Carbon Trading and Carbon Taxes: Just because or real solutions?BY DALE GERSTENSLAGER
It’s a common perception that we have a carbon problem here on earth. Most everyone nods there head in agreement when it comes to recognizing that we’ve got to do something and there is a need to reduce emissions. Air pollution is not a good thing; I left Cleveland, Ohio many years ago because of it.
Regardless of which side of the climate debate you fall on all but a few madmen agree that clean air is essential. But mad or not that’s where the agreement ends and the controversy begins on how best to reduce emissions and save the planet.
Where is all the carbon coming from? The combustion of fossil fuels of course, but that is the engine that has taken us to where we are today and continues to drive the economy of the world. So unless there is a massive return to subsistence farming we need practical solutions that will give us and future generations breathable air that won’t cripple the global economy any further than it already is.
One scenario, carbon trading has been presented by the same people that gave us energy trading (Enron) and Wall Street firms that were a part of the Subprime real estate debacle that the global economy has yet to recover from.
As I understand it, carbon trading involves setting caps on emissions, issuing credits that can be traded (by the above investment banks) and offsets that are issued by doing something such as planting a forest in Botswana to negate any carbon emitted.
Leave it to the financiers to figure an angle to bilk trillions from a problem. Criminals in Europe also thought it was worth a look and managed to steal about $62 million in these certificates, so some obviously see an opportunity in carbon.
In addition to Wall Street, Governments are suggesting what comes natural to them, levying taxes. Over on the other side of the pacific there is a movement in the USA to tax carbon emissions and the SOCA or Save Our Climate Act is being considered.
SOCA is not likely to get serious consideration until after the presidential election, but it is estimated that the proposed $10 dollar per ton of Co2 produced will generate 2.6 trillion dollars over ten years.
According to an article by Dan Watkins of McDermott Will Energy LLP the tax will be used to pay for the bureaucracy to run the program and set up a Clean Climate Trust fund. The article starts out by pushing the “Oceans” button talking about the most rapid acidification of the oceans in 300 million years.
Wow, that’s a long time! I don’t know about you but I’ll be sleeping a lot easier knowing another tax, federal bureaucracy and “fund” is put in place to save the planet for our children’s, children.
The reason we have the carbon problem is because somewhere, someone is profiting in one way or another from the burning fossil fuels.
Carbon is a commodity, why not treat it as such and make the reduction in carbon profitable in a tangible way, capture a ton of carbon and get compensated, not some financial scheme that benefits no one but investment bankers? If the tax is actually used in a logical way like that to create incentives for inventors, scientists and industry to come up with solutions that will be profitable then a tax may indeed be beneficial.
The next step would naturally occur as the carbon piles up and someone finds a way to turn it into something useable that could be profitable instead of pumping it into the ground for future generations to deal with.
We’ve come a long way since we first unleashed the energy stored in fossil fuels, but now is the time to invest some of the wealth that burning all that fuel has created to discover how we can continue to provide power for economic development while still reaping the benefits and assuring future generations that they too will be able to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.
One thing in the carbon debate is for certain, Mother Nature has built-in self-limiting mechanisms and if we cross the tipping point where they kick in the discussion and solution will be taken from our hands; carbon will come down and the air will clear and life will be better for those left to report the outcome!
Or will it?