31 May 2019

Carbon taxes

So both Ontario specifically and Canada generally are having a political controversy over carbon taxes.

I think this is unfortunate, as I do not personally support carbon taxes.

Carbon taxes -- emissions taxes generally! -- would have been an excellent policy in 1980 and a useful policy in 1990.  Today, it's utterly pointless; it assumes there's lots of time for a nice slow status-quo affirming industrial pivot of some kind to using fewer fossil carbon inputs.

That's not the situation we're in.  The situation we're in is that we need to zero out fossil carbon inputs and thus fossil carbon extraction by 2025.  (Well; 2000.  Earlier would have been better.) But 2025 is worth it for limiting-the-damage purposes.  The appropriate policy now is carbon rationing along that decreasing schedule to zero, backed up with whatever level of force is required to enforce compliance.

Yes, that has to go along with "decarbonize agriculture" and "decarbonize core transport" and a few other things.  The point is that we the emergency is now, we cannot avoid it, we don't have the option of not experiencing it, and the certainty of having a sufficient response is not a thing we can get.  Faffing around as though the status quo is durable or desirable isn't helpful in any way, in that sense any talk of carbon taxes is pure political kabuki.  What we need is a full industrial mobilization, tax rates set at "whatever it takes", and a very public approach to meeting the "decarbonize agriculture" and "cease fossil carbon use" by 2025 goals.

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