Could there be a carbon dioxide tax without taxing every family in the United States, depending on the number of members in that family. The human contribution on the planet is huge. To be nearly precise we believe the 7.5 billion people on our planet emit 2.7 billion tons of CO2 each year which is about 10% of our total fossil fuel emissions each year. Should we limit the number of children per family as China did not so long ago .

The rest of our contribution is from power plants factories and automobiles. Most atmospheric carbon dioxide actually comes from decaying vegetation and the Earth’s oceans which are the greatest of all reservoirs of carbon dioxide. We can not limit them, so lets tax us.

Actually we are just one species of carbon dioxide emitting life. It is estimated that all managed livestock in the world emits 4 billion tons of carbon dioxide. We guess we could tax all the farmers and ranchers who provide their meat for our sustenance. It might not please the farmers and ranchers but the vegetarians among us would jump for joy. But this would not help either as 90% of the CO2 from all living things arise not from us or animals but from anaerobic bacteria and fungi. These organisms metabolize dead plant and animal matter in soil via decay processes that recycle carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. The total production of CO2 for all living things is over 400 billion tons more than ten times the estimated production from burning fossil fuels thought to be about 33 billion tons.

If Joe Biden gets the Democratic nomination and then wins the Presidency he says he will put carbon emission regulations on about everything . Actually he means a carbon dioxide tax. Carbon of course is coal dust and lamp black sounding more ominous than trying to limit each breath which results in carbon dioxide emission.

It is not likely that a carbon dioxide tax would produce any measurable change in the CO2 in the atmosphere, but it would damage the U.S. economy and enrage the citizenry.

Many prominent folks, including economists Ben Bernanke and Paul Volker, previous chairmen of the Federal Reserve, have proposed a carbon dioxide tax and humorously claimed it would be revenue neutral. They intend you to believe that the the government will spend it all back on things for your well being. If you believe that I have a bridge or island to sell you.

It may be revenue neutral for the government but it sure will not be for you John Q Public. Your energy costs will skyrocket as the costs of coal, natural gas and gasoline escalate. Worse yet the replacement by wind and solar must be backed up 100% with fossil fuel use for the frequent times when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.

It will be wonderful for Elon Musk and his electric Tesla who will continue to reap the benefits of tax subsidies from your pocket. Gasoline powered cars will rise in price to make the Tesla’s of the world more competitive at those higher prices.

The real powers behind a “carbon tax” are neither economists or politicians, they are the folks who lead anti “carbon “campaigns such as Bill McKibben whose web site 350.org rails against all carbon dioxide emissions. He has said “we need to to do everything, not just a price on carbon, but dramatic subsidies for renewables to speed their spread. Not just a price on “carbon” but an end to producing coal and gas and oil on public land. Not just a price on “carbon” but a ban on fracking, which is sending clouds of methane into the atmosphere”.

Folks like him want to make life in America considerably less comfortable tomorrow than it is today because inexpensive energy is the key to advancing our nations standard of living.

Author

  • Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition. He has authored more than 1,000 magazine and journal articles and 36 books.