In this week's issue of Time Magazine, Joe Klein
calls for courage and vision from any candidate who's hoping to move into the White House shortly after new years 2009. Nothing short of big ideas will turn our boat around. He says the candidates need a plan, and he offers the following as an example of something that could be put forward. I think the world needs more than a gestures and half measures if we're to survive the next 100 years.
In his March congressional testimony, Gore laid out a comprehensive series of proposals to combat global warming. With the help of Robert Socolow, a Princeton professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering who is a carbon-emissions expert, I've made Gore's general policy prescriptions specific:
— A $30-per-ton tax on carbon dioxide emissions (which comes to 25 cents per gal. of gasoline and 2 cents per kW-h of electricity), with the proceeds going to payroll-tax relief.
Ok, seriously, we are supposed to put a regressive tax on ourselves, then pay government workers to give the money back to us. Seems like a circle jerk to me, something that will cost what little money is generated in order to give it back. Might teach some to conserve, will teach the middle class to expect more taxes, and more tax rebates. Not very constructive. Kinda manipulative if ya ask me.
— Higher fuel-efficiency standards for auto manufacturers. Socolow's goal is 60 m.p.g. by 2056.
I totally agree that we need higher fuel efficiency, but we have cars being made right now
in the world that get between 40 and 50 mpg already. We have prototypes that get 100mpg
. 2056 is total horseshit, we could do 60mpg in new cars by 2015 easy, and 80 to 100 by 2056. No problem, let's get on it!!
— A $45-per-bbl. floor on petroleum, in order to ensure alternative-energy providers with a stable market.
We haven't seen $45/barrel oil in months. This will do nothing. If we make the law, and by some miracle the price of oil comes down, it won't go below $45, since it would then be a pain in the neck to do the paperwork and move the money.
— A moratorium on new coal-fired power plants, at least until new carbon-scrubbing techniques are perfected.
Not only that, we need to put the teeth back in the Clean Air Act, and force the Coal plants to clean up their emmissions, toot sweet! This would have been very near done, if Bushco hadn't rolled back the rules.
— A cap-and-trade system of controlling carbon emissions, in which major carbon producers—oil companies, public utilities—would have to pay for the right to pollute above a certain level. Those that reduced their pollution below their quota would be able to sell their excess capacity to companies that exceeded their quotas. The amount of pollution permitted would gradually be reduced over time.
Of this wish list, the cap-and-trade idea and the $45-per-bbl. price for oil are the most likely to succeed politically.
Yup, because the former is too complex to make any difference any time soon, and the latter is just silly.
All Democrats running for President, several Republicans and even some major industries, including Duke Energy and General Motors, favor a serious cap-and-trade program. The days of $45-per-bbl. oil are probably over, in any case. But buyer beware: the higher energy prices likely to result from these programs will be passed along to you, with alacrity, by the energy companies.
So, not only will we tax ourselves in order to give the money back to us, the oil companies will jack up the price of gas as soon as we do.
Easter Island used to be a mystery.
Crossposted at The Fat Lady Sings