It's time for a carbon tax!

It's no longer a surprise when Republicans try to block our president from taking any action on climate change. However, it's quite a shock when a former Bush Administration official comes out in favor of a plan even stronger than the president's. Recently, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for a tax on carbon. It shouldn't be a surprise that a well-educated, executive level official believes in science, but it is worth noting that this Republican's carbon tax suggestion is more progressive than the cap-and-trade plan supported by our democratic president.

Unlike a carbon tax, Obama's cap-and-trade does not include methane emissions from natural gas. Cap-and-trade allows Wall Street to continue to manipulate the market and discourage investment in renewables. In addition, because carbon credits in a cap-and-trade system are issued based on how much companies pollute, many utilities ramp up pollution before these systems are put in place in order to “earn” more carbon offsets. In comparison, a carbon tax does not reward current polluters, and it is less susceptible to fraudulent Wall Street trading schemes. By putting a price on actual pollution, a carbon tax lowers the cost of clean energy, and encourages investment in new technology.

A tax on carbon pollution also factors in dangerous methane emissions, and forces the fossil fuel industry to pay for the social costs of destroying our environment. In his op-ed, Hank Paulson wrote, “We can debate the appropriate pricing and policy design and how to use the money generated. But, a price on carbon would change the behavior of both individuals and businesses.” We must continue to fight for that change, and force our president to see that a carbon tax is a better plan than cap-and-trade.


DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 51 weeks ago

Sounds great to me Thom. Obviously if a noted Republican in on board you can only guess that the problem is really bad. We need to act like a threatened beehive on this one. I can only share my previous post once again. I honestly believe that this is our best, simplest, and most natural God given solution to this crisis.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 51 weeks ago

Apropos to #2 ~ Of course when I say "natural God given solution to this crisis," I am referring to this Biblical quote:

Quote The Book of Revelations:Revelation 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

douglas m 9 years 51 weeks ago

I just hope and pray this country and all countries do more than necessary,

or unfortunately would be forced

into not becoming the frog in the boiling water, so to speak.

A species that looks ahead and acts accordingly based on our best knowledge.

Instead of waiting until the cost is too high or irreversible.

Or both. the hesitation to not do everything possible is sad.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 51 weeks ago

I wish Hank P would have mentioned the rebate part of the carbon tax.

leonnie's picture
leonnie 9 years 51 weeks ago

Of course you are right - and our Prime Minister Tony Abbot has just abolished ours - set up by the previous PM Julia Gillard. :(

Leonnie - Australia

bobcox's picture
bobcox 9 years 51 weeks ago

Both Cap and Trade and the proposed Carbon tax will raise the price of electric service. All the Corporations will do is tack their costs onto our bill. Most Public Utility companies are allowed a percentage of current assets for their calculating prices in order to obtain the legally mandated maximum profit. Any modification of the present process engineering design will increase costs and not produce as much electrical power for the thermodynamic load. Result: Increased costs to the consumer. Can we afford that? That is the question. Can we afford to not? Which alternative provides the best results for the lowest cost to the consumer?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 51 weeks ago

bobcox -- The proposal is to tax and rebate. The population will provided extra cash through the rebate. They do have the choice to buy gasoline (e.g. at $20 gallon) or buy an electric car and solar panels on their roof.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 51 weeks ago

Carbon tax sounds great, but considering the risk of climate change to mankind, I'd prefer a total government takeover of the energy sector. Then make "Green," the law of the land.

ChicagoMatt 9 years 51 weeks ago

We should make every company responsible for all aspects of cleaning up their product, not just in the air, but landfill as well.

Some products already have this: companies that do oil changes and auto parts stores must also collect used oil and car batteries. We should extend this to include EVERYTHING. I should be able to take my garbage to Target, since that's where I buy most of my stuff, and they should have to either pay for the landfill, or figure out a way to make money recycling it.

It's a win-win for all, really.

Lefties get: Instant recycling programs around the country, and profit motives for the companies to reduce their garbage and recycle more.

Righties get: A weakened sanitation worker union, since they won't be needed anymore, and a break from the taxes and fees that come along with disposing of your own garbage.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 51 weeks ago

Chi Matt -- What we need is a competitive carbon market place. Where is Teddy R when we need him?

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann is a creative thinker and committed small-d democrat. He has dealt with a wide range of topics throughout his life, and this book provides an excellent cross section. The Thom Hartmann Reader will make people both angry and motivated to act."
Dean Baker, economist and author of Plunder and Blunder, False Profits, and Taking Economics Seriously
From Screwed:
"The powers that be are running roughshod over the powers that OUGHT to be. Hartmann tells us what went wrong — and what you and I can do to help set American right again."
Jim Hightower, National Radio Commentator, Writer, Public Speaker, and author of the bestselling Thieves in High Places
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Never one to shy away from the truth, Thom Hartmann’s collected works are inspiring, wise, and compelling. His work lights the way to a better America."
Van Jones, cofounder of and author of The Green Collar Economy