Governance & Climate Change

Posted: July 29, 2016 by Nazim in Politics, Uncategorized

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Climate change is the other issue that almost makes me a single-issue voter, due to the regular receipt of news such as the fact that record high temperatures have again exceeded expectations. Below is a verbatim copy of an amazingly detailed Reddit post by ILikeNeurons. I’m copying it here for visibility and in case it gets deleted or removed.

However, action at the government level will only happen with pressure from citizens themselves, he added.

This is the part more people need to internalize. We know what we need to do about this problem; we’ve known for awhile now. The consensus among scientists and economists on carbon taxes § is similar to the consensus among climatologists that human activity is responsible for global warming. Putting the price upstream where the fossil fuels enter the market makes it simple, easily enforceable, and bureaucratically lean. Returning the revenue as an equitable dividend offsets the regressive effects of the tax (in fact, ~60% of the public would receive more in dividend than they paid in taxes). Enacting a border tax would protect domestic businesses from foreign producers not saddled with similar pollution taxes, and also incentivize those countries to enact their own carbon tax (why would China want to lose that tax money to the U.S. government if they could collect the revenue themselves?) Conservative estimates are that failing to mitigate climate change will cost us 10% of GDP over 50 years. In contrast, carbon taxes may actually boost GDP, if the revenue is used to offset other (distortional) taxes or even just returned as an equitable dividend (the poor tend to spend money when they’ve got it, which boosts economic growth). We won’t wean ourselves off fossil fuels without a carbon tax, and the longer we wait to take action the more expensive it will be.

It’s really just not smart to not take this simple action. Join RepublicEN (US) and write a letter to the editor (congress reads those things!), join Citizens’ Climate Lobby and start lobbying congress (you can do it from your home district!), join ConservAmerica and educate congress about conservative solutions to environmental problems, join the American Sustainable Business Council and write to your members of congress asking them to help you make your business sustainable, just please do something that pushes policy in the right direction.

§ The consensus among economists holds whether you’re looking at economists with expertise in climate economics, economists with expertise in resource economics, or economists from all sectors.

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