Underestimating the Costs

No, today's post is not on health care, but CO2 abatement.  Marlo Lewis looks at a new Harvard study, and concludes what I have been saying for years -- gas prices are going to have to be forced to $10 or more in this country before we even start making a dent in the Administrations or UN's CO2 abatement targets.   I obviously don't think it is justified based on my views on the climate sensitivity to CO2, but even if it were, let's not pretend it is somehow free.

  • dearieme

    Suppose that a Federal Tax were imposed to bring that about. How many other taxes could be scrapped? Would you need a Federal income tax? Could you scrap the payments towards Social Security, or at least the Employers' contributions?

  • sch

    Unintended consequences here abound. Value of a car would decrease, as it would become too expensive for a huge percentage
    of the population to operate. Similarly new car sales would drop by a significant but uncertain percentage for the same
    reason. Amount of gasoline used would diminish significantly, reducing the income from the tax. Travel vacations would
    evaporate. Homes, industries away from population centers would lose value for the same reason. Vacation homes would
    drop in value, and the market for same evaporate. Airline travel would become a luxury, used by government employees and
    a much smaller percentage of business travelers. Trans/intercontinental travel for pleasure will shrink. I visited the
    Cherohala parkway two yrs ago when gas prices were in the $3.50 range and the # of cars and motorcycles out was respectively
    about 20 and 30% of traffic on my prior visit 9 yrs previously. RVs would disappear almost completely, cheap housing
    a likely destination.

  • eCurmudgeon

    Unintended consequences here abound. Value of a car would decrease, as it would become too expensive for a huge percentage of the population to operate. Similarly new car sales would drop by a significant but uncertain percentage for the same reason. Amount of gasoline used would diminish significantly, reducing the income from the tax. Travel vacations would evaporate. Homes, industries away from population centers would lose value for the same reason. Vacation homes would
    drop in value, and the market for same evaporate. Airline travel would become a luxury, used by government employees and a much smaller percentage of business travelers. Trans/intercontinental travel for pleasure will shrink.

    Hardly "unintended". If anything, that's been the greenies' agenda for years...

  • Allen

    What are the chances that anything like this would get through the political process without some big loophole? I can see something like that happening and people moving toward electric cars. And the reason they'd get by with the then less expensive electricity is that that they'd use the nameplate ratings for the wind turbines to claim that electricity is coming from them and not subject to the CO2 charges (even though 85% of that juice would actually be coming from natural gas).

  • yreg

    if the Europeans were serious about CO2 reducing, they would remove the taxes on fuel in Europe.
    World demand for petrol would go up, the world price for oil follows.

    Consequently, the US would have to pay the market price for fuel without the European subsidy, which price would be significantly higher than now, and the world transport sector would be using petrol much more efficiently (much less waste in the US and a little bit more waste in Europe, at least initially).

    Then there would be a real market. Without force.

    On a side note, I don't understand your economic problem with a 10$ price for petrol.
    Europeans can afford petrol at 8$ today. Americans are much more wealthy. By consequence, they must be able to afford 10$ petrol without any problem.

  • TC

    French government backs down on carbon tax plan

    The French government has signalled that it is dropping a plan for a tax on domestic carbon dioxide emissions.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8583898.stm

    (spell checker courtesy of BBC news room).