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'This Is a Scam': ExxonMobil-Backed Carbon Tax Will Not Save the Planet


No nation has ever “solved” murder. But nearly every nation attaches high penalties and strong disincentives to it. So in practical terms, we already do address murder in the same way.

“Come on. Join me in arguing for the outlawing of Carbon instead of compromising before you even start the messy process of trying to get things enacted.”

If compromising is such a bad thing, why propose banning carbon after a few years? Why not by next Tuesday?

You appear to be thinking that this is some sort of negotiation, wherein asking for too much increases the chances for all the less extreme asks, which in turn raises the bar on the tipping point position so that you ultimately get more than you would have if you had not asked for the extreme position in the first place. This is sort of like the idea that if you ask a billionaire for 50 million dollars, that increases your odds of receiving smaller amounts and puts you in a better position to “settle” for a million dollars relative to your odds of getting a million if you had just asked for a million. But what he’s never going to lose sight of is that he doesn’t have to give you anything, and if the notion here is that giving you a million dollars will seem more appealing than the idea of giving you 50 million, the logical extension of that is that giving you nothing will be even more appealing than giving you a million dollars.

But at least with an individual billionaire, there is always a chance of a fluke or individual eccentricity. Sometimes people can be generous when the good feeling it gives them outweighs the personal cost–particularly when the personal cost is trivial. Asking for even a simple majority of the population to get behind banning fossil carbon has much worse odds of happening. The individual flukes don’t occur at population levels, and for most people, the personal cost of abolishing all fossil energy would be huge. So being uncompromising on what you are asking for comes at the cost of alienating greater numbers of people, and the fewer who support your idea, the less chance it has of going anywhere. And the fact you did not propose banning all fossil carbon by next Tuesday leads me to suspect that, at some level, you already understand this.

“Here’s the bottom line. All these compromise market based solutions will not fix the problem in time. Not at all.”

Each of them individually has no chance of fixing the problem in its entirety. But collectively, they can contribute towards fixing the problem.

“We need to get serious about this.”

Asking for things which most people will see as impossible or absurdly unreasonable is not a good way to appear serious about this.

“The first step is those of us who know we’ve got a real problem start unashamedly calling for ending burning fossil fuels.”

If your first step involves calling for a large majority to support the rapid and outright abolition of fossil fuels, then your first step will also be your last step, because it isn’t going to advance beyond you calling for something the overwhelming majority of people will not support.

Even most people who think we ultimately need to get off fossil fuels are more apt to support options which give us time to make the transition (and allow for the use of fossil fuel energy to help drive the transition) to clean energy alternates which will allow us to keep most of the benefits of fossil fuels.

“If there is no voice for that, the process will continue to be about where to place the deck chairs as the Titanic sinks.”

If your strategy involves trying to convince people this is a sinking Titanic situation, most people will simply find that unconvincing, and the few who do find it convincing will view any alternative to arranging the deck chairs as being just as futile and pointless. Once the ship started sinking, it’s fate was sealed, and nothing anyone on board could have done would have made any difference.

“This is NeoLiberal wonk talk. But what it is is all the previous people spending hours trying to untie the Gordian Knot. It’s time for Alexander to just cut it.”

This particular knot happens to have people bound up in it–which, from their perspective, tends to greatly diminish the appeal of the sword option.


I’m someone with experience in regulatory compliance, too–I used to drive the speed limit.

Then I gave up driving.