Monday, May 10, 2010

Room for lies

The New York Times found space on its server drives for a few paragraphs of Myron Ebell:
The chance that the Senate will pass a comprehensive energy-rationing (a k a climate) bill this year remains close to zero. BP’s big oil spill in the Gulf changes very little.
You wish!

After outlining the recent sorry tale about America's dysfunctional governance in the face of an existential challenge, Mr Cambridge University Tie concludes:
Call it whatever you want, it’s still a tax that consumers will have to pay... What’s become increasingly apparent is that this legislation no longer has much to do with reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a monstrous collection of payoffs to big business special interests, ranging from Goldman Sachs to Duke Energy to General Electric.
Nobody likes Goldman Sachs. And nobody gave them as much money as the George W Bush administration through the TARP bail-out. But that didn't concern Myron Ebell one bit, because it was money badly spent.

This whole Cap-and-Trade thing is a red herring. It's an over-complex system that's designed to appeal to all those "Free-market" bozos like Myron and his friends by selling off property shares in the atmosphere in the hope that they'll stop treating it like a toilet. Isn't that what they always claim? Tragedy of the commons and all that? Funny how these narratives don't apply when it's their pals in Exxon who are plundering the commons. On no.

But instead Myron has been banging on about this Cap-and-Trade system -- a gift to guys with an ideology such as his -- being a tax. Well, what gives? Maybe we should just do it the obvious way, and call it a tax. It's a tax to clean up the oil spills. Doesn't matter what it's for, as long as the price of oil rises to a level that is actually representative of its costs.

I've found that even Exxon agrees with me:
One policy option that is intended to reduce emissions — and which has received much attention — is a cap-and-trade system. Before we rush to enact such a system, we must ask whether it can best achieve our shared goal of actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Cap-and-trade systems inevitably introduce unnecessary cost and complexity that undercut their effectiveness. It is important to remember that a cap-and-trade system requires a new market infrastructure for traders to trade emissions allowances. This new "Wall Street" of emissions brokers will take the emphasis away from the goal of reducing carbon emissions and focus on trading on price volatility instead.

There is another policy option that should be considered, and that is a carbon tax. A carbon tax avoids the costs and complexity of having to build a new market for securities traders or the necessity of adding a new layer of regulators and administrators to police companies and consumers. And a carbon tax can be more easily implemented. It could be levied under the current tax code without requiring significant new infrastructure or enforcement bureaucracies. A carbon tax is also the most efficient means of reflecting the cost of carbon in all economic decisions — from investments made by companies to meet their fuel needs to the product choices made by consumers. In addition, such a tax should be made revenue neutral. There should be reductions or changes to other taxes — such as income or excise taxes — to offset the impacts of the carbon tax on the economy.

Finally, there is another potential advantage to the direct-tax, market-cost approach. A carbon tax may be better suited for setting a uniform standard to hold all nations accountable. Given the global nature of the challenge, and the fact that economic growth in developing economies will account for a significant portion of future greenhouse gas emissions increases, policy options must encourage and support global engagement."
So what are we waiting for, eh?

Hey, Rex, what about putting aside a few thousands to hire a PR agent to take out Myron Ebell once and for all. Your company supported and paid him into existence. It's your duty to get rid of him and make sure he never appears in the New York Times, on the TV or anywhere from now on. It's lonely trying to hold out against him on my own all these years, you know.


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