Taxing Illusions–Protecting Us From Global Warming While Global Cooling Takes Over

https://grantcoulson.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/incentiveseverywherepicturecorrect1.jpg?w=444&h=288

 

    Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

    Wherein we see plans are afoot to tax carbon. Since there is no Global Warming, but Global Cooling, there can be no greenhouse gases. Thence, the experts are doubly wrong, taxing people to prevent something when the opposite is occurring or, as they say in politics, business as usual. We’ll fix that non-existent problem and it will only cost you a lot of money. As a bonus, you will be subject to preaching, finger-wagging and self-righteousness while they mention how lucky we are that they’re in charge.

National Post – (Latest Edition)

Canada’s carbon Taxapalooza

The provinces and Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission are leading a carbon tax attack on consumers

We hereby declare this to be Carbon Taxapalooza Week. The objective is to acknowledge and deplore the great stampede of provincial governments to tax the hell out of fossil fuels.

Some recent examples: Last week a Quebec tax committee called for a phasedin 5-cent-a-litre increase in gasoline taxes. Alberta didn’t wait for a committee report; its new budget added a 4¢ tax on gasoline starting immediately. Ontario is about to announce plans to join California’s capand-trade carbon emissions reduction scheme, essentially a carbon tax on industry. Whether the Liberal managers of the Ontario debtopia will also impose a new gasoline tax in its new budget remains to be seen. Any bets?

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    The only limit to the amount of money governments need is the amount we have.

Nationally, the campaign to accelerate the provincial attack on fossil fuel consumers will this week move into higher gear. On Tuesday, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, a self-appointed group of allegedly market-oriented economic policy wonks, will release a report calling for the provinces to adopt “carbon pricing” to help Canada tackle climate change. And on Wednesday, the head of the Ecofiscal Commission — McGill University’s Chris Ragan — will host a broadcast seminar titled “The Business of Carbon Pricing in Ontario.”

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   This report will tell us that these taxes will lead to more economic progress. We have so much taxation that it’s a wonder we’re not all millionaires.

So there we are, Canada, suddenly infested with politicians and high-end thought leaders plotting and scheming to bring the magic of carbon pricing to our gas tanks and economies.

Until now, Ontario hasn’t had much interest in carbon pricing, preferring instead to fight climate change through all manner of regulation and non-market price-fixing schemes. Instead of a carbon price to promote change in its coal-fired plants, Ontario moved in with sledgehammer regulations and shut the plants down. Then, instead of letting markets work to replace lost coal power, Ontario brought in feed-in-tariffs, a massive subsidy regime that has given Ontario consumers some of the highest cost electricity in the developed world.

Ontario’s fondness for markets has hitherto been non-existent. But now, having exhausted a range of bad policies, Ontario’s environment minister, Glen Murray, is pushing to adopt another set of allegedly less bad policies. Last December, on the eve of the muddled Lima, Peru, climate talks, Mr. Murray joined Quebec, California and British Columbia enviro ministers in a joint statement calling for “immediate collective action” to fight climate change.

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    If you’re on board with California, you know you’re in good company.

That collective action, apparently, involves Ontario joining the existing California-Quebec carbon-trading scheme. Because it involves a “market mechanism” whereby individual companies buy and sell a regulated quantity of carbon emissions, cap-and-trade is considered by some economic theorists as superior. The emission rights are created and regulated by the state or province, and prices are supposedly set in the market where the rights to emit are trading among corporate carbon emitters.

Nobel economist Ronald Coase is said to be the father of pollution trading. In practice, however, the theory that carbon capand-trade regimes are market-based and therefore avoid the costly burden of central planning and regulation is one of the great economic delusions of carbon tax advocacy. The Quebec and California systems involve thousands of pages of regulatory instruction and conformity. Governments control the carbon market, right down to the carbon sequestered in trees. To obtain carbon offsets in the California forest sector, companies are required — via a 100 page regulatory instruction — to essentially convert their business into a micro carbon-counting exercise.

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    This will require more government employees. Between this and carbon tax, we’re on our way to prosperity. These government employees will  be the worst kind. They will cost money  for salaries and benefits and be a drag on real economic activity.

California has sold more than $2 billion in carbon allowances under cap-and-trade since its inception in 2013. Ontario reportedly has its eye on $1-billion to $2 billion, although these schemes take years to set up and no cash will be landing for some time. Mostly, the Ontario cap-and-trade operation appears to be another PR hoist for Mr. Murray, who has already made a name for himself defending honey bees against a likely mythical pesticide scare.

Cap and trade tax revenues, like direct carbon taxes, are ultimately borne by consumers and soon find their way into government slush funds. California Gov. Jerry Brown has promised to use part of the capand-trade revenue to pay for a $68 billion bullet-train boondoggle. Quebec projects revenues of $3.3 billion between now and 2020, the money allegedly dedicated to renewable energy and other worthy green projects.

Over at the Canada Ecofiscal Commission, the thought leaders are keen backers of cap and trade, but if not carbon trading, a straight carbon tax will suffice. Both Mr. Ragan, of the commission, and Mr. Murray like to promote the idea that British Columbia’s $30-a-tonne carbon tax, equivalent to 7¢ on a litre of gasoline, has been effective. As Mr. Murray said in his joint statement with California and the provinces, the B.C. carbon tax has “reduced fossil fuel use by 16%” since it was introduced in 2007.

Evidence for this claim, often made, is far from clear in any statistics. Ottawa’s data on greenhouse gas emission shows no change in B.C. carbon emissions between 2005 and 2012. British Columbians, in other words, are paying a carbon tax that does nothing but slosh around in general government revenues, with no environmental benefits.

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Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Days of Songs and Mirrors: A Jacobite in the ‘45.”
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

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