Via emails between yours truly and J.M. Heinrichs; it could well be implemented just by taxing our fuel sources. After all, that’s what they did in Canada even though it’s technically a tax on CO2 over there, too(emphases are mine).
I’m still trying to wrap my dumb head around the carbon tax you guys have in Canadia and make a post of it.
JM explains the rationale but makes it sound like he’s all for it (more on that later):
Ignore the whole discussion over whether carbon is good or bad, or does it really exist. The goal is to establish a tax which will influence (read ‘control’) fossil fuel consumption, with the aim of reducing that consumption to zero as soon as possible.
Carbon is the substance which provides a metric with which that consumption can be measured. Plus it is buried in the fuel prior to burning (and thus hidden), but becomes a separable, visible, and measurable substance in the exhaust duct. Controlling fuel consumption directly is fraught with difficulties due to heat or lack there of, electricity or lack there of, etc. Carbon as the by-product of interest is one step removed and thus less immediately visible, and by putting controls on it, you now can control the fuel burning; and the lack of heat/electricity is an unavoidable effect of controlling the carbon.
Putting the tax on is not a problem, and indeed is a moral imperative, but a straight tax would not be progressive; it would not impact primarily the rich who deserve to pay and who have the unencumbered finances with which to pay. Rather the poor and unfortunate lower class persons would be ‘hurt’ by bearing an unfair portion of the tax. Thus the various measures to bring in the tax at a low level and increase it over time, which has it ‘sneak up’ on the rich so that they will not take measures to avoid paying their fair share.
The tax itself is not supposed to be a financial measure to feed the government coffers; that would be a bad thing. It is intended to teach people that they can do with less, by charging them more and creating a marketplace based on civic virtue development. Thus the majority of the initial tax received is cycled back into the community via rebates to the less well-off. As the tax rises on each ton of carbon produced, the additional amounts can be directed at funding important initiatives which will further reduce fossil fuel consumption. One problem is that the tax as currently constituted is for fuel consumed by combustion. Facilities which process petroleum into products such as plastics are taxed only on the fuel they burn. This is of course unfair, and measures are being pushed to ensure all petroleum use it treated as if it was combustion only.
In the end, we will be paying a market price for carbon, financing good things in the community and using less poisonous oily stuff.
A confused bingers (JM’s a Greenie??!):
Is that your rationale, their rationale, or both?
It appears it’s going to be considerably different in Australia. The tax our PM wants wouldn’t be taxing fuel, and actually won’t be taxing carbon, even though it’s being touted as a “carbon tax”. The one we’re getting will be a tax, by the ton, on carbon dioxide. Industries will have to caluculate how many tons of CO2 was expelled in their manufacturing process and pay accordingly (about $26 a ton is the figure being bandied about). Naturally, those extra costs will be passed onto the consumer and we will have to pay more for everything whilst not doing a damn thing to save the planet. This is especially bad for our coal power plants and the extra taxes they would have to pay would make them inviable. My folks in Oz are already paying about four times more for electricity than I do in Korea – electricty that comes from Australian coal ironically enough (and yes, I know, there’s much less infrastructure costs for it here).
Also, our mining and farming industries will get concessions so you have to wonder just how much less CO2 Australia will actually release into the atmosphere (even though the amount we do currently is extremely negligible [1.5% of 0.002% of the atmosphere]).
I really don’t like what you guys seem to have in Canada, either. A car’s catalytic converter prevents most carbon going out the exhaust. I’d rather governments offer more incentives and cash for R&D projects into wind, solar, geothermal and especially fusion and thorium even though ultimately, this should be up to the private sector. Plus it’s in the car manufacturers’ best interests to make their cars more fuel efficient, and government doesn’t necessarily have to be too involved in that one.
Plus, in light of the media hype surrounding the Fukashima plants in Japan, no-one will probably ever go more nuclear for a while, although there are a few new plants in the US which are still to the best of my knowledge being built (well, the parts for them are – in Korea), and I haven’t heard anything about Korea scaling back its push to be a world leader in the development and export of nuclear power technology.
I don’t see an unlimited future for using petrol in our cars, but a tax isn’t the right way to go about it. Taxing the rich more because “they can afford it” and giving more to the poor kills incentive and smacks of socialist wealth redistribution which historically doesn’t really work that well in the long run.
As a general rule of thumb, I’m against big government. They haven’t worked in the past so why should they work in the present or the future?
I understand what you are saying, but I suggest that by the time the legislation is written, the tax will be calculated in terms of fuel consumed. Our tax is officially based on CO2 emissions, but for convenience, applied to the fuel price. And $25 per tonne is the current tariff only; the progs want a tax in the area of $200. Plus no concessions. Check my links, because regardless what your pols might say, our setup is likely to become yours.
Nucs- in the short term perhaps but the rational types are already kicking back quite hard.
Cars- we are at the mercy of the Numbnuts in California. They do their special things and we end up follow obediently behind. Should we try something different, they are upset and whimper about WTO actions.
Here I start getting really worried!
But to reiterate in other words, are you for or against the carbon tax you guys have in Canada?
I would have thought you’d be against it.
JM assures the blogosphere:
I’m sorry; I’m against it. Along with anything else remotely associated with ‘green policies’. Better use of resources, greater efficiencies, less pollution, reduced waste I can support; but the anti-normative attempts to revise society and its behaviours do not meet with my approbation. And I don’t like them.
Your initial blurb had me a bit worried, hence me asking was it your rationale, theirs, or both!
Don’t scare people like that!!!
LULZ. Anyway, yeah, a tax on fuel sources when all’s said and done, perhaps.
There is supposed to be a rebate for qualified persons, but apparently I do not qualify, Likewise, neither do my parents. At present, the tax is at a level ($20/tonne) that businesses are possibly burying in their various costs, but the plans are that the tax begin to increase to the ‘fair level’ ($30/tonne). The progs want it to go to $200.
Apparently, according to one supporter: “… the tax has been more than matched by tax cuts and credits – in 2008 and 2009, the tax raised $846 million, and the cuts and credits for taxpayers totaled almost $1.1 billion.”
From the wishful thinking do-gooders:
4. http://www.policyalternatives.ca/workingcarbontax mediocre show-and-tell
“Beginning July 1, 2008, the new Climate Action Credit will provide lower-income British Columbians a payment of $100 per adult and $30 per child per year — increasing by 5 per cent in 2009 and possibly more in future years ($395 million over three years).”
Which I have not seen.
Basically, it’s there and it’s functioning, although I have yet to feel it directly. However, I have not noticed any of the promised ameliorative actions. And the progs want blood.