Al Gore still wants a carbon tax (Has he learned nothing over the last decade and a half, aside from the value of stock options?)

I won’t go into details but I know a fair amount about a carbon tax. I even once hosted a discussion on Wall Street in front of business leaders on the topic. All of the people on stage with me were pro-tax. Our readers know where I am on taxes of any sort. I was the moderator.

I am very familiar with the costs of a carbon tax to the economy, the arguments for such a tax, and the arguments against one. I am reasonably familiar with the history of such a tax (which emerged as a last option in the face of the death of “Cap and Trade.”) I’ve thought about a carbon tax for YEARS and in considerable detail. 

I understand why people want one. Both the environmental reasons, and more concerning to me, the central planning reasons.

In light of my general and ongoing examination, from multiple angles and with a genuinely open mind, I can only say that The Examiner is correct. A carbon tax is not a good idea AT ALL.

This is not to dismiss the issue of global warming or climate change. I am not. (That is for a different discussion.) However, if carbon emissions are an issue we are already on an excellent track. Thanks to the natural gas revolution of the last few years (fracking) we are emitting much less carbon than we were a decade ago.

China, the world’s second largest economy (but still poor in relative terms) is another issue. It continues to expel soot, ash, and carbon generally into the atmosphere at an alarming rate. (Remember when they shut all the factories during the Olympics because there was so much pollution?) This should be the concern of people like Mr. Gore. It is China and to a lesser extent India, that should be getting the lion’s share of the scrutiny. In the USA we are already headed in the right direction. Why would we institute a carbon tax if carbon emissions are solidly trending down? It would only hurt the economy, and interestingly could even retard “decarbonization” by limiting capital flows into R and D.  

Image: ClimateParis.org

The carbon tax has a few big things wrong with it. The first is, as stated, it’s not needed in the US given current trends. Second, if a carbon tax was instituted it is entirely possible that policymakers would seek to maintain the carbon tax revenue stream, in a way not unlike tobacco which is a cash cow for states.

Lastly a carbon tax is a tax literally on the air we breathe. And that is just fundamentally wrong.

Mr. Gore has made a lot of money in recent years scaring people and getting cuddly with the “right” companies. Having failed at Cap and Trade he continues to cling to a taxation scheme that would do pretty much no good for the planet but could put many many Americans out of work. Not to mention move yet more revenue into the clutches of government – which is what this is really all about.

(From The Washington Examiner)

If you scroll through the verbiage surrounding the document, you will find the core policy recommendation is a massive, punishing carbon tax. Gore would start the tax at $50 per ton, which would increase to $100 per ton over time, essentially destroying the market for continued robust development of the world’s fossil-fuel base. Our economic growth and personal well-being depends on robust fossil-fuel use*, so Gore’s plan would destroy these as well.

But, don’t worry! The all-in estimated cost to re-engineer humanity is only a mere $15 trillion—enough money to give every man, woman, and child in the United States more than $46,000.

Click here for the article.

*Currently, and likely for a good while this will remain true. But it need not remain true forever. We don’t burn whale oil any longer. The same might end up being true for petroleum. But we don’t know how things are going to go. And most importantly neither do the central planners. (Who think they can just will their post-carbon reality with the use of force.)  

By the way, both founders of this site consider themselves to be proud environmentalists.