On clobbering motorists: the devil in the details of “polluter pays”

Making drivers pay more for fuel will not create a good bus service. Continue reading


OECD’s bad news on carbon tax is hopelessly optimistic

Layers of bad news: OECD says carbon pricing is far too low to fight global warming – an 80% shortfall! But peel back the layers and the story is much worse. The cost of carbon they use for that calculation is seriously low-balled, so the real shortfall should be much higher. And then, deep in the OECD report, we learn that the benefits of motor fuel tax are double-counted – it seems we already needed that money to pay for costs of traffic congestion, local air pollution, and people run over by cars, so there’s little, if anything, left for carbon pollution. Then, following up the OECD’s sources for that double-counting calculation we see that this, too, is understated – it completely ignores the multiplier effects of driving & damage from chasing pedestrians and cyclists off the road. And, finally, if we pay for all that environmental damage with fuel tax, who pays for the roads themselves?

The carbon pricing report is undoubtedly put together by people with a great concern about global warming and effective climate policy, and they’re delivering some bad news. Yet it is hard not to see it as an example of what Kevin Anderson (@kevinclimate) has described: that most of the policy and advocacy and even the science of climate change is presented in colossally over-optimistic scenarios. Let’s peel back the layers to see how that works. Continue reading

Hansen: even 2 degrees sinks coastal cities

Politicians in Paris will try, if that’s not too kind a word, to find an agreement that will hold down temperature increases to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels [+2C].

Still too much, says James Hansen, of NASA (retired) and Columbia University, who has been warning us about this since 1981 or so:

• The last time Earth was +2C, 120,000 years ago, sea levels were 6-8 meters higher than today. 2 degrees would lock that in, the only question being how fast we would get there.
Hansen88Temps Continue reading

Clean energy jobs in US grow despite dis-incentives

The growth is reported by Climate Progress, picking up a report from the San Antonio Business Journal, whose reporter consulted the actual report by Environmental Entrepreneurs. This happens despite continuing (rising!), huge, subsidies for fossil fuel use and production, and for energy gobbling urban sprawl. Dare we imagine what clean energy growth might be if those subsidies were yanked, and a revenue-neutral (offset by payroll tax reductions, perhaps) carbon tax put in place?

Karl Marx is dead, really??

Robert Waldman says Theda Scocpal says Marx is dead, on the grounds that the US Republican party didn’t follow big business’s support for [carbon] Cap and Trade legislation in 2007. His post is both interesting and short, so I’ll reproduce it in full:

BP stands first for Brian Plumer then for British Petroleum — I’m pretty sure DuPont is the firm and not Pierre “Pete”. TS is Theda Scocpal. When I knew her (OK when I took freshman physics from her husband Bill) she was one of the few Marxists at Harvard (I think the only one in the Sociology department).

BP: So around 2007, Republicans were becoming more skeptical of climate policy. Yet the main climate strategy in D.C. was to craft a complex cap-and-trade bill amenable to businesses like BP and DuPont in the hopes that those companies would bring in Republican votes.
Continue reading