Taking GOP Graphics a Bit Too Seriously

WaxmanMarkeyABureaucraticNightmare_Display.jpg(Photo: Sen. Kit Bond [R-MO])

Sen.
Kit Bond (R-MO), one of his chamber’s leading opponents of action
against climate change, has swiped the hilariously complicated "chart"
that his House colleagues used last month in a futile attempt to portray emissions reductions as just too complex for the American people to stomach.

Complaining
about the length and depth of a bill that aims to start reversing
centuries of American overconsumption is more than a little silly, as
Grist’s Kate Sheppard observes.

But
can I take this mess too seriously for a moment and ask: Where is the
DOT in Bond’s thicket of black "government agency" boxes? Is he saying
that transportation has no role in the warming climate?

What does the senator think happens to all that highway money he fights so hard for?

  • DJB

    Ironically, I have a similar complaint about cap and trade systems, which essentially issue a gradually decreasing number of permits to pollute which can be traded in a market, so that companies gradually have an incentive to pollute less and flexibility to buy the “right” to pollute when they “have to”.

    I hate to sound like a broken record, but cap-and-trade is an awfully roundabout way to attempt to reduce emissions. The average dude/gal on the street probably doesn’t really know what cap and trade is, and nothing about cap and trade sends a direct message to people that they need to change their behavior. It sends the message that companies are the problem, not the consumers whose decisions allow those companies to exist.

    By contrast, levying direct environmental taxes on polluting fuels makes them more expensive to use and directly incentivizes conservation in a way everybody can understand.

    Cap and trade is easy to manipulate. The permits end up being given away and political pressure can prevent the key move: REDUCING THE NUMBER OF PERMITS OVER TIME.

    If we can’t do something as basic as levy an environmental tax on fossil fuels and use the revenue to subsidize solutions to the problem (e.g. wind energy, smart growth, green building practices, etc.) than I fear we are lost already and we might as well buy our climate change canoes now ;)

    It doesn’t have to be much at first. How about a 1-cent-per-gallon carbon tax on gasoline? That would raise about $1.2 billion per year for green subsidies (assuming 200 million drivers in the USA driving an average of 15,000 miles per year at an average of 25 miles per gallon).

    Then the issue becomes ramping up the tax enough to solve the problem without destroying the economy.

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