Friday, September 11, 2009

France pwns America

This is a game changer: France is going to impose a carbon tax. The money derived from that tax will be then redistributed to households in the form of a green check. Thus, the tax is revenue neutral; it will simply shift incentives away from carbon emission.

This should be a political winner in the USA. Democrats should support a carbon tax because it would obviously result in lower CO2 emissions and reduce global warming. Republicans should support a carbon tax because it would shift petroleum consumption revenues away from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela. Furthermore, if the tax was revenue neutral like the French are doing, the Republicans would have no concerns that this is additional taxation and growth in government.

For anyone who has ever been to Europe: have you noticed how small the cars are? How much better the public transit is? There is a reason for that. The Europeans have had higher taxes on gasoline than America for years. Hence, we drive enormous SUVs and the Europeans do their thing. It is now we who are beholden to the oil production of countries who hate us.

Unfortunately, a carbon tax was never even on the table. Instead we have this ridiculous cap-and-trade bill. The goal was to be similar to a carbon tax, requiring polluters to purchase permits to emit certain amounts of CO2. Unfortunately, by the time congress was done with the bill, those permits were given away to the major CO2 polluters, instead of auctioned like they were supposed to be.

Meanwhile, the French, who get 70% of their electricity from nuclear power plants and have now imposed a carbon tax, are on course to be orders of magnitude more energy independent than the United States. And their air will be cleaner, to boot.

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