Australia’s Carbon Cap-and-Tax Fiasco
By James Hansen, reposted from Earth Institute, July 24, 2014
I have been fortunate to be able to speak with government officials in a dozen countries in the past 8 years about climate change and needed policies. I usually focus on fee-and-dividend, the non-tax way to put a rising price on carbon in a way the public would support — because most people would gain financially as they witnessed rapid reduction of fossil fuel pollution.
Interactions I had with Australian officials, described in Communications on my web site, especially the one on 24 April 2009, were pleasant. Face-to-face meetings (as in other countries where I tried to find one nation, any nation, to try the simple, honest, fee-and-dividend approach) ended with the conclusion that, yes, fee-and-dividend seemed better, but they wanted to try cap-and-trade, which was “almost as good.”
As predicted, cap-and-trade was ineffectual and recognized by the public as a cap-and-tax. Australia is now the largest carbon polluter per capita among major nations (see Figure 1).
Recognizing my frustrations in communicating, Clive Ellsworth of London has extracted from my book (Storms of My Grandchildren) and made available a summary of Fee-and-Dividend.
Here’s good news: Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) continues to grow and expand internationally.
CCL is teaching us how to communicate. See 3-minute video of this summer’s DC meeting.
I also recommend the 4-page summary of a non-partisan economic analysis of fee-and-dividend.
Citizens Climate Lobby (see their no-cost Vote Now!) needs more volunteers to write op-eds and letters to the editor, to visit legislators, and to form new chapters, in the U.S. and abroad.
As noted in the video, we will win this thing, but it’s important that it be sooner rather than later.
Figure 1. Per capita carbon emissions. Eur.Eur. is the rest of Europe and Eurasia.