Poll

Do we need aggressive climate change policy?

Absolutely!
Maybe something modest.
No clue.
Not yet. Let's wait and see for a bit.
Nope. This will be resolved on it's own through economic forces / This isn't an issue for humanity..

Author Topic: US Climate Change Policy  (Read 10872 times)

nereo

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #400 on: March 13, 2019, 06:38:26 AM »

The Chinese are wise.  Oddly enough, I sometimes think that their centralized economy is trying to do more for it's people and environmental problems than our market driven capital economy.  They have done a lot to help their people in the last 30 years whilst the US has stagnated.

It looks like the Chinese do not see this as an either - or situation.  Their people have to wear masks because the air is so bad.  They are not pampered.  I remember seeing pictures of Chinese farming when I was a kid.  It was not mechanized.  Change and growth have been amazing.  They do not choose between the differing forms of energy production.  They try them all.  This "Cut and Try" approach is making them a world leader.

I'd be wary of false equivalence and selective reasoning here.  China "is trying to do more for it's... environmental problems" precisely because they have made their environment so bad over the last several decades.  That's why people have to wear masks in major cities. In the course of pursuing growth at all costs the government took the short term view, prioritizing increasing capacity in all its forms (electricity generation, transportation infrastructure, building and port expansion, military...).  To speed things along the authoritative government and its many contractors didn't require (or simply ignored) many of the same protections that are required and enforced here in the US and in Europe.  And the results were predictable - the air and water turned filthy, valleys were flooded and towns relocated in the name of 'the collective good', habitat destroyed, species endangered and now the equivalence of 'superfund sites' dot the landscape.

China today are addressing many of these problems... sort of.  There is a huge effort underway to clean up the air and water (particularly in the major cities), much as there was in the US in the 1970s, but the desire for growth still results in a lot of environmental degradation. In many ways they are starting to act like the rest of the G-20 with regards to environmental policy, but unlike with functional democracies there's nothing holding the government in check whenever they decided that 'X' needs to be built, damn the consequences.  Which is why even today China can tout the massive steps they have taken to reduce emission growth and their investment in renewables, yet at the same time even today the central government turns a blind eye when factories discharge heavy metals into rivers or allow new coal plants to be built without the basic scrubbers we require, ...because 'growth' and 'necessity'. Ironically this internal tension has made modern-day China into both a global leader for renewables and a global leader in coal consumption.

ll these regulatory steps we all hate when trying to build something sensible also serve as guard rails to protect us from the more detrimental projects proceeding.  I'm all for streamlining the process and changing the numerous laws that have not panned out as intended, but circumventing those laws entirely even if the intent is to help the climate puts us on very dangerous ground.


Instead of arguing whether global warming is a reality or not, our leaders should be turning our young minds loose to solve this problem.  Like the Space Program of the past, there would be technological spinoffs we cannot imagine.  There would be new technologies discovered to make our lives better. 

Instead we stagnate.  As the great American John Glenn once said, "We are eating our own seed corn."
I agree.  We ought to be investing more - a lot more. Instead we have a WH that "digs coal" and wants to spend billions more to build concrete barriers along our southern border. Interesting tie-in; both the concrete used for the wall and the habitat fragmentation it will cause are big negatives for those fragile ecosystems (not to mention all the energy expended for heavy equipment and road construction).

To me it seems like we could devote a small fraction of our resources to at least build one of these new reactor types, but the special interests do not even allow that.

I'm not clear who you mean when you say "special interests".  Environmental groups use the law to prevent what they see as detrimental against big polluters and proposed nuclear sites alike. Still, these obstacles can be overcome. A bigger problem IMO is the massive amount of capitol needed upfront to construct reactors - $10B or more for a new plant.

LennStar

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #401 on: March 15, 2019, 12:35:37 PM »
Oddly enough, I sometimes think that their centralized economy is trying to do more for it's people and environmental problems than our market driven capital economy.

Why odd? This is, after all, what socialism is all about - doing good for the people.

btw. "Centralized Economy". There is a huge misunderstood fact of life here. Like it is impossible to do it on a state level size.
Putting China aside, there are a dozen entities on earth with a higher GDP than the former USSR, all highly centralized planned "economies". They are called Apple, Google, Microsoft and so on.


Quote
China "is trying to do more for it's... environmental problems" precisely because they have made their environment so bad over the last several decades.  That's why people have to wear masks in major cities.

Yeah. It was wealth first. The very first, right after the leadership of The Party, of course. ;) And the reason for wealth first was because that is the only way The Party could keep it's power. There is no country in the world where farmer's revolts happened more often. At one time in history there were 100+ uprisings per day over several years. And of course there was Mao...
You cannot understand Chinese economic politics without this in mind.

But saying it just this way is too one sided again. It is like saying the USA is full of Trumps. It might look so, but in a lot of cases it is not.

I could say a lot against the politics of the Chinese in regards to human rights, but generally they know what they are doing. And foremost, they have a Plan. With capital P. Where the US thinks in presidential terms, the Chinese government is thinking in several decades.
Most people in the USA have still not realized this, but by 2050 you will no longer be the most important country in the world - if everything happens according to the Plan of course ;) 
The Chinese are right at the point of taking over Africa. And central Asia with the new Silk Road. They are even building military bases, something extremely unusual for the center of the world (as per historical view). 

And yes, they are heavy into regenerative energies. They may build a few nuclear plants, but they also build more PV and wind than the rest of the world together if I remember it correctly.
There current stance since a few years is to go from the "workbench of the world" to be the "producer of the world", and they do go against pollution - depending on importance and political climate and such factors, of course.

The Chinese government is sometimes several years too slow, but if there is one thing you cannot say about them is that they do half-measures. One child politics anyone? That was part of the wealth plan. Economic growth must be (a lot) higher than population growth to keep stability. It is a bet on the economy outpacing the aging process. A huge bet. We will see who wins in 50 years.


pecunia

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #402 on: March 15, 2019, 01:42:15 PM »
LennStar - No arguments.  Two billion educated people seeing the fruits of their hard work and looking to the future.  I do not believe they are like some other countries which appear to be rudderless in many areas.

I expect some great innovation to come from China in the next few years.

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #403 on: March 17, 2019, 07:29:54 PM »
Putting China aside, there are a dozen entities on earth with a higher GDP than the former USSR, all highly centralized planned "economies". They are called Apple, Google, Microsoft and so on.
Russian GDP: $1.6T (nominal)
Highest revenue companies #1 Walmart - $500B (Google and Microsoft are not even in the top 50 in that list)

Population of Russia: 147M
Area of Russia: 6.6M square miles

"Population" of Walmart: 2.3M
Area of Walmart: 400 square miles (assuming 20 acres per store, 12K stores incl. Sams' Club, +fudge for distribution centers)

LennStar

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #404 on: March 18, 2019, 08:50:27 AM »
Russian GDP: $1.6T (nominal)
I was talking about the former USSR, 30 years ago ;)
And yes, It was not a "mathematical" comparison. It was to say that a "planned economy" is workable on big scale today, and is done. A side note not fully on topic ;)

A more or less chaotic free market or the free market with Chinese Characteristics - if you ask me, which one will be more effective for fighting climate change, I would guess the latter. I will be happy if the US beats that, of course :D

nereo

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #405 on: March 18, 2019, 08:52:57 AM »
Russian GDP: $1.6T (nominal)
I was talking about the former USSR, 30 years ago ;)
And yes, It was not a "mathematical" comparison. It was to say that a "planned economy" is workable on big scale today, and is done. A side note not fully on topic ;)

A more or less chaotic free market or the free market with Chinese Characteristics - if you ask me, which one will be more effective for fighting climate change, I would guess the latter. I will be happy if the US beats that, of course :D

Perhaps I missed it, but I don't really understand the comparison here between sovereign nations and corporations.  They are fundamentally different entities, regardless of their financial size.

ncornilsen

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #406 on: March 18, 2019, 11:35:19 AM »
Russian GDP: $1.6T (nominal)
I was talking about the former USSR, 30 years ago ;)
And yes, It was not a "mathematical" comparison. It was to say that a "planned economy" is workable on big scale today, and is done. A side note not fully on topic ;)

A more or less chaotic free market or the free market with Chinese Characteristics - if you ask me, which one will be more effective for fighting climate change, I would guess the latter. I will be happy if the US beats that, of course :D

Perhaps I missed it, but I don't really understand the comparison here between sovereign nations and corporations.  They are fundamentally different entities, regardless of their financial size.

The comparison is to show that 'planned economies' can work, despite all the times they have failed, the millions of people who have died, and the generations of misery planned economies have created, and all the other evidence to the contrary.

LennStar

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #407 on: March 18, 2019, 11:47:44 AM »
Quote
... nations and corporations. They are fundamentally different entities, regardless of their financial size.

But they both work (or can work) on a heavily structured and planned

The comparison is to show that 'planned economies' can work, despite all the times they have failed, the millions of people who have died, and the generations of misery planned economies have created, and all the other evidence to the contrary.
No, the comparisn is to show that what most people, like you so aptly exampled, think is a planned economy is only one example of different forms.
And also you are mixing in other things. No planned economy has ever killed millions of people - if you exclude the very thoroughly planned Holocaust or e.g. the US military, which as far as I know has a lot of top-down planning and commandering.

But anyway, as I wrote, it was just a sidenote.

So back to topic:
For those people that say it is too expensive to "go green" (which, in reality, is the opposite, it is just that as in any investment you pay now and get the benefits later), here is a possible source to finance it.
http://wealthtaxsimulator.org/

nereo

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #408 on: March 18, 2019, 12:03:33 PM »
Quote
... nations and corporations. They are fundamentally different entities, regardless of their financial size.

But they both work (or can work) on a heavily structured and planned

The comparison is to show that 'planned economies' can work, despite all the times they have failed, the millions of people who have died, and the generations of misery planned economies have created, and all the other evidence to the contrary.
No, the comparisn is to show that what most people, like you so aptly exampled, think is a planned economy is only one example of different forms.
And also you are mixing in other things. No planned economy has ever killed millions of people - if you exclude the very thoroughly planned Holocaust or e.g. the US military, which as far as I know has a lot of top-down planning and commandering.

...I'm even less clear about what point was being made now.

Quote
... nations and corporations. They are fundamentally different entities, regardless of their financial size.

But they both work (or can work) on a heavily structured and planned


So back to topic:
For those people that say it is too expensive to "go green" (which, in reality, is the opposite, it is just that as in any investment you pay now and get the benefits later), here is a possible source to finance it.
http://wealthtaxsimulator.org/

Assuming something like Sen Warren's 'Wealth Tax' could be passed, how do you envision the revenue should be used, particularly since the amount projected to be raised is substantially less than the current US deficit?

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #409 on: March 18, 2019, 05:30:58 PM »
Quote
... nations and corporations. They are fundamentally different entities, regardless of their financial size.

But they both work (or can work) on a heavily structured and planned

The comparison is to show that 'planned economies' can work, despite all the times they have failed, the millions of people who have died, and the generations of misery planned economies have created, and all the other evidence to the contrary.
No, the comparisn is to show that what most people, like you so aptly exampled, think is a planned economy is only one example of different forms.
And also you are mixing in other things. No planned economy has ever killed millions of people - if you exclude the very thoroughly planned Holocaust or e.g. the US military, which as far as I know has a lot of top-down planning and commandering.
Sorry I am staying off topic but only the very largest corporation (Walmart) is even on the scale of a country like Singapore on any of the metrics I cited (revenue, population, land area). Companies are better compared to small municipalities than to empires or nation-states in their scope and power.

Regarding your comment "No planned economy has ever killed millions of people" are we not counting the Holodomor or the Great Chinese Famine?

LennStar

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #410 on: Today at 12:50:39 AM »
Regarding your comment "No planned economy has ever killed millions of people" are we not counting the Holodomor or the Great Chinese Famine?
I can't say about the first, but it seems strange that the planned economy killed millions there but not in the other countries where the same happened, right?
And the Great Chinese Famine was not a planned economy failure, but a failure of understanding nature. Maybe even ignoring existing knowledge, but that also happens today on a wide scale in certainly not planned economy states. Bees anyone? Climate Change?

For those who don't know: The Chinese Famine was caused by people hunting sparrows who were seen as seed-thives.
That was correct, but way more than eating seeds, sparrows eat locusts.
No sparrows left lead to immense swarms of locusts, which destroyed the crops completely.

MDM

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #411 on: Today at 01:35:39 AM »
For those who don't know: The Chinese Famine was caused by people hunting sparrows who were seen as seed-thives.
A perusal of articles found by Great Chinese Famine - Google Search indicates the sparrow action was at best a minor contribution, with other factors much more significant.

LennStar

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #412 on: Today at 06:02:54 AM »
For those who don't know: The Chinese Famine was caused by people hunting sparrows who were seen as seed-thives.
A perusal of articles found by Great Chinese Famine - Google Search indicates the sparrow action was at best a minor contribution, with other factors much more significant.
Of course there was bad weather (2/3 of fields didn't get any rain) und such stuff, like the ignorance of science when planting. And the actions of the Great Leap etc. did their own part.
But the locusts still did huge damage to that that was left, and it was the people's stupidiness that caused that. And that is what we are talking about, right? Climate Policy.

nereo

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #413 on: Today at 07:33:29 AM »
For those who don't know: The Chinese Famine was caused by people hunting sparrows who were seen as seed-thives.
A perusal of articles found by Great Chinese Famine - Google Search indicates the sparrow action was at best a minor contribution, with other factors much more significant.
Of course there was bad weather (2/3 of fields didn't get any rain) und such stuff, like the ignorance of science when planting. And the actions of the Great Leap etc. did their own part.
But the locusts still did huge damage to that that was left, and it was the people's stupidiness that caused that. And that is what we are talking about, right? Climate Policy.

Except in the 1950s there was no cohesive understanding of anthropogenic climate change, and no comprehensive data to draw from suggesting that our impacts would accelerate. This was when plate tectonics was still an unverified and poorly circulated hypothesis.

ncornilsen

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #414 on: Today at 08:07:16 AM »
For those who don't know: The Chinese Famine was caused by people hunting sparrows who were seen as seed-thives.
A perusal of articles found by Great Chinese Famine - Google Search indicates the sparrow action was at best a minor contribution, with other factors much more significant.
Of course there was bad weather (2/3 of fields didn't get any rain) und such stuff, like the ignorance of science when planting. And the actions of the Great Leap etc. did their own part.
But the locusts still did huge damage to that that was left, and it was the people's stupidiness that caused that. And that is what we are talking about, right? Climate Policy.

Except in the 1950s there was no cohesive understanding of anthropogenic climate change, and no comprehensive data to draw from suggesting that our impacts would accelerate. This was when plate tectonics was still an unverified and poorly circulated hypothesis.

And that's why command/planned economies are doomed to fail. We're always learning things, and finding that our previous theories were wrong and even counter productive. Huge government bureaucracies aren't known for their excellent reaction times - and god help us if the existence of a bureaucracy is dependent on a flawed theory!

I'm inclined to think that our current climate theory is close to reality... there may be some variance in the time frame or magnitude, but that as a whole it's accurate.  I do NOT support the creation or conversion to collectivist economic theory to combat climate change, which seems to be what the fringe left that controls the media and house of representative's narrative wants.  I would be in support of a revenue neutral cap and trade scheme with ever decreasing cap levels and increasing cost of carbon. Then let the free market do it's thing. 

MDM

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #415 on: Today at 09:55:56 AM »
For those who don't know: The Chinese Famine was caused by people hunting sparrows who were seen as seed-thives.
A perusal of articles found by Great Chinese Famine - Google Search indicates the sparrow action was at best a minor contribution, with other factors much more significant.
Of course there was bad weather (2/3 of fields didn't get any rain) und such stuff, like the ignorance of science when planting. And the actions of the Great Leap etc. did their own part.
But the locusts still did huge damage to that that was left, and it was the people's stupidiness that caused that. And that is what we are talking about, right? Climate Policy.
Yes, that is the thread's title. 

It is apparently difficult to look back at something that has already happened (the Chinese Famine) and distinguish "the" cause from "a" cause and its importance relative to other causes.  The difficulty in distinguishing does not diminish when one is looking ahead at things yet to come.

Glenstache

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #416 on: Today at 10:40:38 AM »
For those who don't know: The Chinese Famine was caused by people hunting sparrows who were seen as seed-thives.
A perusal of articles found by Great Chinese Famine - Google Search indicates the sparrow action was at best a minor contribution, with other factors much more significant.
Of course there was bad weather (2/3 of fields didn't get any rain) und such stuff, like the ignorance of science when planting. And the actions of the Great Leap etc. did their own part.
But the locusts still did huge damage to that that was left, and it was the people's stupidiness that caused that. And that is what we are talking about, right? Climate Policy.

Except in the 1950s there was no cohesive understanding of anthropogenic climate change, and no comprehensive data to draw from suggesting that our impacts would accelerate. This was when plate tectonics was still an unverified and poorly circulated hypothesis.

And that's why command/planned economies are doomed to fail. We're always learning things, and finding that our previous theories were wrong and even counter productive. Huge government bureaucracies aren't known for their excellent reaction times - and god help us if the existence of a bureaucracy is dependent on a flawed theory!

I'm inclined to think that our current climate theory is close to reality... there may be some variance in the time frame or magnitude, but that as a whole it's accurate.  I do NOT support the creation or conversion to collectivist economic theory to combat climate change, which seems to be what the fringe left that controls the media and house of representative's narrative wants.  I would be in support of a revenue neutral cap and trade scheme with ever decreasing cap levels and increasing cost of carbon. Then let the free market do it's thing.

I don't think the major players are suggesting a communist-level planned economy. I think that there is a lot to be gained from leveraging market forces to encourage both changes in use patterns and encouraging innovation. This will, to some extent, mean government picking categories of winners and losers. It will mean, in practical terms, increasing the cost of CO2e emitting industries and their products and subsidizing renewable and low-emission technologies and funding R&D aggressively. This is doable, but there are many that do not want that to happen because they are happy and invested in how things are now. I think we should be clear eyed that there will be individuals that will be hurt by changes, just as there will be by most major policies. I think the responsible thing is to do what we can to soften that blow as possible for those who have fewer resources to adapt.

LennStar

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #417 on: Today at 01:05:15 PM »
I would be in support of a revenue neutral cap and trade scheme with ever decreasing cap levels and increasing cost of carbon. Then let the free market do it's thing.

You mean the Carbon Trading that has been a failure for a decade now?
and btw. that is a real bureocratic monster.

nereo

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #418 on: Today at 01:06:41 PM »

I don't think the major players are suggesting a communist-level planned economy. I think that there is a lot to be gained from leveraging market forces to encourage both changes in use patterns and encouraging innovation. This will, to some extent, mean government picking categories of winners and losers. It will mean, in practical terms, increasing the cost of CO2e emitting industries and their products and subsidizing renewable and low-emission technologies and funding R&D aggressively. This is doable, but there are many that do not want that to happen because they are happy and invested in how things are now. I think we should be clear eyed that there will be individuals that will be hurt by changes, just as there will be by most major policies. I think the responsible thing is to do what we can to soften that blow as possible for those who have fewer resources to adapt.

I don't see how this is substantially different from what governments around the world have been doing for centuries, albeit not with climate as a dominant factor in the decision-making process. 'Market forces' are already leveraged to produce outcomes from everything from growth to high home-ownership to westward expansion.

sol

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #419 on: Today at 01:22:49 PM »
You mean the Carbon Trading that has been a failure for a decade now?

He probably means one of the various carbon pricing schemes that have failed to win majority votes anywhere in the US, but which have successfully worked in places like British Columbia.  Washington just voted against one back in November, after a huge amount of oil industry spending trying to frame it as an "energy tax".  It's bureaucratically easy though, you tax carbon-producing industries at the corporate level and then you issue tax refunds to every citizen.  Average carbon consumers pay more for gas but get a bigger tax refund to make up for it.  For efficient carbon users, they get to keep the profits they generate by spending more on efficiencies.  For people who really want to burn extra carbon for some reason, they still can as long as they pay for harm they cause to the rest of us.

What makes less sense to me, objectively, is our current carbon subsidy system where we all pay higher taxes in order to subsidize carbon burning industries to bring down the up-front cost of burning it.  That's effectively wealth redistribution from efficient people to polluters, which seems backwards to me.

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #420 on: Today at 01:43:36 PM »

I don't think the major players are suggesting a communist-level planned economy. I think that there is a lot to be gained from leveraging market forces to encourage both changes in use patterns and encouraging innovation. This will, to some extent, mean government picking categories of winners and losers. It will mean, in practical terms, increasing the cost of CO2e emitting industries and their products and subsidizing renewable and low-emission technologies and funding R&D aggressively. This is doable, but there are many that do not want that to happen because they are happy and invested in how things are now. I think we should be clear eyed that there will be individuals that will be hurt by changes, just as there will be by most major policies. I think the responsible thing is to do what we can to soften that blow as possible for those who have fewer resources to adapt.

I don't see how this is substantially different from what governments around the world have been doing for centuries, albeit not with climate as a dominant factor in the decision-making process. 'Market forces' are already leveraged to produce outcomes from everything from growth to high home-ownership to westward expansion.
Yep.

robartsd

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #421 on: Today at 01:56:06 PM »
I'd like to see a carbon tax. I'd want the tax to be revenue neutral (California's goes to residential energy customers; I'd rather it went to individuals) and fair trade (carbon tariff on imports accounting for their manufacture and transport). Require government entities and non-profits to pay the carbon tax (no exceptions). Easiest way to implement would be as a fossil fuel tax with credits for sequestering. Set the initial tax rate and emissions targets in the law - use a formula to periodically adjust the tax rate according to emissions levels relative to targets (increase predictability of costs).

Boofinator

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Re: US Climate Change Policy
« Reply #422 on: Today at 03:24:20 PM »
I'd like to see a carbon tax. I'd want the tax to be revenue neutral (California's goes to residential energy customers; I'd rather it went to individuals) and fair trade (carbon tariff on imports accounting for their manufacture and transport). Require government entities and non-profits to pay the carbon tax (no exceptions). Easiest way to implement would be as a fossil fuel tax with credits for sequestering. Set the initial tax rate and emissions targets in the law - use a formula to periodically adjust the tax rate according to emissions levels relative to targets (increase predictability of costs).

I agree, though the hard parts are 1) convincing the voting public that there is not an associated degradation in quality of life with said taxes and 2) convincing the public that the real economic hardships that will result (due to the resulting higher prices for domestic goods and associated negative trade balances and unemployment) are not a substantial price to pay. I think #1 can be solved by emphasizing the dividend checks and the resulting economic stimulus (the worst polluters will complain excessively, but the majority should be neutral or better off), and #2 should have a minimal effect due to labor already being the highest cost marker for domestic goods.