An Inconvenient Reduction


Wall Street Journal – December 3, 2007

I am not a big believer in taxes. I do think that the government needs funds to operate and therefore has the right obligation to tax its citizens for services rendered. I also understand that, just like all costs, the act of taxing can be a deterrent to activity. Taxing “sin” activity such as tobacco and alcohol is simply good policy. If it was possible to tax overly fatty food, I would probably be in favor of that as well.

Based on this logic, it make sense to tax certain activity that adds pollution to the atmosphere. I question the logic of taxing automobiles but I do think that taxes on fossil fuels make a certain amount of sense as a revenue source and an activity deterrent. (Follow the feed link to read the rest of the story).

What I really don’t like it is caps and carbon trading. This just seems to be anti-capitalistic. Some may not like the mantra that “profit is good” but it is the foundation of the strongest economy (the U.S.) that the world has ever seen and we need to make sure that we don’t kill the golden goose.

It is interesting that the Kyoto treaty that the U.S. did not sign did not achieve the results that were desired.  Most (all) of the European countries signed the treaty but the carbon dioxide production of those countries increased 3.8% since 2000 while in the U.S. the increase was only 2.5%. Interestingly, it fell 1.8% in the U.S. from 2005-2006 but that was likely due to a slight downturn in the economy (induced by higher fuel prices – interesting).

Carbon trading doesn’t make sense. What makes more sense is deterrent to bad activity.

…we’ll venture that little will be said about America’s record on curbing emissions without such caps. It’s too big an embarrassment to the assembled worthies.

The U.S. reduction also suggests that letting markets work through higher prices will reduce carbon emissions more than the cap and trade mandates favored by environmental lobbies and most Democrats.

It’s true that U.S. emissions have grown more than Europe’s since 1990, but how can this Administration be held responsible for what happened on Al Gore’s watch?

For all the unproven claims about mankind’s contribution to global warming, here’s something that can be said with authority: If curbing emissions really is the goal, then the heavy-handed approach promoted by the U.N. and Europe isn’t the best way to do so.

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