April 20, 2016

TAX WHAT YOU DON'T WANT, NOT WHAT YOU DO:

There's a cheap, proven fix to the world's biggest problem (John D. Sutter, 4/18/16, CNN)

Yoram Bauman learned about the idea that would change his life, and the course of the world, as a nerdy undergraduate at Reed College.

The economics professor's pitch was so simple he couldn't shake it.

We should make bad stuff more expensive.

And, by doing that, make good stuff cheaper.

"I remember thinking that it was such an intellectually beautiful idea," he told me.

It is beautiful. And, as it turns out, this old theory, which dates back at least to the 1920s and an economist named Arthur Pigou, is essential to fixing one of the world's biggest problems.
Bauman, who now is a PhD economist and stand-up comedian (more on that later; and, yes, he does jokes on the Laffer curve), is the force behind a proposal on the ballot this fall in Washington state that would turn this old, elegant concept into what could be the country's smartest climate change policy.

It's thought to be the first time a proposal like this has gone before U.S. voters.

Washington's Initiative-732 would make a bad thing -- pollution -- more expensive by putting a tax on each ton of carbon dioxide created by cars, power plants and the like.

More importantly, doing so would throw economic muscle behind clean energy, shorter commutes, cleaner air and smarter cities. It would use the market, not regulations, to choose winners and losers in the clean tech race. It would help Washington state, in the apt words of the initiative's promoters, fulfill its moral responsibility to leave a livable planet for future generations. And it plans do so without wrecking the economy or growing government.

That's because Bauman's carbon-tax proposal aims to be "revenue neutral," meaning all of the money the state collects from the tax on carbon will be returned to the people and businesses as tax breaks. So this shouldn't be seen as an additional tax. It's a different tax -- a pollution tax.


Switch to low-carbon transport could 'save UK billions' (Press Association, 20 April 2016)'

A switch to low-carbon transport such as electric cars would save countries including the UK billions of pounds a year, a report has suggested.

Global policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector would reduce demand for oil, driving down prices and cutting global spending on the fossil fuel by £232bn a year worldwide between 2020 and 2030.

Cheaper oil for importing countries could free up billions of pounds which could be spent in other parts of the economy, the analysis led by Cambridge Econometrics said.

Posted by at April 20, 2016 6:22 PM

  

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