)

    So let's turn the question around: what behavior would indicate to you that someone is taking it seriously, and not just exploiting it for commercial gain? Or do you assume that every behavior is an indication of cynical abuse, which means that there is no way to actually prove the opposite? If it's the latter, you're basically dishonest in your position - nothing can be done to prove you wrong.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @12:01AM (#32274652) Journal

    It's because the impact is more secondary then primary. The entire cap and trade situation which is more or less the exact same as the carbon tax which would be the same as Stronger anti-smog legislation with the exception of efficiency, is little more then a revenue and control stream.

    Cap and Trade was designed by political hacks who wanted to use Global warming to resolve the issue of the third world debt incurred with the oil crisis in the 1970's (which was a major issue in the 80's and 90's until Kyoto came about with the cap and trade system). A carbon tax is little more then the same except it gets to pick winners and losers so there is more control over who benefits and who does not. Cutting through the BS, is simply applying stricter regulations and fines in excess of profits made by ignoring the regulation. Both of the previous systems will eventual result in this except the penalties can be applied before the technology is available. This way they do not have to wait to extract revenue from businesses who will simply pass it down to the consumer which means you and me.

    If anyone was serious about reducing pollution, then something way more simple would be in place. This is how you know that global warming- the political aspect of it anyways, it more about revenue and control then the environment. You see, if they were serious about Co2 being a problem, then treaties like Kyoto would take all those scientists sent to convince the world they needed to tax and impoverish their populations through IPCC reports, and put them in a room with the purpose of finding practical sources of clean energy or ways to make existing sources cleaner. Then they would patent all this and offer the tech discovered to any country or business operating within the country and possible make it a requirement of implementation on new facilities for admission or continues membership into international trade unions the WTO.

    In fact, almost all of the so called problems could be solved by a system like that in which clean tech is shared with the users and all countries. Instead, they want systems where either the government of a country impoverishes it's population by tax or caps that do little more then make things cost more, or by building up impoverished nations like Kyoto accords specify. And just to put it bluntly but brightly so people can understand, the Kyoto treaty has something like 137 countries sign onto it with the US being about the only one not doing so. Of those 137 countries, only 38 or so had Co2 limits imposed and an effective way around those limits is to move your pollution to the third world countries which is why you see Europe relying a lot more in manufacturing from China and India which are now some of the leading polluters.

  • All I'm saying is it's hypocritical to shout "You need an open mind!" while simultaneously demonstrating one's own closed-mindedness.

  • Political Agenda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sycodon (149926) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @12:46AM (#32274964)

    What makes this smell of political agenda rather than a genuine concern for the environment is that they urge action that will ultimately have no real value.

    People will still need to drive to work. Trucks and trains will still need to run. Airlines will still fly, people will still run their AC, wash their clothes and dishes, watch TV, power their lights, etc.

    The only difference will be that they will pay more and the government will get a big fat check to spend on more crap we don't need. Gee, more tax and spend, who'd a thunk?

    If they had a real concern and really did want to reduce carbon, they would have forcefully and whole wholeheartedly endorsed nuclear power. They would have suggested a Nation Mandate, special legislation limiting lawsuits, standardization on just a few designs, mass production of parts and encouraging U.S. industry to make the parts (I seem to remember that the turbines are ONLY made in Germany and Japan), etc, etc.

    Of course all the anti-nuke wackos will start lining up to poo poo this , but they cannot deny that nuclear power is carbon free, far safer than any other energy when properly handled, and far more efficient than any other fuel. And if you can push aside all the crap ( 5 year environmental impact studies, endless lawsuits, etc.) they can probably be built for far less than their traditional cost.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @01:12AM (#32275144)

    China is also investing more in clean/renewable energy than the US. If we don't get on the ball they'll eat our lunch in the field.

  • Re:externality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oddfox (685475) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @03:54AM (#32275950) Homepage

    So what? It's still not going to kill us. It still doesn't have the impact on life as your "polluted air and water" straw man. From where I sit it seems pretty damned arrogant to proclaim that we need to destroy livelihoods and whole economies on the basis of climate models that can't even predict today using all of the historical data that we have.

    Only by completely refuting all known science behind climate change research could someone say with as much certainty as you that increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere will do human civilization no harm. There is plenty of evidence that anthropogenic climate change is occurring, you would just seemingly rather believe it's all an elaborate hoax to destroy the economy and businesses, as if that's in the best interest of the global scientific community and the world as a whole.

    And it isn't a straw-man, I was responding to your idiotic assertions that the left should embrace corporatism in the name of securing paychecks for the workers. If you meant in this particular situation only you didn't specify that, so maybe you should speak clearer next time? wizardforce also did not specify, and I am well-aware that Carbon Taxes are the beginning of the thread but the discussion took the turns that it did. Even speaking more broadly though and not about Carbon Taxes, your supposition is ridiculous and not worth serious consideration.

    Go ahead and advocate for your carbon tax. You won't get it in the United States. Not even with 60 Democratic Senators could you find the support to get it through the US Congress. The EPA's threat to regulate it is an empty one -- the American people through Congress can cut off it's funding whenever they want. Nor would it matter even if you managed to get the US to commit economic suicide. China and India are not going to halt their efforts to pull their citizens out of poverty because of Al Gore.

    I want your crystal ball. I am merely advocating something I am not making the assumption as you are that the end-result is already determined. Speculate all you want on how things will play out, I don't care one whit. As for the China and India remark, one can only hope that in time they can be persuaded to understand the severity of the situation. In the meantime, that doesn't excuse us doing nothing about the problem. Being greener does not have to equate to increased poverty and less of a role in global economics, but for some reason you seem to think that the two are absolutely inseparable. Science is continuously developing more efficient strategies for alternative energy and if we could get some more funding going on for things then progress would be even greater. The status quo should not and cannot be maintained.

    Lastly, why do climate change deniers always act like Al Gore is the only person or even the biggest/most visible person in the climate change debate? I and most others are curious about your obsession with the guy over the silly claim that he allegedly said he invented the internet (he didn't) or his contributions to the climate change debate (he is a minor player and is not a climate change scientist nor does he pretend to be). We are interested in debating facts, not persons. You guys win over the misinformed far easier by attacking persons though instead of using reason.

  • Re:externality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2010 @04:03AM (#32275992)

    Reminds me of when we had rolling blackouts in California a few years back.

    You mean the ones caused by collusion and market manipulation of private power companies like Enron and PNG determined to drive profits regardless of the collateral damage to the rest of us?

    I remember them too.

  • Re:Who is going (Score:4, Insightful)

    by locofungus (179280) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:38AM (#32276360)

    Well officer, you see it's like I was doing 150mph relative to the ground in a 30mph limit but the Earth is going around the sun at 67000 mph so my 120mph over the limit is totally irrelevant.


  • by thijsh (910751) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:46AM (#32276398) Journal
    Excellent argument. You point out one of the reasons why a lot of people have (and had) problems with the global warming response:
    - Ad-hominem fallacy - Anyone who does not agree is a crackpot. When this is the mindset it makes me doubt since this is not science but an ad-hominem attack.
    - Fudged numbers - I understand this does not mean malice, but especially reluctance to find out the causes or let other scientists help find it raises doubt.
    - Financial gain - Al Gore made a lot of money, and a proposal for 'carbon tax' will give the government a financial gain. Like I doubt any statement that greatly benefits the person who made it this raises doubt.
    - Science incomplete - CO2 is a greenhouse gas (of many), but the model is not yet complete, there are a lot of unknown factors. By claiming this is the ultimate cause you blind yourselves to other possibilities which have not been sufficiently refuted (partially because of first reason, actual scientists who disagree or even raise valid questions are ridiculed).

    I for one doubt some of the explanations given why the earth is warming up, and have been digging a little deeper and crunching the numbers... the results are unsettling, what if CO2 is not the main cause of the rise in temperature? If you are investing a lot in CO2 reduction you might be wasting resources that can be used for better purposes. We can better start by making changes that everyone agrees with, like reducing fuel consumption will lead to better air quality (not CO2 but other byproducts and fine particles). Forcing people to pay a tax or to buy imaginary 'carbon offsets' (fuck, how stupid are some people) is not a way to a solution, it's a way to monetize a problem...
  • by Shihar (153932) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:53AM (#32276438)

    You do realize that you expel CO2 every time you breath, right? The levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are very much well within the non-toxic range. If at any point you get an average exposure of 5000ppm, toxicity will be last of your concerns. Our atmosphere would be completely nuked, both poles would be clear of ice, and our atmosphere would be closer to Venus than Earth. The levels emitted are nowhere even close to toxic, hence why CO2 emissions are not and should not be regulated as if their emission is toxic. The danger CO2 provides is global warming and only global warming.

  • Re:Same thing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:32AM (#32277334) Journal

    Yes, god forbid I pass some of my life's work down to my children. The Government should come and seize it all when I die.

  • by sycodon (149926) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:41AM (#32277404)

    Cap and Trade is order of magnitudes above restrict S02. It will make EVERYTHING more expensive. Alternatives? Like I'm going to drop $30k on a Pirus instead of just paying a few thousand more a year for gas.

    You comment is like saying if I put a bag over your heard, you will find a way to moderate your breathing.

  • by tbannist (230135) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:43AM (#32277422)

    Forcing people to pay a tax or to buy imaginary 'carbon offsets' (fuck, how stupid are some people) is not a way to a solution, it's a way to monetize a problem...

    Make no mistake, I think everything else you said is also wrong, but I though this deserved special attention. Of course, "carbon offsets" are a way to monetize a problem. It's quite obviously a bribe to capitalists to get them to support reducing CO2 by monetizing the problem. The way capitalism works, nothing will ever be done about anything that doesn't translate into money. As long as CO2 emissions are free, corporations will pay, at best, lip service to reducing emissions. Corporations only have one real duty, and that's to deliver profits to their owners. If it doesn't cost anything and the alternatives do, the alternatives will rarely be used (essentially only by specialty companies that cater to patrons who care and can afford to deal with such a companies).

    Carbon Dioxide is an externality [], there are really only about four possible way to fix an externality: Criminalization, Civil Tort law, Government provision, Pigovian taxes. If CO2 is a problem you have four possible solutions:
    1) Criminalize CO2 emissions.
    2) Allow citizens to sue companies because of their CO2 emissions.
    3) Tax everyone to pay for large carbon sequestration operations.
    4) Tax the people who release the CO2.

    If you don't like option #4, what would you choose instead and why?

  • by sycodon (149926) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:45AM (#32277438)

    Call me when your fancy green energy has the capability to, in 3-5 years, drop a power plant pretty much anywhere near a water source and generate 800 to 1 gigawatt of power on demand.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:54AM (#32277520) Homepage Journal

    So you're saying that all the people who have checked the numbers and still doubt AGW are... deluded? Crazy? Blind followers of Fox News?

    Not at all.

    I'm just saying that Fox News panders to the internal narrative that their fans already believe. Their viewers aren't blind, they've just got their eyes tightly shut.

    People who doubt AGW are sensible. It's the normal reaction to such extraordinary claims (such as "the earth is getting warmer").

    When you disregard, out-of-hand, the work of tens of thousands of scientists, and say that "it's all a conspiracy or scam" then you start to wander into kook territory.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:58AM (#32277556)

    You comment is like saying if I put a bag over your heard, you will find a way to moderate your breathing.

    This is a massive exaggeration. If your comment is true - that regulating CO2 is so lethal to industry - then how come the European Union Emission Trading Scheme [] hasn't brought the EU to its knees? How come Germany is second in exports to only China, despite having a central position in the EU, and a fraction of the population of China?

  • Re:externality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LanMan04 (790429) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:58AM (#32277564)

    Wake me up when they can accurately predict next years climate.

    Next year doesn't have climate. It has weather.

  • by thijsh (910751) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:43AM (#32278212) Journal

    Make no mistake, I think everything else you said is also wrong

    P.S. This kinda stuck with me... If you believe global warming is an imminent threat and CO2 reduction is the way to go I would think that you would want to do anything to help people understand this and share this mindset. The points I mentioned are opinions I have noticed that increase people's doubt, they are in no way factual since opinions may vary per person. That being said, you also can't conclude that everything is wrong since these are real opinions that do exist in people's mind. If your goal is to reduce doubt (and increase awareness) you should address these points (think of it as inside knowledge of how your 'opponents' think and use it to the advantage of your cause).
    Al Gore could for example donate all money he makes to environmental causes and take away most of the doubt of that point, but of course not everything is in your power. On the other hand you personally can attempt to have meaningful discussions (like we do now), and in particular make sure not to fall back to ad-hominem attacks if people's idea's are strange to you.

  • Re:Who is going (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dwiget001 (1073738) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:55AM (#32278414)

    Being that a carbon tax will have little to no effect (per "Climate Change" and "Global Warming" proponents that will greatly benefit, monetarily, should such come to pass) on the amount of human generated carbon in the atmosphere, all talk of such "carbon" or similar taxes should completely scrapped.

    It is, and always has been, nothing more than A) a power grab and B) a method to bilk even more money out of tax paying citizens who are already over-taxed in the extreme to help cement further control and enslavement of the United States citizenry. Such taxes solve nothing except continue the craven "re-distrubtion of wealth" meme.

    This should be opposed and thwarted at every level and at every opportunity.

  • by tbannist (230135) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:57AM (#32278466)

    Frankly, I think the fact that CO2 is a major problem has been sufficiently demonstrated. I'm no expert on the topic, but there's about a 95% or better agreement among the experts that it is a problem. You don't get that type of agreement from experts unless the issue is pretty much resolved. (When was the last time you asked for a 20th expert opinion before making up your mind?)

    I don't understand your rhetoric over conflict of interest. I'm not sure who you're implying is going to benefit from climate change, after all it's not just scientists []:

    "Count a growing number of Colorado businesses among those deeply disenchanted with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its stance that climate change legislation is largely based on junk science and will further derail the American economy.

    Earlier this month, heavy hitters like Apple, Exelon, Levi Strauss and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. outright quit the nation’s leading business organization. Nike resigned from the Chamber’s board but maintained its membership, and companies like Duke Energy, General Electric, Alcoa and Johnson & Johnson have disavowed the chamber’s positions on global warming.

    The U.S. military also considers climate change to be a real issue []:

    The Pentagon will for the first time rank global warming as a destabilising force, adding fuel to conflict and putting US troops at risk around the world, in a major strategy review to be presented to Congress tomorrow. The quadrennial defence review, prepared by the Pentagon to update Congress on its security vision, will direct military planners to keep track of the latest climate science, and to factor global warming into their long term strategic planning.

    So, what I'm confused about is, if there's a real problem, what incentive do climate scientists have to mislead us about the cause of the problem?

    As for the taxes issue, fuel is not the only source of CO2 emissions and yes taxes on fuel do indirectly tax CO2 and if fuel was not taxed in most countries, we would be in a worse situation right now.

    As far as taxes being entirely ineffective, there's two reasons why that's unlikely. The first is that consumption is factor of demand and price. Increase the price and consumption drops unless demand increases. There are different demand curves depending on the flexibility of the demand and the alternatives. The second is that at some point alternatives which produce fewer emissions will become more affordable than the C02 emitting energy sources we use now. At that point there will certainly be deflation in the demand for CO2 emitting energy sources. So yes, a CO2 tax should actually reduce the rate of global temperature increase.

  • by Glarimore (1795666) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @10:49AM (#32279404)
    Fine -- but the fact still stands that when the Chernobyl meltdown occurred they were improperly running tests and the cooling rods they were using at the time had significant design flaws.

    We shouldn't be pushed away from a viable form of energy because of an incident where stupidity and poor engineering combined to form a freak-accident.

We are not a loved organization, but we are a respected one. -- John Fisher