A Proposal For Better Management of the (Soon to Be) California Climate Slush Fund

California is about to implement a new climate tax via a cap and trade system, where revenues from the tax are supposed to be dedicated to carbon reduction projects.  Forget for a moment all my concerns with climate dangers being overhyped, or the practical problems (read cronyism) inherent in a cap-and-trade system vs. a straight carbon tax.  There is one improvement California can and should make to this system.

Anyone who can remember the history of the tobacco settlement will know that the theory of that settlement was that the funds were needed to pay for additional medical expenses driven by smoking.  Well, about zero of these funds actually went to health care or even to smoking reduction programs  (smoking reduction programs turn out to be fiscally irresponsible for states, since they lead to reduced tax revenues from tobacco taxes).  These funds just became a general slush fund for legislators.   Some states (New York among them, if I remember correctly), spent the entire 20 year windfall in one year to close budget gaps.

If California is serious that these new taxes on energy should go to carbon reduction programs, then these programs need to be scored by a neutral body as to their cost per ton of CO2 reduction.  I may think the program misguided, but given that it exists, it might as well be run in a scientific manner, right?  I would really prefer that there be a legislated hurdle rate, e.g. all programs must have a cost per ton reduction of $45 of less -- or whatever.  But even publishing scores in a transparent way would help.

This would, for example, likely highlight what a terrible investment this would be in reducing CO2.

 

  • skhpcola

    it might as well be run in a scientific manner

    The beginning premise is faulty. Carbon in the atmosphere is not poison, nor a problem. CO2 levels increase hundreds of years after the atmosphere warms, which means that an increase in temperature may increase atmospheric carbon.

    Shilling for a carbon tax over a cap-and-trade scheme is advocating for one theft over another. Neither will affect climate change or ameliorate any of the supposed consequences of carbon in the air. But, since you are grasping at straws, why not shill for immigration reform in the form of kicking out all of the illegals squatting in the US and producing vastly more carbon here than they would if they remained in their dysfunctional shithole home countries? That should be a program that you could get behind.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "A Proposal For Better Management of the (Soon to Be) California Climate Slush Fund"

    That will never fly. The whole point to a slush fund is to have a pool of money that can be used for whatever with zero accountability.

  • sch

    If my stoichiometry is ballpark, about 113 gallons of 10% ethanol gasoline burned completely produces a ton of CO2. The euro carbon tax is in the $12-25 range past few years
    but less on jet fuel than other fuels resulting in $0.15-0.25 increased cost per gallon. Ozzies are closer to $0.25/gallon. Moderate bump in gasoline price even in Kali, much less
    in Europe.

  • Canvasback

    No need for a slush fund. He's already writing IOUs against the revenue from the cap-and-trade market. I can guarantee we'll never see that money again.

    Here's a note from sfpublicpress.org:

    Environmental and community groups are looking for ways to replace the $500 million
    for energy conservation, transportation and other green programs that
    Gov. Jerry Brown persuaded the Legislature in mid-June to borrow to
    balance the state budget. - See more at:
    http://sfpublicpress.org/news/2013-06/governors-raid-on-greenhouse-gas-pollution-fund-sets-back-environmental-groups#sthash.otC2T3ZE.dpuf

  • herdgadfly

    "This would, for example, likely highlight what a terrible investment this would be in reducing CO2."

    Any investment in the super train to nowhere is a bad investment - as is any investment intended to reduce CO2. CO2 is necessary for life an is therefore not a danger to the climate. God's Earth has all the safeguards built in to react to change but change is not excluded from His plan. Solar activity seems to be the best explanation and measure of climate change and the atmospheric changes caused have now been scientifically explained and even reproduced by CERN.

  • bigmaq1980

    "where revenues from the (climate) tax are supposed to be dedicated to carbon reduction projects"..."about zero of these (tobacco settlement) funds actually went to health care or even to smoking reduction programs"

    At what point can we call these people liars? Beforehand, because the outcome is so obvious, or after they are proven so.

    Not much different than the big lie about Social Security "funds".