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Carbon Tax: The Low Oil Price Opportunity


Carbon Tax: The Low Oil Price Opportunity

Richard Heinberg

Carbon taxes constitute a widely discussed policy tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing humanity’s headlong rush toward catastrophic climate change. Taxing energy from fossil fuels makes that energy more expensive, thereby making renewable energy comparatively cheaper.


The Carbon Tax is a simple and elegant way to really reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally without having to create a multi-billion trading market for the well-connected to get rich off of like the cap and trade schemes do. Structured properly, those who use the most energy pay more, and more. Those who are low-income and reduce their carbon footprint, can realize savings. Check out the Carbon Tax Center.


As Naomi Klein stated in a recent interview it is very important that part of carbon taxes go to
public transit, insulating buildings, solar energy and wind energy credits not just towards general consumption.
That is the best way to jumpstart the Green Transition which has been stymied by plutocrats relentless
tax cuts and starving of the public sector. Thus for example in 2008 just when gas hit $4 per gallon and public transit ridership was soaring 150 local governments CUT their Green Transit trains and buses!
This is where part of the revenues from carbon taxes should go.
For decades until Reagan the US Federal government provided operating subsidies to actually run
public transit trains and buses. That needs to be reinstated because the US has so many Rail systems just
sitting doing nothing off-peak or during weekends - a waste of the capital resources.
Frequently this is fine with developers, contractors and construction unions - they are happy to just build these systems.But to be useful they need to provide frequent local and express service 24x7...


The premise of this article is that the American people are too stupid to realize that a new tax has been implemented just because the price of gasoline has dropped to ten year lows. Most of us realize that the price of a gallon of gasoline would be below $1 if it weren't for state and federal taxes larded onto the purchase price. Anyone that's driven across state lines knows this. A BP station in Kentucky and a BP station in Tennessee sell the same exact gallon of gasoline for a different price. The only possible driver for that difference is the taxes.

And a carbon tax doesn't just hit me at the gas pump. It makes my electric bill skyrocket. It makes my airline ticket more expensive. It makes the cost of all goods and services (it takes power to manufacture just about anything you care to name) more expensive. A carbon tax is a REALLY bad idea.


Why don't you ask your boss for a raise? organize a union if you need to.

Also, fly less, drive less, uses less AC and pit in LED bulbs, dry clothes on a line whenever possible....

Europe taxes their gasoline at far higher rates than the US economy is doing fine - yet they enjoy the highest living standards in the world. Those fuel taxes go to a public transportation infrastructure and high speed rail system that is literally futuristic science-fiction by backward US standards.

But considering that you are worrying so much about air fares, then you must be a fucking Rich Man, right?


A carbon tax is great, but the absolute immediate need is a big raise in the gasoline and diesel FET to assure the solvency of the Highway Trust fund. It hasn't been raised from its current 18.3 cents since the early 90's. You could raise it to a dollar and the price of US gasoline would still be the cheapest in the world outside of OPEC.

...And allot at least half of it to public transportation.


We need this carbon tax NOW!
Humanity will NEVER get such a gift again, for surely if a carbon tax with the proceeds going to fund an energy conversion initiative throughout the nation, cannot get through when gas has gone down over half the cost, then we are doomed to perish as a species. I hold out more hope for us sentient 2-leggers.
Everyone tell your congressional representation to support the Sanders Carbon Tax while gasoline is under $2 a gallon. If we can't do it when gas is cheap, then when?
Do It!
Do It NoooOOOOW!


Yunzer, these are all excellent ideas! Sound and sensible, the lot of them.
As long as privateers take the money and don't distribute it to their workers, that's why there are prevailing wage laws for government contracts. These folks saying flat tax good, carbon tax bad are all right wing folks who want their cake and eat it too, and someone else to foot their bill! As long as they don't pay an increasingly ridiculous tax rate for increasingly ridiculous self-compensation, then we will never get our trust funds made whole.

The truly scary part of this is that it would take someone like a Donny Trump, who firmly believes in the power of bankruptcy, to cancel all of the US debt, which is primarily to ourselves in the form of the SSI Trust fund, and the Highway Trust, medicare, etc, etc, et fucking cetera! That bastard would kill SSI by declaring bankruptcy, instantaneously converting most of the US population to wage slavery. Think raises have been few and far between up to now?

Would such a scenario get people out of their homes skipping football games to protest in the streets? I doubt it. I suspect the population's intelligence distribution isn't truly a normal bell-curve.
I believe it's more densely populated on the under-side.