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View Diary: Sanders-Boxer climate protection bill includes carbon fee for nearly 3,000 top fossil fuel polluters (91 comments)

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  •  Helping individuals with higher energy bills? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sij

    Who do you think is going to pay for this?  The big bad power companies?  No.  The consumer.  Something for everyone.. geez.

    So, no thanks.

    The US is at its lowest emissions in 20 years according to last year's Energy Department report.  Let's see China (whose economy is chugging along quite nicely and could afford energy taxes) take on some of these ideas.  Our economy would collapse if these measures were instituted today.

    •  I think that's where the rebates to citizens come (7+ / 0-)

      in. Also, think about this. People are already paying for global warming and will pay with their lives at some point. Great that we are making headway on emissions, but so much more must be done. In addition, you can't get China on board until we are already on board. I would suggest also that we start taxing imports on the basis of their cargo footprint unless the exporter has already taxed their exports accordingly, the idea being that the Chinese can collect the tax, or we can, but either way it will be collected.

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 01:33:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That rebate part makes no sense (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sij

        The Alaskan model?

        The Alaskan model takes part of the profits from natural resources and shares it with its citizens.

        This does nothing of the kind.  This would tax power companies who would raise prices on consumers to pay for the taxes and then the government would turn around and give 60% of the tax the consumers paid to the providers back to the consumer!  Only a bureaucracy like Washington could think up a goofy scheme such as that!

        •  Not what I read. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HeyMikey

          Maybe I misinterpreted, but I understood that 60% of the revenue would be mailed out as checks to people. Also, power utilities, at least in CA, are controlled by the PUC and cannot just raise rates as they like.

          However, IMO, all the revenue should go to the Treasury, and the money used  to pay off the national debt. That's something that would get fiscal conservatives on board, because without them this plan is DOA.

          For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

          by Anne Elk on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 01:49:18 PM PST

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          •  No. Fiscal conservatives would not get on board (0+ / 0-)

            for a scheme that would force businesses to leave the US in droves.  GDP will drop.  There will be more and more unemployed and less coming into the government as revenue.  We will not lower the debt with such a scheme.  More likely we would raise it.

            Businesses and industries simply move to one of the free-rider countries who simply do not care about how much coal they are burning (China and India) or about the health of their citizens or the planet.

            China and India will bring on 400 to 600 Gigawatts of new coal power plants between now and 2020.  That is where we need to concentrate globally.

            In the US, we need to convert as many coal plants to natural gas while pushing renewables.  Renewables will take many more decades to start putting a dent in power generation from fossil fuels.  But switching to natural gas in the interim has already reduced our carbon output immensely.

            •  Evidence? (7+ / 0-)

              Two reasons that's not likely to happen. And a third point: even if it does happen, it's still better than the alternative.

              1. Krugman says:

              The Congressional Budget Office, relying on a survey of models, has concluded that Waxman-Markey [the last serious effort at pricing greenhouse emissions] “would reduce the projected average annual rate of growth of gross domestic product between 2010 and 2050 by 0.03 to 0.09 percentage points.” That is, it would trim average annual growth to 2.31 percent, at worst, from 2.4 percent. Over all, the Budget Office concludes, strong climate-change policy would leave the American economy between 1.1 percent and 3.4 percent smaller in 2050 than it would be otherwise
              .

              So the cost of serious climate action just isn't all that great.

              2. Corporate profits are setting records quarter after quarter. Corporate cash on hand is piling up unused, the highest it's been in approaching 60 years. Pricing GHG would stimulate corporations to spend some of that idle cash on solar panels, wind turbines, insulation, heat recapture, etc.--and while some of that stuff can be manufactured overseas, the installation jobs can't be outsourced.

              3. You seem to assume the cost of taking no action is zero. But every serious study has shown the cost of taking no action is extremely high. So the real question is not, "What does pricing GHG cost?" The real question is, "Does pricing GHG cost less than doing nothing?"

              Of course there is no 100% certainty what the cost will be; just a likelihood. But even though there is no 100% certainty that your house will burn down, you still buy homeowner's insurance, and you'd be crazy not to. It is worth spending something to avoid the risk of expensive consequences from climate change.

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:15:23 PM PST

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              •  Most people don't understand what an 8 degree (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Anne Elk, DBunn, HeyMikey

                Rise in temperature would mean.  They think that it means that a hot day in the summer will be 98 degrees, instead of 90 degrees.  The last time there was a 10 degree rise in global temperatures, something like 95% of all species went extinct.  The cost of doing nothing about this is extinction.  But, by all means, keep on bitching about your power bill.

            •  This utter bullshit about renewables taking... (12+ / 0-)

              ...many decades to become a larger percentage of U.S. power generation keeps being repeated. It's bogus. While you're right about the need for China to crank back on coal-powered generation, you ignore the fact that China is ahead of the U.S. in investment in renewables. You ignore the fact that 22% of Germany’s electricity supply now stems from renewables.

              Whatever happened to the American can-do spirit?

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:28:42 PM PST

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              •  A common belief in this country seems to be that (5+ / 0-)

                the Chinese are no more than warmongering, stupid peasants and the Germans are anal-retentive losers.  What an ignorant mistake.  

                The American can-do spirit seems to have been replaced by a belief that by telling everyone (and yourself) how exceptional and superior you are makes it so.

                We are rapidly becoming the haughty emperor strutting around the world with no clothes.

                "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

                by 417els on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 03:44:40 PM PST

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            •  Leave to where? (5+ / 0-)

              I don't buy your theory. Energy costs are higher in EU, higher in Japan, and China has other problems.

              For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

              by Anne Elk on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 03:58:35 PM PST

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          •  Nothing will get deficit hawks on board (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, Calamity Jean, HeyMikey

            because they are not concerned with the deficit except as a dog-whistle excuse to cut social programs for Blacks especially, but also for Latinos, women, the young, the old, the poor, and the middle class, and taxes for the rich.

            You can tell that the first part is so because they will not consider a penny in cuts to military spending, even on wasteful programs that the Pentagon insists it does not want and cannot use. You can tell that the second part is so because that is what they do whenever they have a chance, and tell us they mean to do in platform statements and campaign speeches. The Romney and Ryan budgets only included cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, education, and PBS. Republican governors cut education, police, and firefighting, and strip unions of bargaining and voting rights in the name of balancing budgets, and then give all of that money and more to the rich and to corporations in tax cuts.

            Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

            by Mokurai on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 03:32:06 PM PST

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            •  Then we are screwed. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DBunn

              But doesn't it make sense to at least craft a package that would have even a slight chance of getting conservatives on board? The Boxer plan is DOA, guaranteed. A carbon tax that permits marginal income tax rates not to rise - something conservatives love - might swing it. If you can't do that, then why even bother with proposing something like the Boxer/Sanders plan? Might as well try to find a plan that conservatives can find something to like. Two of the most liberal members of the Senate are very unlikely to get a bill through that body. This is just a fantasy.

              For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

              by Anne Elk on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 04:03:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not a fantasy (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HeyMikey

                Some ways to think of the Sanders/Boxer bill, other than as a fantasy:

                Somebody said, better to light a candle than curse the darkness. This bill lights a candle.

                It moves the Overton Window, perhaps.

                Proposing this bill amounts to speaking words that need to be spoken, even if some get angry, behave dismissively, or pretend they can't hear.

                Proposing this bill is one step in a long march. While you may well be correct that this one step won't get us to our goal, won't get us much of anywhere really, it still has value. It is still a step that needs to be taken.

                Think of it as a policy proposal that is pragmatic, intelligent, fair, and necessary, and would be effective if implemented (although, admittedly, it would not by itself be sufficient). Even in a place as dysfunctional as Washington DC, it is important to propose such ideas.

                •  Politics is about practicality. (0+ / 0-)

                  We always mock the tea party for coming up with pointless gestures. This is just a leftish version of gestural politics, and it actually does harm. Every time efforts like this fail it hammers home the impression that action on climate change is doomed to failure. This isn't lighting a candle; it's drawing a picture of a candle on a piece of toilet paper.

                  For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

                  by Anne Elk on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 09:29:38 PM PST

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                  •  Unlike the tea party's nonsense (0+ / 0-)

                    This progressive proposal has the advantage that it is pragmatic, intelligent, fair, and necessary, and would be effective if implemented .

                    Personally, I think that's a significant difference. How could you have missed it?

                    The 'drawing on toilet paper' bit I would call argument by insult. It is pretty good of kind, but the kind itself is not good.

                    •  It isn't practical if it doesn't have a prayer (0+ / 0-)

                      of attracting a majority. I'm not saying its not a good idea. I'm saying it has no path to winning a majority even in the Senate, let alone the House, and that just makes it nothing more than a gesture. How could you have missed that?

                      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

                      by Anne Elk on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 10:43:15 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  It has a prayer. AND it advances a strategy. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        DBunn
                        End of the Hastert Rule Spells Coalition Rule in House

                        By Ron Meyer
                        Jan. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

                        A center-left coalition is forming in the House of Representatives. Republicans may have a numerical majority in the House, but they aren’t necessarily the voting majority. In fact, they’re far from it.

                        The last two major bills — the fiscal cliff deal and the pork-filled Sandy bill — passed with less than 40 percent from the Republican caucus. We should expect this to become a trend.

                        The Sandy aid vote (the $50 billion supplemental bill to the $9 billion in aid already signed) passed with just 21 percent support from the caucus; 49 Republicans joined 192 Democrats to pass the measure. The fiscal cliff bill passed with only 35 percent; 85 Republicans joined 172 Democrats to seal the Biden-McConnell deal.

                        http://www.rollcall.com/...

                        The "Hastert rule" was a long-time practice of GOP Speakers of the House that no bill would come to the floor unless it was supported by a majority of GOP House members. The Hastert rule appears to be dying, or at least badly wounded.

                        It's a scandal that the Senate Dems under Reid didn't push through real filibuster reform. But perhaps a similar coalition can at last get some meaningful things through the Senate.

                        What's going on in the GOP is that some are realizing their old strategy of hating on brown people and making up economic shit is not the surefire winning electoral strategy it was 30 years ago. Losing the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 elections, including the last two to a black dude with an African-Islamic name, is starting to have an effect. Thank God.

                        And, of course, if the GOP stalls this newest bill, then Obama can more easily justify to the public using the EPA to take strong climate action. As the Supreme Court has already ruled, three times, he has the power to do under the current Clean Air Act.

                        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                        by HeyMikey on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:28:05 AM PST

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        •  Missing the point. (3+ / 0-)

          The rebate is an incentive to be energy efficient.

          Households A, B, and C get exactly the same rebate checks. Household A drives a Prius, which gets much better gas mileage than the average vehicle. Household B drives a vehicle that gets exactly average gas mileage. Household C drives a Hummer.

          Household B, with the average car, gets back 60% of what they spend on the greenhouse tax. (The other 40% of what they spent in GH tax pays down the national debt.)

          Household A, with the Prius, spent much less on the GH tax but gets back the same rebate as everybody else. Their rebate will be more than 60% of what they paid in GH tax. The rebate may even be more than 100% of what they paid in GH tax.

          Household C, with the Hummer, spent more on the GH tax but gets the same rebate, so they get less than 60% of what they spent.

          Household C is putting money in the pockets of households B and A. Household B is also putting money in the pockets of A.

          Net result: everybody tries to be A. GHG consumption drops.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:04:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you believe those rebates would ever be paid, (0+ / 0-)

            I have some swamp land in Florida you may be interested in.

            That sounds like the promise ACA was going to save every family in America $2500 on its health insurance bill per year.

            •  Evidence? (5+ / 0-)

              The most important parts of Obamacare don't even kick in till January 1 of next year. Do you have some evidence that it will not save the average American family significant money on healthcare?

              From today's news--perhaps attributable to the parts of Obamacare that have kicked in already:

              A sharp and surprisingly persistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs is helping to narrow the federal deficit, leaving budget experts trying to figure out whether the trend will last and how much the slower growth could help alleviate the country's long-term fiscal problems.

              In figures released last week, the Congressional Budget Office said it had erased hundreds of billions of dollars in projected spending on Medicare and Medicaid. The budget office now projects that spending on those two programs in 2020 will be about $200 billion, or 15 percent, less than it projected three years ago. New data also show overall health care spending growth continuing at the lowest rate in decades for a fourth consecutive year.

              http://www.cnbc.com/...

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:22:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  china is taking on these ideas (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rbird, HeyMikey, Eric Nelson, 417els, DBunn

      http://www.forbes.com/...

      just because they're burning through coal right now doesn't mean their govt isn't acting swiftly to prepare for their future.

      we look ridiculous by comparison.

      these proposals by boxer/sanders are a good step in the right direction.

    •   but, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HeyMikey

      "...the crisis facing our planet is much more serious than they had previously believed."

      AAAAAAH

    •  um, China produces about the same emissions as (6+ / 0-)

      the US does, but does it with five times the population.  The typical Chinese produces about one-fifth the emissions of the typical American.

      If the US were to reduce its per capita emissions to China's current level, the entire world would be much better off for it.

      But typically, we Americans prefer to NOT change our fat lazy wasteful profligate lifestyle, and to blame someone else instead.  (sigh)

    •  Zero order thinking is so wonderful (4+ / 0-)

      where you don't look at the actual consequences. The idea is that we price carbon higher, and get the development of  cheaper wind and solar much more quickly in return. Those whose bills are temporarily higher and can least afford it should get some of the carbon tax rebated to them.

      Right now, we pay massive subsidies to carbon fuel companies, directly and through our bloated military. When we have energy independence, we won't have to prop up corrupt governments in oil-rich countries.

      You argue like a Republican concern troll.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 03:21:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This actually saves more $ over time (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DBunn, HeyMikey

      than it spends - the old school thinking doesn't work the more these technologies come to scale in our economy. Retrofitting homes and businesses, adding wind and solar and efficiencies to energy use all pay for themselves and as these are applied more skillfully, they become more and more practical - this fiscal logic, besides the simple good sense of cleaner air and water needs to be widely understood, and widely covered in our media, even more than it is today - it's not a fringe phenomena - new energy, retrofitting, improved efficiencies, these are multi billion dollar industries, and growing worldwide.

      We'll be left quickly behind if we refuse to pay attention to the changes that are happening here...

      "We must not confuse absolutism for principle." - Barack Obama

      by Beastly Fool on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:38:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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