WASHINGTON, June 27, 2014 — Former Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson wrote in the New York Times on Sunday, seeking to jump start another crusade for the imposition of carbon taxes in America.
“It’s true that the United States can’t solve this problem alone. But we’re not going to be able to persuade other big carbon polluters to take the urgent action that’s needed if we’re not doing everything we can do to slow our carbon emissions and mitigate our risks.”
He equates CO2 emissions with bubbles – in this case, financial bubbles, like those that led to the 2008 global economic meltdown. The analogy presumes that without the incentive of carbon taxes and government coercion, consumers and producers will not, of their own initiative, take measures to reduce emissions. But the sales pitch Paulson employs has an odd ring to it. He contends that Carbon taxes are consistent with “conservatism.”
“The solution can be a fundamentally conservative one that will empower the marketplace to find the most efficient response. We can do this by putting a price on emissions of carbon dioxide — a carbon tax.”
Empowering the marketplace in any conservative frame of reference would not involve imposing mandates, any more than empowering consumers seeking more affordable healthcare, requires a penalty for not participating in the insurance market. Paulson is not recognized in “conservative” circles other than among globalists and neo-cons. And it follows that he’s partnering on this campaign with such renowned “conservatives” as billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg.
To Paulson, carbon taxes are the new flavor of the month and a lot of people have never heard of them before. George Soros and Al Gore would be surprised at that notion. Soros has funneled money to global warming propaganda mongers and Al Gore has been burning fossil fuel since he left the White House, instilling fear about the imminent threat to the planet. Gore and Soros indulge in extravagant, wasteful lifestyles while they preach to others about relatively modest consumption habits.
Paulson’s message isn’t really intended for American citizens. It’s a call to corporations and financial houses to take another run at Congress to compel them to impose another in a long series of wealth redistribution schemes. Why? Because there’s gold in them hills. The carbon tax has already demonstrated itself elsewhere to be a very lucrative commodities market that yields profits for investors, traders and banks, while picking the pockets of consumers. That is, at least, until the general public got a glimpse into how global warming sausage is made, when, among other events, Climategate erupted.
You may recall that scientists at the Hadley Climatic Research Unit at Britain’s University of East Anglia were caught manipulating data for the creation of the notorious “hockey stick” — a clever illustration of erroneous conclusions about weather patterns late in the previous century.
An earlier iteration of the “hockey stick” of Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University was found to be seriously flawed due to the omission — seemingly deliberate, of a large body of data relating to at least two major climate events, the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warming Period. These change the whole complexion of Mann and his colleague’s arguments. It’s a glaring omission when you leave out events like the Thames River icing over in the 15th Century and a significant warming trend lasting between AD 950 to 1250, a period in which there were no coal fired power plants or manufacturing.
Then, another flood of emails found CRU scientists and Mann, grousing about the lack of actual climate evidence to support their projections, discussing tactics to manipulate research and plotting to censor and ostracize critics. In 2007, before Climategate, polls indicated 84 percent of Americans believed humans contributed to global warming. Here in 2014, Americans show a burn out factor indicative of their sense that man made warming has been artificially hyped.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll revealed only 27 percent of Americans believe addressing global warming is an “absolute priority”, while 41 percent say that stemming rising temperatures “can be delayed until next year.” In this and other polls conducted by Pew Research, a third of the respondents don’t believe any government action is warranted at all.
The cumulative publicity discrediting global warming alarmists, saw carbon credits crater in value. Larry Bell, writing in Forbes, notes that between May 2008 and October of 2009 the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) value for one metric ton of carbon plummeted from $7 per metric ton to $0.10 along with the shareholders’ investments. Losers included Ford Motor Company, Amtrak, DuPont, Dow Corning, American Electric Power, International Paper, Waste Management, the states of Illinois and New Mexico, seven cities, and a number of universities.
Now the same players with Paulson leading the charge are gearing up to take another run at what Lord Christopher Monckton calls the “greatest wealth transfer scheme in history, a Robin Hood in reverse.” Paulson, first a champion of Cap-and-trade, now favors carbon taxes.
What can be expected from carbon taxation is illustrated by the experience of Australia, which recently implemented carbon taxation. The Australian reports that the $1,350 average tax on each household for the year to Sept 2013, produced an emissions fall from 543.9 million tons down to 542.1. Not a dramatic return on $7 billion in taxes on consumers.
The question on a lot of minds is what is the difference between “cap and trade” and carbon taxes. A basic illustration of cap and trade, is a power plant or manufacturer in the United States, for example, that has maxed out on its capability to reduce carbon emissions would purchase $8 million worth of carbon credits from a factory in China and the Chinese factory, in theory, would then spend the $8 million in upgrading technology to reduce emissions. That is a global cap and trade system.
By contrast, federal lawmakers and the White House have proposed unilateral domestic cap and trade schemes. The EPA analyzed a cap-and-trade proposal and projected global CO2 concentrations in a baseline. The administrator of the EPA testified on July 7, 2009: “I believe the central parts of the [EPA] chart are that U.S. action alone will not impact world CO2 levels.”
Translate that to mean that as a problem solving tool, the market brokerage of carbon is gesture legislation. It provides the satisfaction of claiming something is being done, but the effects on the alleged problem are negligible. Derrick Morgan, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation concludes that:
A carbon tax would (1) do next to nothing to lower global temperature, (2) harm American manufacturing competitiveness, (3) create a new revenue stream based on behavior modification, and (4) harm low-income Americans. Energy supplies can be delivered and new supplies created through the private sector rather than through mandates, regulations, taxes, and subsidies ordered by government.
Heritage, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Black Chamber of Commerce sponsored studies revealing that the impact on workers in America would be dramatic, costing the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. All this before any genuine consensus has been arrived at on the question of whether man made GHG (greenhouse gas) even has a direct correlation to global warming.
In Australia, where carbon taxes were imposed, Graham Lloyd, of The Australian, wrote, “Australia’s peak body of earth scientists has declared itself unable to publish a position statement on climate change due to the deep divisions within its membership on the issue. After more than five years of debate and two false starts, Geological Society of Australia president Laurie Hutton said “a statement on climate change was too difficult to achieve.”
Carbon taxes will make already unaffordable energy even more prohibitive for Americans because presently, most energy is produced by fossil fuels. Taxes inevitably get passed on to consumers.
What about the “revenue neutral” argument that government would offset revenue increases by lowering business taxes? That’s yet another government promise. Remember the others about “if you like your health plan you can keep it”, etc.? When was the last time politicians surrendered revenue once they got their hands on it?
In California, state gas taxes are 54.5 cents, which added to the federal per gallon tax, raises the taxes on each gallon to 70 cents. Local and state governments cannot control spending, so these taxes are siphoned off for purposes other than roads and transportation. But state lawmakers are complaining about budget shortfalls and they want even more. “The states consider themselves, in general, to be horribly besieged budgetarily and aren’t talking about anything to reduce revenue from any source,” observes the Tax Foundation’s William Ahern. Carbon tax will be no different.
In any event, if you are pinning your hopes of management of carbon emissions on Hank Paulson, you might want to reconsider. This is the fellow that sold us on the notion that he had to provide liquidity to the nation’s failing banks via bailouts, so that the credit clog would get broken up. Then he hooked a pipeline up that pumped into Wall Street and little to none to Main Street.
In carbon taxes, we see more government for the rich and by the rich. Can you afford more of that?