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Congressman to Propose Carbon Tax to Demonstrate Lack of Support

7 July 2007

NYT. Congressman John Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he plans to propose a carbon tax with the goal of showing that Americans are unwilling to support such a measure.

“I sincerely doubt that the American people will be willing to pay what this is really going to cost them,” said Mr. Dingell, whose committee will be drafting a broad bill on climate change this fall.

“I will be introducing in the next little bit a carbon tax bill, just to sort of see how people think about this,” he continued. “When you see the criticism I get, I think you’ll see the answer to your question.”

Dingell’s proposal would raise the gasoline tax $0.50 per gallon, and  institute a “double digit” tax on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted.

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Now that's useful! Let's write a bill so odious that people reject it out of hand. Then we can say that the entire idea is flawed.

Now would that be Americans, like the one that commuted Scooter's prison term, or like the ones accepting large campaign contributions?

Not to worry, though, I'm sure that kindly Emperor Fossil has an alternative to such an odious tax.

I hope this turns around and bites him in the a$$. How funny would it be if the legislation passed, and left this Michigander looking like a total fool!

50 cents and 20 pounds of co2/gallon of gasoline is $50/ton of co2. What's the going rate for carbon credits? Isn't it WAY less than that?

Someone has to pay for the damage that Katrina caused.
This is how it works, tax the products that cause global warming.
And do not forget jetfuel.

And remember, taxing fossil fuel will make the US a lot bigger

It's too bad the Congress(both parties), and the President(both parties), are controlled by big business through campaign contributions. There is only one political party in the U.S. and it's Big Business.

Watch this politico from Michigan in action; if he didn't seek favors for the auto companies through the AAM lobbying group, he would be turned out of office, defeated by the candidate of big industry.

The UAW has a lot of power too, Lad. And they're hardly a right-wing organization. Dingell's constituents are likely a lot of auto workers who would lose their jobs if the auto industry is pushed too hard.

Would someone please tell Dingo (sic) to be sure to add a line abolishing the IRS to his bill. It makes much more sense to tax carbon emissions instead of income. (income is a good thing, carbon dioxide emissions are bad; a new sin tax!)

If a carbon tax were properly designed to incorporate "tax shifting", substituting a tax on carbon emissions for payroll tax, etc. and also used to further advance efficiency, conservation and alternative renewable energy, this be the quickest way to reduce GHG. I first encountered the idea of "tax shifting" in Lester Brown's Plan B. Good idea.

The only commnet that is at all sane is the suggestion to repeal the income tax, and substitute a carbon consumption tax. Since Income is good and CO2 is "bad".

What will we do when we find CO2 is very beneficial but not a source of but a inconsequential amount of the tiny amount of warming we experience?

Did you know there is 800 billion cu ft of forest today in North America when in 1950 there was only 600 billion cu ft. CO2 "fertilization" and longer growing seasons work wonders.

A carbon tax is the most effective means available to curtail our CO2 emissions and still have a private enterprise, free market economy. This obvious political gesture is aimed at creating an uproar rather than a postive contribution to emissions control.

A carbon tax should start out low and be relentless over the course of two decades or more so that industry and consumers have some adjustment time. The life of a new car is typically 15 years. The life of a new coal fired power plant is 50 years. The primary goal of a carbon tax should be to influence the procurement of captial goods.

A carbon tax is the most effective means available to curtail our CO2 emissions and still have a private enterprise, free market economy. This obvious political gesture is aimed at creating an uproar rather than a postive contribution to emissions control.

A carbon tax should start out low and be relentless over the course of two decades or more so that industry and consumers have some adjustment time. The life of a new car is typically 15 years. The life of a new coal fired power plant is 50 years. The primary goal of a carbon tax should be to influence the procurement of captial goods.

Stan Peterson,

What is your source on the volume of forest timber in 1950 and today? Is it possible that the forests were more depleted in 1950 because we had harvested for a century without replanting prior? The more revealing question is how much forrest wood volume was there in 1850 and 1900 compared to today?

Your data may be correct, but your attributed reason, "carbon fertilization," may be entirely wrong or insignificant.

Stan: I look up some information on our forests to check your assertion about increased wood volume due to higher CO2 and longer growing seasons and in fact wood volume has been increasing. For a comparison from 1953 to 1997 see fia.fs.fed.us/library/briefings-summaries-overviews/
docs/ForestFactsMetric.pdf

However, you cannot conclude that this is due to global warming. In the reference above, the USFS asserts that about 50% of forest land is in the west and volume of wood in the western forest was about the same in 1997 as it was in 1953 even though the harvest was much reduced.

The increases are most likely due to forest management practices e.g., in the south we have intensive yellow pine plantations instead of low producing climax forests forests and this paper also mentions that there were two spikes in tree planting from conservation programs in 1950 and 1980.

Further they say that the volume of wood in our forests was increasing but the rate was leveling off in the 90's. This does not correlate with increased CO2 and temperature.

It is wrong to suggest that our forests profit from warmer temperatures. More pests may survive in warmer winters. Dryer conditions may eliminate some species in marginal environments and there will be more forest fires.

Further, as the Jasper Ridge Global Change Project concludes, although increases in CO2 can increase productivity, the combined effects of global warming: co2, temperature, rainfall and nitrogen, can retard plant growth.

The idols and false notions which are now in possession of the human understanding, and have taken deep root therein, not only so beset men's minds that truth can hardly find entrance, but even after entrance is obtained, they will again in the very instauration of the sciences meet and trouble us, unless men being forewarned of the danger fortify themselves as far as may be against their assaults.

Forests here in BC are getting devastated by the pine beetle which is enjoying the warm weather.

I believe a carbon tax is a great idea! Its a better idea, really, than ruthlessly and mercilessly squeezing the auto industry on CAFE.

If we tax gasoline to the level of, let's say, 4 dollars a gallon pump price, every American will have a choice: Buy a smaller or more fuel-efficient car (i.e. the Prius), or modify our lifestyles so we don't have to drive as much. But the way things are now, we may end up with cars that can only go 45 miles an hour at most.

We must remember that it is not only CAFE that automakers have to contend with. Safety requirements are getting more stringent too. So between ever more severe CAFE and safety requirements, a trip from Detroit (where I live) to Chicago may take 11 hours, rather than only 6 or so like it does now. But how many politicians are going to level with the public regarding such realities?

With a tax on fossil fuel carbon, we have a variety of ways we can reduce its impact on our lives. We can car pool. We can live closer to where we work. We can drive a little slower (i.e. 60 miles per hour instead of 70). We can ride a bicycle when practical. Or, use public transit if available.

Collectively as society, we can switch to fuels with a lower carbon footprint, i.e. compressed natural gas or ethanol made from biomass. We can drop our silly opposition to nuclear energy, which has a much lower carbon footprint than coal. We can also of course, utilize solar energy as much as possible for a variety of energy needs (electricity, home heating).

Some folks want to pit solar energy (seen as good) against nuclear energy (BAAAD, the way too many people believe). Given our dependence on fossil fuels right now, there's plenty of room for both nuclear and solar power.

The problem with draconian CAFE increases is, it focuses solely on the automobile and solely on smaller cars. A tax on fossil fuel carbon will motivate us, as individuals and as society, to pursue a variety of measures as I outlined above to reduce fossil fuel carbon dioxide loading on our atmosphere.

Before I sign off, there is an issue we must bring out of the closet and into the open. Frankly I think the reason so many of us grasp the idea of global warming so eagerly, is because of already-existing hatred for the automobile and our way of life. I think some folks are pushing for draconian fuel economy and safey rules not only in spite of, but even BECAUSE doing so will regulate us out of our cars and out of our western way of life.

"This is how it works, tax the products that cause global warming."

We will expect significant tax revenue from solar activity cycles the next several years. Of course the volcanic emissions consortium will continue to pay their carbon tax as will the new growth forest service. With all this natural tax revenue the IRS can join other unnecessary government agencies and shut their doors.

There is very interesting article from DOE about US forests:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/gg97rpt/chap7.html

Take a look at the maps comparing wooded area in 1620, 1850, 1920, 1992, and see massive re-forestation going on in US for last 50 years. US forest service estimates that national inventory of stay timber increased whopping 30% from 1950s. DOE estimates that massive increase in forest surplus biomass (both standing and in root systems) offsets about 17% of CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels in US. About the same picture is for Canada, and Europe is growing back it forests too.

Warmer climate is quite minor factor in forest biomass increase, but air fertilization and consequent better water use efficiency derived from increase of atmospheric CO2 is very powerful factor:

http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/subject/f/forests.jsp

Neil:

Pine beetle is invasive specie originated from China; it is not possible to combat it with pesticides, and it is required couple of days of extremely cold weather (about -40C) to destroy it under tree bark. I bet we will have to learn to live with this menace, global warming notwithstanding. Just yesterday I drove east of Manning park, where forests were literally devastated in last years, and witnessed promising results from aggressive measures to combat this problem: terrain is once again green with patches of young leaf trees, newly planted firs, etc. Luckily for us, our coastal conifer species are not subjective to pine beetle.

I wish all these dead trees would be gasified to produce biofuels…

Andrey: I hear the little bastards are learning to live off of other species. I keep telling my son he should become an entomologist instead of a paleontologist. With the constant parade of nasty bugs (gypsy moth, pine beetle etc..) he'd be set for life. I can't help thinking that someone was working on a cellusosic process for the deadwood. Not sure why more effort isn't going into gasification. You know?

Neil:

Infested wood should be consumed on the spot, no transportation allowed to reduce spreading of the bug. Hence, there is only one solution: small scale mobile gasifier to convert wood into liquid fuel. Dynamotive (Vancouver) is working on it, but the progress is painfully slow… Meanwhile dead wood is drying, and hazard of catastrophic wild fires is growing.

P.S. UBC is world-class in biology, genetics, farma, and alike…


Andrey: That's where my wife got her microbiology degree. UBC good for research and graduate programs ... too bad it's a lousy place to do undergrad. I'll go look up Dynamotive.

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