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Top Climate Scientist: Tax Fossil Fuels to Save Younger Generations' Future


Top Climate Scientist: Tax Fossil Fuels to Save Younger Generations' Future

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Fossil fuels must be taxed out of existence to ensure that future generations are not saddled with a world of rising seas and extreme weather—and all the costs that come with them—according to a new research paper by renowned climate scientist and Columbia University professor James Hansen.


There have been calls for a price on carbon for a long time with only limited results. In the US, ten states have cap and trade programs to put a price on carbon. In most of these states the price on carbon is limited to power plant emissions. There are a number of cap and trade programs around the world. China is starting a national cap and trade program which seems like a promising development. The Paris climate pledge must be strengthened to give us any chance of avoiding catastrophe. This will be a big challenge for the next US president. Hopefully, the next president will not consider climate change a hoax. Greatly strengthening the US pledge will probably have major economic consequences so politically it will be difficult. However, the alternative seems to be almost certain disaster.


The easiest solution to this problem is to nationalize the fossil fuel industry for reasons of national security.
That doesn't take a village. It only takes a stroke of the president's pen.


Two reactions to James Hansen's "We have to phase out carbon emissions over the next few decades.":
1) It won't happen, given our "leadership."
2) It's likely too late anyway--given that (per David Wasdell) a 2 degree C increase in the global mean was in the pipeline 38 YEARS AGO!
I hope this doesn't mean that Hansen is getting senile!


Regrettably, James Hansen seems more concerned to save capitalism than to save the planet. You would think the opposite for a climate scientist. Compare Hansen, for example, with the UK's Kevin Anderson. But, on economic issues he not only has learned nothing, but refuses to learn. There's an extensive literature out there, notably Richard Smith's "Green capitalism: the God that Failed", which shows that carbon taxes cannot save us because they present no LIMIT to emissions. They're just a cost of doing business. That's why the CEOs of ExxonMobil, Shell and other all SUPPORT CARBON TAXES. They're not looking to go out of business.They understand that it's just a tax, like other taxes, and it can be passed on to consumers. They understand that a carbon tax is fully compatible with GROWING FOSSIL FUEL PRODUCTION. That's what Hansen, boneheadedly, misses entirely. If we really want to suppress carbon emissions there's an obvious way to do that: ban new production, shut down fossil fuel extraction, ration fossil fuels, force a transition to renewable energy, away from fossil fuel vehicles, and so on. Like the government banned DDT, thalidomide, mercury, asbestos, HFC refrigerants. But Hansen will have nothing to do with the Left, doesn't want to "intervene" in the market because, for him, the market system has to prevail -- even if it means the end of the humans. Scientists can be very smart about their discipline and very dumb about other issues.


I would say Hansen knows more about this subject than anybody in the world. Hansen has largely been marginalized. He has warned it is very dangerous to beyond 1C, which is about where we are now, because of the danger of slow positive feedbacks. He has said the 2C goal is a disaster and is arguing here that staying below 1.5C would be very difficultl. Hansen has called for all coal burning to be ended by 2030 and has said unconventional means of obtaining fossil fuels, such as fracking. must be minimized, Also, he has called for implementation of 3rd and 4th generation nuclear power plants which has caused a lot of controversy. He has stressed the importance of removing carbon from the atmosphere. Finally, Hansen has said to stabilize the climate we must get CO2 below 350 ppm, preferably by the end of this century.


Keep the cost of fossil fuels honest. Stop subsidizing them. Absolutely.

It's a no brainer. The degree to which this crooked and corrupt industry has used our money to produce a product that is foreclosing our future, is truly unbelievable.

We are paying in every way possible for the miserable luxury of our CO2 rich lifestyle. I'm with Hansen: tax the bastards. I'm with Pope Francis: It's a sin to do nothing about climate change.

Continuing to give these snake oil salesman a free ride is in all liklihood, a mortal sin. Make us pay until we figure out how to transition off this addiction.


I was going to post a comment but someones beat me to the words,very well said !