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Are We Ignoring Climate Change or The Ill Conceived and Inequitable Proposed Solutions


.Could it be that we (the citizens) are not rejecting the call of our scientists but find serious fault with the solutions they put forth

Let us examine the proposed carbon tax. It is sold based on the premise that it would yield charges more in keeping with the true costs of the carbon we use and that such pricing would lead to better choices. Really? Just exactly how do we in Kansa not use coal for our utilities in the immediate future? We have no free market in which to choose.

At a reasonable rate increase it will take upwards of a generation to replace our coal plants with renewable energy supported by something like gas turbines to fill in when there is no wind. We will not have a robust power distribution system for at least a decade so until then we can not even buy from most other places. From where does the alternative come?

The reality is that we will pay through the nose for a carbon tax while those in Washington state using hydroelectric power will not. If this is a national problem it would seem that a national investment in replacing high carbon generators is more appropriate then a market solution where there is no market.

Now to further discredit this approach we have those that want to turn the carbon tax into a massive financial redistribution process. So instead of a national effort we have a process that penalizes those using coal and then further redistributes the incomes of the middle class in the coal burning regions.

Why would those burning coal want to sign up for this approach? Where is the shared sacrifice? Why are we not approaching this challenge as a nation instead of using punitive methods to “punish” the evil coal users?

Just maybe it is not the message transmitted by our scientists but the highly inequitable proposed solution that is causing people to hesitate in jumping into the deep end of this pool.


Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Who said we won't be able to use coal in Kansas or anywhere else if we implement a carbon tax? All the tax does is help incorporate the externalized expense of climate change to the fossil fuels that inject the carbon into the atmosphere, causing the climate change in the first place. You would still be able to use your carbon dividend to continue to buy the more expensive fossil fuels, coal included, or, alternatively, you could use that dividend to invest in energy efficiency and renewables so that you could pocket some of the money or at least buy less of the carbon rich stuff that is causing the problem.

That scenario sure sounds like the free market to me: you can choose to pay more and more expensive fossil fuels, or you can choose to take your money elsewhere. And yes, it will take probably more than a decade to make the transition away from fossil fuels, which will probably be always around just as there are still horses around even though most folks don't ride them to get to the grocery any more.

You have set up a straw dog, where you falsely paint the picture of horrid shortages caused by coal and oil being cut off and resulting pandemonium because the alternatives can't take up the slack. Well, did anyone go around taking all rotary phones out of everyone's homes, or were they gradually replaced by touch tone digital dialing over time? Is the land line disappearing because some governmental police is coming in and ripping them out of the walls? Or are folks just throwing in the towel and switching to cell phones to save money, incrementally one household at a time?

I don't see why you think that anyone has anything else in mind when it comes to energy production. As old coal fire plants are retired, a utility if it has been proactive will have reduced demand through aggressive energy efficiency programs, and if additional capacity is still needed, will hopefully invest in renewables and other system efficiencies to avoid having to build a new coal fired plant to replace the other one. This is the scenario that has been taking place all over the country, with over 100 new coal fired plants scrapped in the past decade. Part of this has been due to cheap natural gas, but efficiency and renewables have played a major role and should continue to do so if we level the playing field or even make incentives to help speed the process.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

The concept fails because there is no market where we in Kansas can by more efficient energy. We have already significantly increased our rates to bring on wind energy. and it will help but is not a replacement.

Bottom line you will tax people who have no alternative but to pay the tax while people blessed with hydroelectric options don't pay it. Public Policy should not be based on where you live and what utilities your great grandfathers selected.

Tax the populace and use the money to help Kansas and other regions dependent on coal to replace the heavy polluters. Get away from income transfer. We are all in this and we should all pay.;

See. I, as many others, are prepared to pay more just not disproportionately more because I live here.

We built the interstate highway system as a nation. We went to the moon as a nation. We should do likewise for the future power grid.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

You have completely overlooked the biggest alternative to people using their carbon fee dividends to pay for higher utility fees: energy efficiency. And Kansas is one of the worst of the states when it comes to energy efficiency--we rate 45th out of 50, according to the ACEEE study that rates each state on their policies that promote or get in the way of decreasing the amount of waste currently in our energy use patterns: http://aceee.org/sector/state-policy/kansas

Another way to put this is that Kansas has an extremely high probability of getting an excellent return on our energy efficiency investments because we have done such a poor job doing it so far. States who have approached this more proactively than Kansas have been able to shave 20% off of energy production needs simply by reducing the amount of waste in the system.

Why is this important in your hydro state vs. coal burning state income transfer "problem"? Because a place like Washington State, which has a lot of hydro, won't be getting many dividends from emitting lots of carbon, so they won't have as much money to help finance energy efficiency improvements, or for investing in renewables. Hence the fact that Kansas burns lots of coal means that they will benefit more from carbon fee and dividend in that it will be given more resources to change the situation, and since we have much room for improvement, we can do just that.

Do you get it now? If you stop wasting so much energy, you can head off the need for building new coal capacity and instead add incrementally through renewables. Furthermore, the governor has set ambitious renewable energy standards which will create an incentive for utilities to do just that. The high costs of building new centralized power will make those alternatives less, not more attractive as time passes on and the additional overhead of having to design to higher pollution standards for such things as mercury pollution become mandatory. Carbon fee and dividend will just help us finance this process, speeding up a process through the daily decisions that consumers make when they decide how to spend that dividend.

Income transfer? Why? If we sell excess capacity in wind, people will be in a line to buy it and even pay to build transmission lines to get it. We will become renewable energy exporters in the same way we are with gas and oil. The main thing in our way from doing that are the folks in the fossil fuel industries who are like the good 'ol boys in Detroit who ignored the writing on the wall and kept producing gas guzzlers until they retired or left with their golden parachutes. Lets not make the same mistake here, because you're right about all of us paying--for the real costs of climate change, that is.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Doug County you have consumed deeply the chalice of climate change. I will respond after doing my chores.

But my response will address your corporate argument as opposed to my individual impact argument

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Take your time and please read my suggestions to your queries you posted at the Kristalka letter first--you are a bit of a jackrabbit, jumping around in your comment locations so want to make sure that you've considered the topic in ways I've already addressed.

And as you might know: the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Point 1: Those who pay a higher carbon tax will get more back. Not my understanding. The only people to get money back are those who have lower incomes. The rest of the money goes to climate research. The exact split is not quantified. But I believe it to be reasonable to assume most Kansans would get little or nothing back while paying a lot more than most Washingtonians. Not only must they pay the tax, they must pay for the capital cost to replace the facilities that generate the costs.

Point 2: Yes, energy efficiency is a great idea. It works wonderfully for those with high net worth who have the resources to buy the efficiency (equipment or structural enhancements) needed to create the efficiency. They can wait for the return. For the rest, while paying the higher carbon tax they can also borrow money to pay for the energy efficiency investments and watch as overtime they get a return on their investment (but not much on their tax and probably not enough to service the loan).

Comment: It is great theory and works well theoretically at the aggregate level. It falls apart when you consider individual impacts and responses.

Example 1: My mythical Kansas farmer retired on the farm fifteen miles southwest of Garnett with income from social security, savings and leasing property to others to grow crops. The homestead is 75 years old, large and inefficient. They drive to town several times a week for food, entertainment and church (30 miles round trip). They will pay a large (relatively) carbon tax on their gas and coal generated power. They do not have a lot of capital to invest in efficiency. For many things the cost of the efficiency (even given the carbon tax) will not be returned in their lifetime. Now, tell me again how a carbon tax is something that helps these people?

Meanwhile we have a young couple in a starter home with all the current efficiency initiatives installed. They live in a mid-size city in with public transportation in central Washington and draw their power from hydroelectric sources. Their carbon footprint is low and their carbon tax will also be low. The energy efficiency is already built into their home. The Kansans will see what little they have accumulated toward their retirement decremented significantly by the tax, the cost of the power and the costs of whatever energy efficiency they can afford. The carbon tax hardly touches the two wage earner suburban couple.

Why should the circumstance of living play so much into the amount of a tax to be levied by the government? Why not just tax everybody (income tax surcharge) to provide for research and for capital investment in plant and equipment to address nationally our older generating systems and our inadequate distribution systems. Everybody pays as everybody will benefit from the cleaner environment. Energy efficiency plays when it makes financial sense to the payee. If we want to go faster we subsidize it for all.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Sorry, I generated this before I saw your note and your adds on the other blogs. Will go read and see if they address my challenges above.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

While you're reading, I'll make some observations: Point 1: Not sure where you're getting your information, but check out the citizensclimatelobby.org website, specifically the FAQ page found here: http://www.citizensclimatelobby.org/node/444 and you'll see that your concerns are unfounded. First, a clarification: some folks want to use the carbon fee to pay down the debt, while others want to give it directly back to consumers, and I'm in the latter school, as is the CCL. The fee in this scenario is a progressive tax not because rich folks don't get a dividend, but because the dividend doesn't cover all of the increased carbon costs because they emit more than what the dividend will cover. Both rich and poor alike receive the same amount, and the sum will be a net plus for those who emit less, which is the case with poorer folks and folks who choose to reduce their carbon footprint.

Point 2: the dividend helps finance loans for energy efficiency retrofits, which combined with utility efficiency programs, will make weatherization and energy efficiency measures quite an attractive investments for virtually anyone, even those who don't have cash up front to pay for it. See my ACEEE review of Kansas programs elsewhere for details on how much better job we can do here in our state to stimulate improvements like many other states have done to reduce energy waste.

Example 1: Retired farmer Joe calls KCPL and signs up for an energy audit, has his house examined by a certified energy efficiency expert who identifies the biggest problems in his house, which in his case is the lack of insulation and draftiness of the old farmhouse. He then decides to pursue the insulation and weatherization, which qualifies him for a $600 rebate that goes toward the audit and costs of installing. After the qualified contractor finishes the job, it is inspected and approved by the utility, and Joe receives starts paying back whatever is left after the rebate. Fortunately, he is paying around $100 less in heating bills, so he breaks even in his investment for a tighter house in only 2 years, using the money saved to make the payments. Furthermore, as part of upcoming disclosure programs, Joe and Betty are able to get considerably better price on their home when they move into Garnett Assisted Living because their home doesn't cost as much to heat and cool any more. Note: This is using a Missouri energy efficiency program as an example. Some states have even better deals, and Kansas has yet to get its act together to come up with a more effective program.

I'll continue on a separate post; don't want to go over word limit!

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Continued: Now none of my scenario response above even talks about the carbon dividend. Joe decides he wants to pay back the energy efficiency investments bill more quickly than he can using the lowered gas bill, which does take 2 years to pay off due to the carbon fee added to it. He decides to take his carbon dividend and pay off the loan early, because he's afraid that the increased carbon fee next year will increase the amount of time it takes to pay off the loan by just using saved monies from using less. Now the next year, the carbon fee goes up, raising his bill some, but it also increases his dividend, and he can now ponder to spend some of that dividend on even more energy saving measures identified by the audit. He decides to go get a new energy efficient hot water heater, putting the dividend up for the down payment, getting an energy tax credit for a further reduction in his costs, and even lower monthly utility bills to boot. Life ain't so bad after all in rural Kansas, and he and Betty decide to stay on the farm a couple more years, letting their house appreciate a little more and paying lower bills to boot, with their lower gas/propane consumption and annual carbon dividend paying for the price hikes caused by the carbon fees.

Meanwhile the young couple who are already in an energy efficient, low carbon home, keep their annual carbon dividend checks until they have enough saved up to install some photovoltaic panels to reduce their fossil fuel consumption even further. The marginal payback on PV in the cloudy Pacific Northwest made it unattractive financially even with tax credits, but with a few years of money saved up from the dividend checks, they were able to pay enough up front to make the payback time financially attractive, getting out from under some of the increasing electrical bill, and improving the resale value of their home to boot.

In_God_we_trust 3 years ago

I like the idea that the farmer / rancher in Garnett has to offer. He thinks that a carbon tax is directly out of the United Nations. So he doesn't like it for his country. So he decides to apply himself and experiment into areas that college science won't consider. In the process he comes up with a motor that can operate above 100% electrical efficiency. He is excited and inspired by his finding and further decides to continue his research and works on developing a self running generator. He thinks from tests that he is near to achieving a self running generator, after showing his patent physics attorney with surprise. These devices could be capable of running day and night, whether the sun shines or not, or whether the wind blows or not. The farmer is all smiles looking at the future, but finds he needs grants and funding for his devices to be developed, so his inventions can become a reality and help the people of his state and country.

In_God_we_trust 3 years ago

You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. A typical off the cuff remark without engaging intelligent thought. This device is deserving of your respect, as it has definite merit.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Well, sir or ma'am, if you gave us some real information instead of sideways hints about something that sounds like it defies physics, you might get a more intelligent response. I suspect that more information, though will reveal the perpetual motion machine nature of this "discovery," in which case you should expect a more intelligent rejection of the idea. So feel free to provide more specific information or at least where to find more information about what you are talking about, if you dare.

In_God_we_trust 3 years ago

http://www.dynamaticmotors.com But you will not be able to use a simple canned physics rejection like you stated above to put down the idea (you can but it would be assuming the unknown and therefore, in error), since the principles in the devices work and can be mostly described by known physics laws for open systems.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Thanks for the additional information. I have a more open mind than you think, but if you don't want to get the"canned physics rejection" from reasonable people, I'd drop the "above 100% efficiency" and "you are assuming the unknown and therefore, in error" approaches, otherwise you'll be dismissed outright by most everyone, fair or not. It looks like the Garnett farmer is looking for a way to improve the efficiency of electromagnetic motors, which is a laudable goal in itself without going into tin foil hat territory. Good luck with the efforts to improve efficiency, and I'll look to the website for further developments. If the gains are legitimate, then he'll be a rich man.

In_God_we_trust 3 years ago

Other information that has been revealed says that the magnet motor runs near 70% efficient being powered 100% of the time, measured under load (prony brake measurement of motor output). Additionally, you may not know that the model motor does not need to be powered all the time, as it uses magnets for the motor torque. If pulse controlled, mathematically speaking, the model device could improve it's electrical efficiency to achieve up to 150% electrical efficiency according to estimated pulse time needs, mixed with prior tests using a prony brake and converting to watts output from horsepower measurements. The generator may be equally as impressive with more development, using a 50% efficient dc motor to drive it as described on the web site.

In_God_we_trust 3 years ago

@DougCounty and all, Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Have a good holiday.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Ditto. Hope the coming days are filled with good friends/family/both and we all appreciate how thankful we should be!

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Doug coiuny we are talking past each other. The point remains and you have not addressed it that those in areas with alternative sources of power will pay less, perhaps far less than those heavily dependent on coal. The return will not even it out as those in coal areas do generate more carbon.

The Kansas farmer, through no fault of his own, will get had while the Washington couple will be rewarded for that which they did not do.

Yes the theory is that some of the money will go to energy efficiency. The target is those of lesser means. The farmer will likely not qualify and the couple needs none.

The bottom line is that your entire process is a thinly concealed wealth transfer from those unlucky enough to live in high carbon use areas.

Simply continuing to repeat that money will be returned to a select few does not in any measure negate my points.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Well, I'd have to agree with you that we are talking past each other, and frankly I'm not sure you're listening. This is a very muddled conversation partly because you bring up points to which I respond to, and instead of responding to my responses to move the conversation ahead, you jump to another pronouncement. You also claim to be reading up the sources I provide to you and yet I never hear back from you about what you think. The Princeton energy wedges to reduce carbon emissions is a prime example of this. But I'll play along at least a little while longer just because, I guess.

If I read your comments right, you are proposing that we tax everyone and use the taxes collected to somehow transform our fossil fuel based energy production to low carbon sources. And yet you complain about how the carbon fee and dividend plan is not market based and redistributes income??? Are you sure you are not describing your plan? Exactly what mechanism are you going to use to take all of your collected taxes and transform the energy sector?

Adding a carbon fee at the source: the coal mine, the oil pump, the gas well clearly links the fee to the source of the carbon, and does it as a clear economic signal that will allow investors to develop alternatives in a way that your "tax everyone" approach does not. How will your "tax everyone" approach transform the energy sector? You are very short on specifics here. And as far as there not being anything for us folks in Kansas to do except pay higher and higher coal fired energy bills as the carbon fee goes up, well that's showing an immense lack of imagination on your part as far as I can see. Even the Brownback Administration has set a renewables portfolio goal of 20% renewables by 2020, only 8 years away. 50% by 2050 is looking more and more and more reasonable, especially if you have the clear economic signal that a carbon fee and dividend would provide. Furthermore, I don't see how your tax everyone approach will provide any different set of energy sources to Kansans than the carbon fee and dividend approach will provide.

Lastly, you say it is unfair to Kansas that Washington State wouldn't have to pay a fee for their hydro electricity and we would. Firstly, they are one of the few states that get a significant amount of their electricity from hydro, so this discrepancy would be apparent between Washington state and practically every other state besides Kansas, so we won't really be singled out. Secondly, because of this, Washington customers already pay significantly less per kWh than Kansas customers, so there is already a disparity, which will increase with a carbon fee, but it will be an increased disparity between Washington and practically every other state too, so once again, the economic signal will apply for every other state to reduce their waste and ramp up their renewables.

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

"Just exactly how do we in Kansa not use coal for our utilities in the immediate future?" No one is asking you to. Even Jim Hansen recommends a phased-in carbon tax in order to give the market time to shift.

"At a reasonable rate increase it will take upwards of a generation to replace our coal plants with renewable energy ..." Yes, it will. And since we are already suffering from more that 10 times the incidence of heat waves prior to 1980, and we have seen examples from Australia, Russia, Europe, and right here at home the kind of damage that does to agriculture, I'm wondering how much longer you want to wait to take mitigating action. Should we wait until the heat and drought of the past couple of years become a 1 in 5 year event instead of the 1 in 10 that it has recently become (measured globally)?

"Why would those burning coal want to sign up for this approach?" Because it beats the pants off of creating another dust bowl. Meh, Washington has water; we have wind. In terms of energy in versus energy out, wind is quicker to set up and has a more rapid rate of return than water.

"Simply continuing to repeat that money will be returned to a select few.." One proposed solution is to return the tax is a dividend to the general population. Not sure how you see that as a select few.

Moderate, you complain about the cost of doing something, while you ignore the cost of doing nothing. Doing nothing is already costing us. This year the U.S. is looking at the neighborhood of $90 billion in losses from climate change events, and the cost will keep rising the longer we delay. So far, there has been about 0.8 C of warming, and weather patterns are already shifting. By choosing to do nothing, you are suggesting that we accelerate past 2 C of warming. Past 2 degrees, and the kind of summer we just had may well be the rule rather than the exception.

You are saying that the proposed solutions are not perfect; maybe they aren't. But at this point, there are no perfect solutions; we can only choose the best of the options available.

BTW, you should know that a carbon tax applies to all fossil fuels, mostly at the source, where it is easier to track. A fuel would be taxed in proportion to the C in it. Coal is mostly C; oil a bit less, and natural gas less still = 1 C for every 4 H. You keep going on about coal, but a carbon tax should be applied to all fossil fuels.

Some info for the curious:

Coal plants http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Existing_U.S._Coal_Plants

Carbon tax http://www.carbontax.org/

George Lippencott 3 years ago


Chris Golledge 3 years ago

So, are you going to address any of the flaws in your argument I pointed out?

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

More info


Looking at that, it strikes me that Moderate is asking that Washington subsidize the conversion of energy production to renewables for other states after they are already paying the price to make the shift for themselves. See the State of Washington's Energy Independence Act.

Yes, Moderate, you are ignoring climate change. It is a bigger problem than anything you have mentioned.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

One of the challenges in writing about climate change is that the advocates almost inevitably change the issues through duplicity or zealotry. There is nothing that angers me more than such Sophistry.

Nowhere did I challenge the seriousness of climate change. Nowhere did I suggest we ignore it. No where did I say a carbon tax can not work. My single point repeated over and over was that a carbon tax is inequitable because it hits hardest on the very people who need to address the problem the most. It rewards those who by luck live in places with alternative low cost carbon solutions and punishes those who live in place that are heavy carbon polluters mostly through no fault of their own.

My singular solution is to tax the populace (income tax surcharge) and use the resources to allocate funding to address the worst carbon sources. You can go as fast or as slow as you want based on the size of the tax.

Clearly that does not relieve all of us of making individual efforts to address the problem but it does not force people of modest means to dedicate there existence at the expense of all other aspects of their lives to fixing things that take decades to fix..

One can come up with all kinds of schemes to redistribute wealth through a carbon tax but no matter how you slice it that tax will be pejorative on people who have done nothing wrong.

National Policy goals should be solved by nation decisions and national action where we are all treated equally. The carbon tax remains by its nature a mechanism to redistribute wealth from the middle class to construction and manufacturing companies!

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

Your proposal to simply increase taxes across the board would not provide any incentive to the market to shift to alternate means of producing energy. If you want to shift the market in that direction, you have to increase the cost of fossil fuels relative to the alternatives. Your plan does not do that, and it would not achieve the required results.

You asked in your headline if climate change was being ignored. By focusing attention on your perception of an unfairness rather than the hard choice between higher costs for fossil fuels and environmental degradation, you are ignoring the problem.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

The costs of heating and cooling my home have increased 50%. I have spent close to $15K upgrading my home and my appliances. I have gained in efficiency about 10%..

As a state Kansas has begun funding wind energy solutions. They are more costly then coal fired plants. That cost is already in my utilities. Market based solution require a market. I ca not buy wind energy from California. There is not much more I can do to my home. Replacing the existing stock with more energy efficient products will take generations.

We don't need a carbon tax to do that. We need resources at state and federal levels to push toward solutions that are prioritized and that are paid for by everyone and not just those who are the heavier carbon generators.

You can not use market based solutions when there is no market. WE need to create a market by taxing everyone in the near term. Later on after people have had time to adjust we can move to a tax that penalizes non performance.

jafs 3 years ago

How did your costs increase so dramatically? I haven't seen anywhere near that sort of increase.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

JAFS do you track your costs over time? That is a 10 year cost increase and it is about half again inflation.

jafs 3 years ago

Not strictly, and we've lived in different houses over that time period.

But, we're still paying rather low amounts every month, given our consumption and use of the average payment plans for both gas and electricity.

So, you're saying you've had about a 5% increase each year then? That doesn't sound so terrible, when you put it that way. If you pay $100/month, it works out to an extra $5 each month/yr.

And, it's certainly an incentive to conserve a bit, and use less energy.

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

You have a great deal more faith in government provided solutions than I do.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Mod, what kind of upgrades did you spend your 15K on? Did you have a whole house energy audit first? Typically these audits prioritize the most cost effective measures so that you take on the ones with the quickest payback period, i.e. how long it takes for an improvement to pay for itself in terms of saved energy. If the improvement takes longer than 5 to 7 years to pay back, chances are it's not the best investment unless it improves your home's resale value and you're planning to move and can recoup the costs that way. Also there are tax credits to help shorten the payback time, and in many other states besides Kansas, other low interest loan/grants/rebates available to make it worthwhile.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Agreed, and appreciate your choice here, as I read it before you edited. I attempted to reply with humor about "the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true," a reference to a really funny sequence from the Court Jester, but apparently nobody watches Danny Kaye movies any more.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Hydro is only a significant energy contributer in a handful of states, with only 5 states (Idaho, Washington, South Dakota, Oregon and Montana) having more than 25% produced by hydro. Nationally, we've tapped most of the easy large sources, as evidenced by the fact that in 1949, more than 30% of the nation's electricity was produced by hydro while currently, only 6.4% is produced despite production increasing from 90,000kWh to around 250,000kWh during that same time. 6.4% means that it's not that big of an issue in terms of the fairness of a carbon tax, which would be applied to the approximately 70% of the electrical generation in the US produced by fossil fuels. Population-wise, it won't really be much different than the inequities in electricity prices between different states that already exist.

Now it's true that places like Kansas have no real hydro to develop and currently wind only provides a miniscule part of the total, with solar well behind. But things are already changing as we speak. My guess is that hydro will increase ever so slightly, but will probably remain right around 6.4, while wind, currently at 3.3% of total electrical production, is positioned to grow by leaps and bounds. The Department of Energy sees no reason why wind cannot produce 20% of total electrical production by 2030, leaving hydro far behind in terms of overall production. As I mentioned and you ignored, even Brownback has put the goal for Kansas at 20% wind by 2020, and if the production tax credit remains in place we could beat that easily. The EIA puts the average price per kWh for residential production in Kansas at over 11 cents, while new wind with tax credits is already below that at around 9 cents. So how does this become more of a burden to develop wind in Kansas than renewables in Washington? With a carbon fee passed on to coal fired plants, I would think that there should not be any excuse why any new capacity shouldn't come from wind in Kansas, and with dropping solar prices if things are set up conducive to integrating distributed power into the grid, it should start to play an increasing role as well. And energy efficiency will continue to be the best dollar for dollar investment out there.

I don't see how your national income tax financing a shift to renewables is a more equitable solution. The carbon tax is an across-the-board dividend so that rich folks will actually receive a lower percentage of their energy use than poorer folks, who use less energy per capita so may actually end up ahead in the game. Furthermore, it is not at all obvious in your scenario how you will have the federal government transform your income taxes into renewables and distribute the low carbon electrical production units equitably across the country. It certainly sounds a lot more cumbersome than the energy industry responding to a clear economic signal of higher prices caused by the carbon fee.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Yes and my Kansas farmer who is in the middle will bear great costs with little help while the Washington couple go on about their business.. Tax everyone regardless of location or circumstance. Use the money selectively to address the greater challenges that would overburden local and even a=state solutions.

A carbon tax is not equitable in impact. To you it is equitable because it hits hardest on those who generate the most carbon. Essentially you are punishing the carbon users for using what yesterday was perfectly legal and is now built into a complex system that will take a long time and a lot of money to fix.

This is not a market issue - that is a red herring. We are changing public policy by fiat. We should pay for it as the national p[policy shift that it is.

Those who in the past used coal should not be punished for using it by a heavy tax to force them to change that which was just fine a few years ago.

I go back to my point. Those who will be heavily impacted by such a tax do not see it as equitable and reject that solution as inadequate. It is not climate change they reject it is your choice to essentially punish them for something they did not do while rewarding otheers for things they did not do.

Once you create a true market for power and address the efficiency levels of older homes - than and only then would you be justified in introducing market based solutions.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Wow--guess we'll just have to agree to disagree then. I explained how the Kansas farmer can improve the situation in his home through audits, loans and incentives and yet you chose to ignore that. Cigarettes used to be legal for any age and that changed--are you OK with that? Steadily increasing taxes directed specifically to cigarettes have gone a long way to decreasing smoking, and this was done exactly as the national policy shift that it was, as declared by the Surgeon General. Smokers who developed their addictions were forced to pay this highly directed tax, or reduce their usage, and the rationale for this was because of the tremendous expenses it put on our health system, just as the rationale for a carbon fee is to help pay for the tremendous expenses fossil fuels are putting on our planet's health. Cigarette smokers were not happy and complained, but knew that paying your own way ultimately is fair, and if you didn't like the price, you had the choice to quit, just as our nation has a choice to cut way back on heavy carbon fuels. There are more and more programs to improve the heating and cooling efficiencies of older homes, and this will become even more common as those fossil fuel prices increase. Unlike a car, an older home can be retrofitted from the equivalent of a 1975 Lincoln Continental gas guzzler to a 2012 Prius which can improve its resale value and cost much less to live in.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

And you fail to see the magnitude of the cost he must bear to do what you propose. He should be able to draw on money from the tax I propose to address his older home at mostly our expense. The cost of converting our coal fired plants should be borne primarily by all taxpayers and not by the farmer through his rates.

Your tax does nothing to help him as an individual and just punishes him by reducing his standard of living for not fixing what he did not do wrong. We collectively are the ones who are deciding he should pay more while not charging the couple in Washington State more. If you cannot see that the stuff in the chalice may be stronger than I thought.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

I really don't know why you say what you are saying. How does a cash dividend delivered directly to that farmer's bank account not provide him with either a way to pay for the increased cost of electricity or a down payment on some weatherization or even some cash to invest in a local renewables company to support their efforts? And the carbon fee and dividend has minimal overhead as it uses the existing IRS infrastructure to collect and distribute the funds.It empowers that farmer to take direct action to change his bills way more than taxing his income, giving it to the feds in some top-down energy development fund to eventually trickle down some benefits to that farmer.

You also act like the farmer is helpless to do anything on his own separate from either an income tax surcharge or carbon fee and dividend program. Most folks can reduce their energy consumption 10-20% just through behavior changes like turning the thermostat down when they are out, covering windows at night, turning down their hot water heaters, etc. without any real loss in the quality of their lives. You don't give that farmer much credit for what he is capable of, something that I think he might resent.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

When you get to the smokers you tip your hand. Histroically smiokers were doing nothing wrong. We discovered it was stupid and taxed it more. We also all are paying a penalty through the medical costs of treating the results. Of course the smokers have a choice - they can stop. It costs them nothing to do so (maybe a short term program).

Exactly what is the choice for the farmer other than to spend a lot of money to fix something that was perfectly legal yesterday. He cannot stop using power or gas. While he can conserve it a bit much of his costs are locked into his home and location. He has very little choice. Equally importantly the choice of coal was never his. He cannot choose anything else in what amounts to the rest of his life.

How can you compare a decision to stop smoking to decisions to make your home more efficient (lots of dollars) or to convert from coal to something else (no way to do it ) 1. There is no market 2. The problem is a long term one 3. Each individual has a different problem 4. Nobody chose to be in this predicament 5. You are choosing to punish people through a tax for things they did not create and for which they have little alternative at fixing despite large costs in the short haul. 6. What you are proposing is despicable! And no we will not get to agreement.
Of course, my burden is only to establish that there is a class of citizens who will disagree with your approach for a rational reason having nothing to do with disbelief in climate change issues. I have met that burden.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

The feds, after collecting data on air pollution in the 50s and 60s, determined the nature and scope of the dangers, the sources, and many of the solutions to reduce air pollution. The 1970 Clean Air Act set a series of gradually decreasing allowances for key pollutants, while the auto industry was given a similar set of standards through which the auto industry, like other polluters, had to install higher priced but lower polluting equipment in order to meet the standards set by the feds. Now what happened to the price of an automobile? What happened to the price of electricity? What happened to the price of many manufactured products where pollution abatement measures were taken? The price went up. It was a gradual process, and the process was stimulated by both "carrots and sticks" that rewarded switching over and punished violators and the result was a great decrease in the amount of pollution present, particularly in our cities, with greatly improved health conditions for all. Now that farmer when his 1964 Ford Galaxy dropped its main seal and started using too much oil, had to pay more than he cared for for his 1976 Ford Taurus, and when he bought his next Taurus in 1989, and again in 2006 he quite a bit more each time. Did he have a choice not to pay more each time? Don't think so. And if he didn't have enough cash saved each time to buy a new car, he'd be looking for deals on a used car with less mileage and problems than his current vehicle. All of these things apply to that farmer's heating/cooling bills and his home. To say that it's unfair to that rural farmer that the pollution/mileage regulations benefit primarily urban dwellers, or that since he lives in the country he has no choice but to use his car more than a city dweller, all of which is true, is not really a point of discussion when he goes to the car dealer, is it? Fair? Just a condition of your lot in life. Nothing to do about it? You underestimate the ingenuity of that farmer, who I bet would rather work with that dividend in his pocket than trust the government to take some of his taxes and solve it for him.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Are you really interested in learning something about what part of the climate change we are experiencing is natural cycles and which part is human-induced? If that is the case, I recommend reading this: http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-natural-cycle.htm

And regarding the veracity of your statement about the entire solar system, if once again you are interested in learning more about that, I recommend this: http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-other-planets-solar-system.htm

And it looks like the current solar cycle, already estimated to be much lower than any in recent memory, may be petering out even lower than predicted: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/index.html

Seems to me 'ol Sol is giving us a free pass this solar cycle in order to get our ducks in a row better and reduce our carbon emissions before the sun has a REAL solar maximum and we feel those effects on top of an increasingly efficient heat-holding atmosphere. We risk ignoring the writing on the wall at our own peril!

msezdsit 3 years ago

"At a reasonable rate increase it will take upwards of a generation to replace our coal plants with renewable energy supported by something like gas turbines to fill in when there is no wind. We will not have a robust power distribution system for at least a decade so until then we can not even buy from most other places. From where does the alternative come?" moderate.

Don't take this as agreeing with your narrative but just remember Jimmy Carter addressed this issue a couple generations ago and he was swept out of office. We could now quite likely be free of fossil fuel use had we just kept on the course Jimmy Carter tried to establish.

My point being: To complain about how long this will take and use that as an excuse to, as they say in congress these days, "just kick the can down the road" is no solution at all. By just conservative use of energy "we the people" could do a lot towards helping move toward a solution. Thats why I am always appreciative when I see people who could afford to pay whatever it costs for energy so long as its available choose to conserve their energy use for the better of all the people. People who can't afford the energy conserve due to their economic situation.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

I want to tax just not selectively. It is a national problem and should be treated as such.

jafs 3 years ago

Some numbers from the UN report.

Apparently we've increased emissions world wide by 20% since 2000, and we'd need to reduce them by 14% by 2020, to limit the increase in temperatures to about 3.5%, which must be meaningful in some way, although I'm sure that even that much of an increase will have negative effects on the planet and life on it.

We're not on track with that goal, and there's a large disparity between projected use and that 14% reduction.

Certainly in this country, it's pretty easy for people to lower their use by 14%, without suffering very much, if at all, just by using common sense and mindfulness.

Why aren't we doing that?

On a personal note, I will say that we use a lot less energy and water than most, and I've been concerned about the environment and human actions that destroy it for many years (even before Al Gore!). And, we have modern conveniences like CH/A, washer/dryer, dishwasher, etc. and are quite comfortable.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Yep but not my issue. Please stay with the issue.

jafs 3 years ago

It's a response to some things you've posted on other blogs.

Seems to me if you're really interested in what kinds of changes are necessary (ie. how much is enough), as you've asked before, you'd be interested in this.

But, on the other hand, if that interest isn't genuine, then I suppose information like this isn't valuable to you.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

JAFS, one war at a time. This one is about a carbon tax as opposed to an income tax surcharge.

msezdsit 3 years ago

"Are We Ignoring Climate Change or The Ill Conceived and Inequitable Proposed Solutions"

You make this comment as if we have a choice to ignore the solutions while we suffer the results. We pay either way. Which would you choose? No choice is to have that choice made for you by suffering the frequency of consequences. Ie., Sandy, Katrina, f5 tornadoes.....................on and on and on.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

No my solution is to tax everyone to start the process of fixing the worst problem.

blindrabbit 3 years ago

All of you posters who claim to have a logical, scientific solution to aleviating Climate Change/Global Warming issues are looking in the wrong direction and on top of that you are blaspheming against the Lord. According to the environmental sage of the U.S. Senate and Ranking Minority Chairman of the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works, James Mountain Inhofe (R-Okla.) all of this nonsense is refuted in a close reading of the Bible. James has been known to also have some issues with the "Age of the Earth", Supporting Creationism is Public Education, and is an avid supporter of the Dubya/Darth prior regime. Additionally, James has been baptized in crude oil and natural gas and fed at the trough of the oil industry. The sad thing is that Inhofe is in a position to throw a monkey wrench into comprehensive environmental legislation in the Senate, due to his Fundamentalist ideas.

We can take some satisfaction in the fact that Oklahoma has borne the brunt of many environmental issues that may relate to the very things that Inhofe has opposed, including record droughts, tornadoes, prairie fires, and debilitating rains and snows. Inhofe must be correct, as the Lord is repaying the residents of Oklahoma for not fully following his admonishments.

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

And then there is the member of the House Science Committee, Paul Brown:

On September 27, 2012, in a speech at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman's Banquet, Broun stated that the sciences of embryology, evolution, and the Big Bang are "lies straight from the Pit of Hell ... lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior." This position is in support of his stance supporting Young Earth creationism. In the speech he also said that, "Earth is about 9,000 years old," that "it was created in six days as we know them," and that mainline Christian denominations are "going to send their people to hell".

Richard Heckler 3 years ago

*--- Global Warming 101 by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

  • What is global warming? Think of a blanket, covering the Earth.

--- When CO2 and other heat-trapping emissions are released into the air, they act like a blanket, holding heat in our atmosphere and warming the planet.

--- Overloading our atmosphere with carbon has far-reaching effects for people all around the world—more extreme storms, more severe droughts, deadly heat waves, rising sea levels, and more acidic oceans, which can affect the very base of the food chain.

* What causes global warming? We do.

Tropical deforestation, also by human hands, is another major contributor. When these forests are burned, they release huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and because the forests no longer exist, they are no longer available to absorb CO2.

*Who can reduce global warming? We can.

--- But we can also help by calling for government and corporate decision makers to reduce the threat of global warming.

USA could place limits on the amount of carbon that polluters are allowed to emit.

USA could be investing way more in clean and efficient energy technologies, industries, and approaches.

USA could be expanding the use of renewable energy.

USA could be more aggressively increasing the efficiency of the cars we drive .

USA should be reducing tropical deforestation and wildfire risks and taking other steps to transform our energy system to one that is cleaner and less dependent on oil, coal, and other fossil fuels.


Richard Heckler 3 years ago

When Mother Earth was born there were not billions of gas powered vehicles around nor were there millions of coal fired plants scattered about the planet nor were there millions of farmers being convinced that toxic chemicals were healthy for our food and water supply.

Cancer and carcinogenic chemicals make love to each other yet the experience is at the least quite painful, frequently fatal and most certainly expensive. Why do we humans accept this nonsense?

George Lippencott 3 years ago

JAFS and Doug County et al

Really rich people will not be impacted by a carbon tax one bit.

The real issue and the one you refuse to address is that a carbon tax hurts the middle class selectively and most heavily on those dependent on carbon energy. Since addressing that use will take decades you are punishing those people for something they did not do and cannot fix quickly because you now want to change the way we live and do so in a hurry.

We are in a useless argument. Your solution, Doug County, is political and not technical. It transfers income AND further reduces the standard of living of the American middle class after the near 14% reduction that has already been achieved - in part because of earlier efforts at climate change mitigation

Do you think for a moment that thinking people have not realized that the decision to compete the American worker with mush cheaper foreign workers was in no small part a direct effort to reduce carbon consumption in this country?

Do you really think that a 30% reduction in living standard in a generation will not lead to political consequences or are you banking on my argument being accurate and only a portion of the electorate being impacted so that we can divide it and press on however unequally we chose to do so?

Is it not interesting that the Red States are likely to be hit the hardest with your proposed solution? I wonder what impact a carbon tax will have on our elites – most of whom live in locations not likely to be heavily impacted. This is the real reason you reject a general tax increase because you want to divide and conquer.

AS I opined at the beginning, some of us have figured out that the SOLUTION being offered to address climate change is the problem and not the need to address climate change. Look at the fire and brimstone (water in NY, etc.) and not at the curtain (no jobs in Kansas).

A general tax is the answer to a national problem

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

What incentive would a general tax impose upon energy producers to consider non-fossil fuel alternatives when increasing or replacing infrastructure? You haven't addressed that question, and I think you know the answer is 'none'.

"Do you really think that a 30% reduction in living standard ..." Hmm, where did you get that figure?

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Since I am not using incentive up front and since most energy producing entities wre either publicly owned or publicly controlled the general tax as I described it pays directly to switch. No inefficiency through misplaced incentives.

We all know the cost of energy will increase without a carbon tax. That alone will motivate most rational users to seek efficiency. In my examples I postulate loans from the fund created to property owners to incentivize efficiency just as the carbon tax resources do. No difference except for the source of funding.

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

Who will pay whom to switch to what? How will the spending of the incentives be controlled so that the money is used as intended?

Why is it you think the government is better at picking solutions than the market?

Where did you 30% figure come from?

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Mod, I will try once again to address your concerns, bringing up many points that I have brought up in the past with you but since you jump around in your comments without following threads, and even jump from column to column (I am having to post this response in two columns since your post was twice--is this merely a scheme for you to rack up greater numbers of "viewer hits???"), it is very difficult to carry on a coherent conversation with you. This is a real problem that you have to get better at if you expect folks to take you seriously.

Your concern: really rich people wont' be impacted by the carbon fee and dividend program, while folks in the middle class will be affected more. My response: the EPA determined that this is exactly what happened with the introduction of pollution controls on automobiles after the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the increased standards for cars beginning in 1976. Rich folks could absorb the costs no problem, and continued to buy more of them than everyone else, while the poorest continued to get used cars, leaving the middle class with the bulk of the additional burden, adjusting by spending less on other things. And guess what: the air for everyone got better--much better. With carbon fee and dividend, rich folks will continue on their merry way, with a significant number of them going for "state of the art green" which will help make the technologies more affordable for the rest of us, and the poorest will continue to need subsidies to keep up, leaving the rest of us to foot the majority of the bill. Other than it sounding eerily like the overall discussion about how to reduce the federal debt, there's really nothing very remarkable about this issue, other than the fact that there are ways to mitigate the transition, with energy efficiency programs above and beyond the carbon dividend to help folks better afford to cut down on their waste. If you want to get in a ruffle about disparities, this is the area you should be pushing for, since Kansas is so bad about rolling out these kinds of programs compared to other states.

I have no idea how you are coming up with the 14% reduction figure, if the topic is about the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere, which is the relevant data to be looking at. Here's a graph of where we're at as a country:

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

(continued from post above) Yes, China emits more than us (2360 vs 1790 million metric tonnes in 2009) but per capita, it works out to 16.9 tonnes per person in the US and only 5.3 tonnes in China according to the International Energy Agency, and carbon dioxide has gone from rising 1.3ppm per year from 1970-1979 to 2.3ppm in 2010. The issue is getting worse, we're a major reason, and we can help lead the world in this arena if we choose to take it on.

One more thing: if you had gone to the carbontax.org website like I suggested, the issues tab under regional disparities puts your concerns about how Washington State will benefit from having lots of hydro while here in Kansas, we're condemned to pay higher priced coal as far as the eye can see. Here's a quote:

"Hassett et al. calculated that in 2003 the largest variation between regions was less than 0.37% of household income. (This was less than the maximum regional differences in the two other years chosen for the analysis — 0.42% in 1987, and 0.89% in 1997.) They concluded:

Carbon taxes are… thought to have uneven regional effects. We … find that the regional variation is at best modest. By 2003 variation across regions is sufficiently small that one could argue that a carbon tax is distributionally neutral across regions."

The article goes on to address any disparities that still turn up in reality vs. what the studies suggest: "Prof. Metcalf suggests a way to mitigate distributional disparities: adjust the amounts of revenue recycled according to the average regional carbon tax burden. For instance, if households in the Pacific Northwest would indeed pay less in carbon taxes than the national average, individuals or households in that region would receive proportionately lesser payroll tax reductions or direct distributions of revenue. Households in the Plains states might receive a correspondingly greater share of the recycled revenue. In this way, a revenue-neutral carbon tax could be regional-neutral as well."

I think I've addressed all of your concerns--let me know if there are any others, OK?

George Lippencott 3 years ago

No you have not!

You have suggested a very complicated government managed effort to try to address regional differences - one of my concerns. At that point why not just tax people without creating this massive redistribution process.

Your carbon tax still taxes the hell out of the middle class and most redistribution schemes associated with a carbon tax do not return the money there. A portion is returned to low income folk. The middle class is stuck with paying the tax and paying for the costs of addressing the inefficiencies and the generation costs. Once again all I see is a massive government program passing money around while the KCC increases rates to the middle to pay for fixing the generation problem.

Bottom line - you can not tax people tied to carbon use, use a lot of the tax for research, program operation, experimentation, giving a bunch back to the low income folk an still have any for the rest of us.

I remind you that most power generators are public or publicly managed. We can make them do what we want . What we need is resources to help offset the costs that will fall disproportionately on coal users. My tax proposal does that.

WE tax everybody because this is national problem, we create a management system as we will have to do no matter, we allocate funds through that system to address the generation problems and to help low income and older properties adopt energy efficiency. For now we allow the rest of us to address the increasing costs of energy by personal investment or paying more for it. In a decade we revisit.

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

Actually, DC has addressed your regional disparity argument, and, no, it is a much simpler plan to implement than the one you propose.

We have no idea what an optimal mix of solar, wind, nuclear, hydro, etc. will be, and that will vary by region. Your solution requires the government to foresee this accurately, and spend money appropriately, independently of special interests groups and lobbists. Again, I have more faith in the free market, and you have more faith in government, and I find that ironic.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

And exactly how does levying an across the board income tax "solve" climate change? I've asked you over and over again how such a system would result in lower emissions and you have continued to ignore me. You continue to ignore the information that I have repeatedly given you about how the carbon fee and dividend plan is actually quite simple as it is levied at the well head and mine, not at the end user, and the dividend is distributed by the IRS, same folks who gave you the stimulus check: they know how to do it.

It does not tax the hell out of the middle class and I've repeatedly given you specifics on that as well: go look. Everyone: rich, middle class and poor receive the dividend, and there's even the option to tweak it to make it so that those in the middle could receive more if there is actual income disparities that are significant--did you read anything I sent you?

You still have not addressed the huge issues with an additional income tax--are you going to? Exactly how will congress pass a tax increase on this issue? What will happen to this money? Who will get it? How will it solve the problem, and be specific. Inquiring minds want to know.

I never said that the the carbon fees go to research, program operation, experimentation and only low income. It goes back to everyone, directly, period. You are making less and less sense every time you post, and I am afraid that I'm going to walk away from this if you cannot show me that you are paying more attention or absorbing anything I provide you to address your concerns.

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

How, exactly, do you think paying more generalized taxes to the feds will result is less carbon production? What, exactly, do you imagine the feds doing with the money that will result in less CO2 production?

Why is it you think a tax targeting carbon use will cause a 30% reduction in standard of living, and your general tax will not?

George Lippencott 3 years ago

The 30% reduction is selective as the carbon tax falls selectively on heavy carbon users. They will pay the tax and for for the utilities and for themselves. (These are the ones with little return form the carbo0n tax as they make too much. A significant number of low carbon users with your carbon tax will probably see only the cost increases of energy as it will happen no matter what.

The general tax takes exactly what w target it to do. The carbon tax will have all sorts of impacts depending on carbon use.

See note to Doug County above as to how we use the resources from my proposed tax..

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

"The 30% reduction is selective ..." What 30% reduction?

"...as the carbon tax falls selectively on heavy carbon users. " Yes, and do you know a better way to convince people to use less carbon? Why is it you think the rich use less carbon than the middle class?

George Lippencott 3 years ago

I almost missed this one. Thank you for making my point. Your approach is directed at punishing the middle class for having created the carbon environment we live in

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

What 30% reduction, and why do you think richer people use less carbon fuel than less rich?

Boston_Corbett 3 years ago

When someone uses the handle "moderate" you may rest assured they are not.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Yes, ,exactly what is immoderate about proposing an income tax surcharge on all of us?

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

A carbon fee and dividend program that is revenue neutral is more moderate than a hike in income taxes.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

In theory. At the individual level it is not. I have provided a concrete example while you have expounded on aggregate theory. How does the dividend make the farmer whole even assuming all of what is taxed is returned.

Not all, versions of the carbon tax/fee return it all.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

I have explained exactly how it can make the farmer whole: there is very little if any disparity between income group burden and region, and I have given you ample resources with which to explore this as well as corrective measures to fix any disparities that may appear in practice. You continue to ignore it, so I am not sure what else to provide you. You can lead a horse to water.....

You are the only one who is talking about different versions of carbon fee and dividend, which is part of your problem. I have been very consistent throughout this conversation talking about a revenue-neutral program that levies the fee at the well/mine source, increases the fee gradually over time in predictable amounts, giving both supply side and demand sides ample economic signals from which loans can be secured, products developed and sold in the marketplace that will a) reduce waste and/or b) provide low carbon alternatives. Dividends are given directly to the taxpayer in exactly the same manner as the Stimulus checks were distributed: by the IRS, using existing infrastructure that can handle such processes easily. Your dancing around these facts do not change the reality that your arguments are all over the map and do not respond to cogent, relevant information. I must therefore conclude that they are ideologically driven and impervious to the facts.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

I am 70 and very cranky. I am tired of all sorts of notions by the left that redistribute money I spent a lifetime earning to people who are in the early phases of their lives. The proposed carbon tax is just one more of those. At a personal level carbon use tends to relate to income levels. The proposed carbon tax I address takes money form the higher carbon generators and after siphoning off portion for various government programs gives some back to lower income folk. Thai is called redistribution.

After having spent a lifetime contributing to various government programs trying to address all sorts of wrongs (poverty, environment, health, drugs, etc.) now I am bring nominated to disproportionally contribute to another. The younger set (Gen X and Y) have only begun to contribute as their taxes tend to be much lower than those who are older. This misbegotten creation (carbon tax) will impact them little but in their hedonistic heads it will punish those who created the problem.

The highway system, moon landing, our wars, and the programs I mentioned above were all national efforts paid from the common pot. That is exactly how we should begin to address the carbon problem. In time after we have addressed the sunk costs of existing infrastructure we can move to a market based solution. There is no market based solution to this infrastructure problem in the short run.

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

Doesn't the idea of more taxation and government control of the economy run counter to the Republican platform?

George Lippencott 3 years ago

So what. We use government when we need to to get things done we can not do as individuals.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Your vague throwing of money at the government in order for them to "fix things" will not accomplish anything. You have not outlined a mechanism through which the government can "fix" this issue, you have not shown how the congress will agree to raise taxes to fund this "fix," and you have not shown how it will incentivize change in existing markets the way a carbon directed fee and dividend program will. Most folks have stopped believing in government as a magical intervention.

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

The whole point of a carbon tax is to provide incentive to replace fossil-fuel based infrastructure with something else. The proponents of the idea realize that it will take time for this to happen, and that is why they have proposed a phased-in approach. You seem to be ignoring this fact and going with someone's conjecture that the tax is necessarily heavy, abrupt, and disruptive.

I've stated this repeatedly, and you have changed the subject. You are failing the rules for having a rational discussion. http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/03/how-to-have-a-rational-discussion/

George Lippencott 3 years ago

And you sir have avoided the impact to my farmer except to argue that somehow the return will "make it right". Your are arguing the group and i the individual. Why take it disproportionately to begin with. Use my national tax to solve national problems such as dependency on coal and the need for a more robust power grid.

The inconvenient fact is that energy costs are already on the rise and we are responding to that reality as best we can. You and those who advocate with you just want a faster pace with little regard as to how it impacts individuals.

jafs 3 years ago

I think your first sentence really says it all :-)

jafs 3 years ago

Hey, you said it! I was just agreeing with you. And, note the smiley face, which indicates a joke.

Chris Golledge 3 years ago

Moderate, I find that you are repeating many of the talking point myths discussed here. I suggest you check your sources. Who told you that a carbon tax would fund climate research? The proponents are firm in the position that it should be revenue-neutral; that means nothing can be funded with it, including climate research.


George Lippencott 3 years ago

Depends which spokesmen is doing the talking. But even if revenue neutral at the aggregate it is not revenue neutral to my farmer..

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Well, myths they may be as there is no agreed to carbon tax/fee. There are versions that do not return it all. There are versions that redistribute it to lower income folk. There are versions that redistribute it regionally.. They all rely on taxing carbon users.

If you simply tax entities and return it than there is no incentive. Your whole approach relies on taxing (punishing) those who use more carbon whether that is their fault or even if there is not much they can do about it.

You have avoided that reality because that is the basic mechanism of your approach. I reject it as unnecessary and inequitable. Tax everyone and direct the funds to the needed national infrastructure improvements. This latter includes low income properties.

Save my farmer.

vinyl_chloride 3 years ago

carbon tax will RUIN the American economy, that's exactly what the enviro-whackos want.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Your concerns, all of which are political, basically come down to a fear that Congress will do nothing with a broad tax so you want to play what Clinton call triangulation. Put the burden on a minority of the population with givebacks to traditional Democratic Voters. Makes you feel good but does not directly drive the real pollution sources.

Utilities are one major source. We control them. WE can already make them address climate change as fast as we want. The driver must however be mitigated by how much costs the rate payers can manage. Since some areas are carbon intensive and others are not. This should be paid nationally rather than stuck to those who have traditionally used coal. Many of these need a national solution anyway. Why create a bureaucracy to move money around regionally when you can use existing bureaucracy (KCC) to target what needs to be done.

Autos are another major source. We have driven CAFE standards way up. My Hybrid was no more expensive than a regular vehicle (same make and model) so we are already subsidizing carbon mitigation. That is also being addressed as fast as the economy can absorb the changes. I do not see what a carbon tax buys here other than a feel good effort. And don't tell me public transportation. The cost differential is so great no rational carbon tax will make much difference.

The next major hurdle is personal living space. Since fixing most issues with structures is a costly proposition where return takes years a carbon tax, unless really high, will make little impact on decisions. It will remove funds that the property owner might have contributed to doing what actually needs to be done - energy efficiency. It is also very inequitable as new homes are much more energy efficient and older ones are not so with a carbon tax you choose to punish people for choices made historically and which take a lot of time and money to fix. We have already changed building codes so that future structure will be more energy efficient. In time the already existing incentives will cause people to make energy efficient choices.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Lastly, there are corporate generators. They are motivated by profit. Increasing their costs will certainly motivate them to make investments in reducing their costs. A carbon tax would be just fine for this target. Of course regulatory solutions will do well here without making my farmer pay because we are after GE. You have my blessing in carbon taxing corporations all you want with the understanding that they will pass those costs on to most of us. Of course our history with large corporation indicates they will get exemptions from the carbon tax (or probably my income tax) because they always have. Tax them more and you will drive more of them offshore. Addressing corporations requires some real; thought.

I have paid attention to you and reject your punitive solution. I want to direct resources near term to the biggest contributors - utilities - an area already substantially under government control. Following that I want to help (not tax) people to make their homes more energy efficient. I support the president’s efforts to regulate carbon if directed at corporate polluters and utilities (when coupled with my tax that provides national resources to address the utilities problem).

My approach is broad based, focused and equitable. Your solution is punitive, motivated by the perception that you must selective "punish" people because you do not have broad support in paying for what you want at the pace you want it. Shades of Obama Care.

You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people (democrats) all of the time but you cannot fool us all every time. A carbon tax is inequitable and poorly focused - and note, I have not even addressed the economic dislocation it would cause in the high carbon regions.

Give it up guys/gals.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

I detect a bit of a shift that reveals a glimmer of a mechanism for your unpassable income tax hike financed energy plan. You will collect the tax from everyone, plus somehow tax the corporations even more, perhaps through a carbon fee which will be passed on to consumers, and all of these taxes and fees will be given to utilities to promote energy efficiency and renewables? Is this what you are proposing? Just a clarifying question, as you have provided so few details to your tax-across-the-board scheme, which still defies the political impossibility of passing such a tax through congress. I want to be sure I understand what you are proposing before asking any more questions/making any more observations.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

On second thought, I'm really not seeing anything in your plan that addresses the fact that congress will not in a million years pass an income tax hike to do what you want to do. Because of your not addressing this elephant in the room, I really see no need for me to take more of my time going further down this path. Of course if you have some workaround that you have yet to share on how to get around this wall, I'm all ears, but I'm not holding my breath.

Furthermore, I've laid out what a rational person would conclude are at least honest attempts to address your concerns about a carbon fee and dividend plan creating undue burdens on the middle class, regional disparities, assisting folks in need during the transition to a more energy efficient lifestyle, a more resilient and responsive energy grid and one based increasingly on renewables. Since you continue to ignore the information I've provided, or are sort of incorporating them into your plan of late, I must come to the conclusion that you are not interested in an honest dialogue. I am not even saying that a carbon fee and dividend plan is the only way to go, but your plan is certainly not a viable alternative, so I feel I'm wasting my time and other peoples' eyes debating you on this. Given this evidence, I must bid this conversation adieu and wish you the best in however you want to describe your mission.

George Lippencott 2 years, 12 months ago

Punish the innocent because Congress will not do its job!! What a sorry state we have been driven to by our politics. And yes I agree your proposal is sincere. We are really nor arguing climate change but legal rights. I do not believe in ex post facto laws. To me that is the essence of the difference in our proposals. I would also argue that my proposal is just as responsible as yours. Your counter is political achievability. I agree it will be hard to obtain an additional tax but punishing a minority because you believe that doing so is achievable (and you may be right) is an unfortunate artifact of our world today. But- that written- my argument is as workable as yours and there is a legitimate reason for people to disagree with your approach and still believe in climate change and the need to address it.
As I believe I am the older citizen it has never ceased to amaze me how we are seemingly willing to forego our hard won rights when we see a problem such as war, social injustice, drug abuse, terrorism and now climate change.
I also do not understand how a carbon tax can be perceived as anything but a tax increase, albeit selective. In the end it must compete with job loss, impact on communities and business and other things that have historically been strong motivators of elected officials.

georgeofwesternkansas 3 years ago

Wind energy is a joke, In this day and age we need reliable and constant eneryg sources. Next time you are traveling across state to see grandma drive your wind powered car for 800 miles. Or maybe you farmers can use your wind powered tractors to get the crop in next spring.

How are we making these carbon atoms we seem to be releasing into the air??

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