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View Diary: Cowardice in the face of climate change is just bad politics (100 comments)

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  •  You can do it without taxing (0+ / 0-)

    The point you don't seem to grasp here is that on it's own, US emissions dropped to a 20 year low.

    We don't need to tax.  We can get the same results by encouraging alternate forms of energy through tax incentives.

    If we pushed nuclear, for instance, we could be well below Kyoto goals in ten years.  Push solar and wind at the same time.

    But at the same time we do all that, we should be pushing coal plants to convert to natural gas.  There are still emissions, but a lot less than coal.

    •  There were 3 factors, not one (0+ / 0-)

      According to US Energy Information Agency, we experienced the confluence of three events: an usually mild winter, reduced demand for gasoline, a reduction of burning of coal for electricity.

      The first is a matter of the local temperatures in the country, which are not in our control. Obscenely warm winters are not something guaranteed to happen every year, even with warming. There is likely a bit of fuel price influence in this reduction, as well, as people kept thermostats lower to avoid having to buy more fuel.

      The second is due to increased gasoline and diesel fuel prices, which led to less driving. This factor clearly demonstrates that raising the price of gas has the desired effect in terms of reducing transport-related CO2.

      The third is a result of shifting our electrical production fuel mix. Most of the change was swapping coal for methane, but a small percentage came from adding renewables, as well. Unfortunately, the increase in fracking will moderate or eliminate emissions reduction as we move forward, due to its associated methane releases and their significantly greater warming effect. Switching to renewables is guaranteed to reduce emissions, switching to natural gas from fracking is not.

      There is only one element among those three factors that is guaranteed to have an impact, and over which we have substantial control: the price of fuel. We cannot control the market's price, entirely, but we can ensure, via taxes, a minimum price - whatever is necessary to incentivize driving less.

      •  Energy supply is twice that of transportation (0+ / 0-)

        when it comes to CO2 emissions.

        They are two separate problems - unless your only solution is tax-the-bejeesus-out-of-it, of course.

        Transportation fuel is taxed sky-high already.  It is political suicide to even suggest a significant increase in motor fuels.

        It is much better to stick with increasingly tough CAFE standards that yield more miles per gallon, politically speaking.

        If you want to decrease our emissions output significantly, you have to go after coal power plants.  Regulate them into bankruptcy like President Obama's EPA is doing - but, at the same time, make conversion to natural gas as easy as you can.  That is quick - really quick.  decades faster than going solar or wind.  And that is your stop-gap measure until renewables can fill the nation's needs.

        I would also add nuclear.. but the people who seem so concerned about CO2 won't even talk about it... a near zero CO2 footprint power source.

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