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National Academy of Science Urges Carbon Tax

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the let-the-flamewar-begin dept.

Earth 875

eldavojohn writes "Moving for the first time from a cautious message to a message of urgency, the National Academy of Science has advised the United States government to either adopt a carbon tax or cap and trade legislation. This follows a comprehensive study in three parts released today from the National Academies that, for the first time, urges required action from the government to curb climate change."

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875 comments

Who is going (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272270)

to tax all the volcanos around the world for their CO2 production?

Re:Who is going (3, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272338)

Being as volcanoes are responsible for an irrelevant amount of CO2, no one. Humanity produces several orders of magnitude more CO2 than volcanoes. It's like suggesting that we tax squirrels for using the road while they cross the street.

Re:Who is going (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272438)

Being as volcanoes are responsible for an irrelevant amount of CO2, no one. Humanity produces several orders of magnitude more CO2 than volcanoes. It's like suggesting that we tax squirrels for using the road while they cross the street.

Sure, but just for kicks, I'd like to see the IRS try to enforce taxes on both volcanoes and squirrels.

Re:Who is going (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272632)

I'd definitely like to see IRS personnel inside an active volcano.

Re:Who is going (2, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272654)

I'd definitely like to see IRS personnel inside an active volcano.

... while squirrels are biting their nuts!

Re:Who is going (3, Funny)

khayman80 (824400) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272672)

The real question is, if Xenu dropped a hydrogen bomb in after them, would their deaths release thetans? Or is it true that IRS employees and lawyers really are soulless creatures belched from the underworld?

Re:Who is going (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272730)

No joke.

Satan would probably be standing there like "I just *knew* you guys would come back some day! Yay!"

Grandfathered in (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272272)

Its weird that I am not allowed to drop rubbish in the street but disposing of some types of effluent in the atmosphere which we all need to breathe is perfectly okay.

Re:Grandfathered in (3, Insightful)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272298)

That's because you don't have huge lobbyists paying your senators to pollute the streets.

Re:Grandfathered in (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272692)

I don't have any lobbyists. So what will happen is that I'll be paying more to heat my home and drive to work while big mega corp, inc. buys itself an exemption from the tax.......

Re:Grandfathered in (4, Informative)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272736)

It hasn't been okay to pollute the air for several decades now. That's why cars have catalytic converters to scrub-out human-damaging pollutants like NOx and HC (produce ozone) and CO (poison). Power plants have scrubbers to eliminate the same things, plus soot, so you no longer see black smoke but white stream coming from their towers.

Re:Grandfathered in (5, Insightful)

khayman80 (824400) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272420)

That's because breathing CO2 just recycles CO2 that's already in the biosphere. Digging miles into the earth to burn fossil fuels releases CO2 that hasn't been part of the biosphere for tens of millions of years. As I've repeatedly explained [dumbscientist.com] , fossil fuel use can be causally linked to the skyrocketing CO2 concentration through the C-12/C-13 isotope ratio (among other techniques).

Oddly enough, the National Academy of Sciences is aware that humans exhale CO2. Imagine that.

Re:Grandfathered in (1)

khayman80 (824400) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272498)

Hmm, I think I misinterpreted your comment. At first I thought you were yet another armchair physicist who "discovered" that people breathe CO2, thus exposing the international conspiracy of scientists. My bad.

Re:Grandfathered in (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272814)

My home state of Victoria, Australia is one of the worst offenders world wide in coal burning for power generation. But I wonder why we can't use the gas from the power stations directly.

Build multiple chains of greenhouses adjacent to the power station. Feed CO2 rich gas directly into the greenhouses. Use some warm cooling water from the power station for irrigation. From that you get CO2 depleted air and food. Sell the food.

Re:Grandfathered in (2, Interesting)

khayman80 (824400) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272856)

My impression is that "clean coal" is expensive because of the specialized techniques needed to separate the CO2 from the rest of the emissions (which would kill the plants or at least make them foul-tasting.) I haven't seen any proof that clean coal is economically viable on the kinds of scales we'd need to fix the CO2 problem. Once it gets more expensive than nuclear, why not just build nuclear plants and have a much smaller quantity of solid waste that can be dropped down a borehole, sealed and forgotten?

Re:Grandfathered in (1, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272440)

That is because half the country essentially believes that they have an unlimited right to piss in the pool without consequence. The problem is that if they even remotely believed in the ideal capitalism that they claim they do, they wouldn't be so keen to pollute the air and thus violate others' property rights. Of course, they don't; they believe in everyone out for themselves.

Re:Grandfathered in (1)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272526)

I hardly think that our pissing in the pool is going to affect the pool one whit. [youtube.com]

Re:Grandfathered in (2, Insightful)

khayman80 (824400) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272574)

What a strange coincidence! I also got my education in atmospheric radiative physics from George Carlin. And I enjoy stand-up comedy by the National Academy of Sciences.

Re:Grandfathered in (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272624)

What a good little goyum. I wish all gentiles were this easy.

Re:Grandfathered in (0, Flamebait)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272630)

Don't bet on that. They will just levy a tax calculated on your gross body weight, which will have to be reported year year to the IRS due to the future 'single payer' health care that will be based on your 'health'.

Cap Tax (1, Funny)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272704)

Its weird that I am not allowed to drop rubbish in the street but disposing of some types of effluent in the atmosphere which we all need to breathe is perfectly okay.

Speak power to truth, comrade!

The "effluent" CO2 coming out of your body in every breath certainly needs to be regulated. In the future, when my "carbon zero" plan is adopted, all people must wear CO2 rebreathers as they go about their daily business - or be "cap and taxed", if you know what I mean. The guillotine is a carbon-neutral device, my friend!

Together we shall end this imperialist capitalist pig pollution chemical weapon! Death to CO2!

Re:Cap Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272808)

You are an idiot.

Re:Grandfathered in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272770)

You realize we need co2 to live right?

Re:Grandfathered in (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272918)

because despite what you've had shoved down your throat for years now, CO2 is NOT toxic or dangerous.

Re:Grandfathered in (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272974)

because despite what you've had shoved down your throat for years now, CO2 is NOT toxic or dangerous.

Stick your head in a plastic bag and get back to me with your observations.

externality (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272286)

It makes a lot more sense to tax a negative externality than it does to tax something we want more of like income.

Re:externality (2, Interesting)

ascari (1400977) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272428)

But that's not how the world works, alas. An example would be taxing pet owners. The responsible ones who spay/neuter and give rabies shots to their pets are slammed with a tax. Thus the irresponsible pet owners are "rewarded". Does society want larger numbers irresponsible pet owners? Probably not. But it wants the revenue, and if there are some unintended consequences then so be it.

Re:externality (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272474)

The problem with that is that we have good evidence that a Carbon tax does exactly what we want it to do.

Re:externality (3, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272790)

Double my electric bill from $400 to $800 each month? Okay.

Well I guess I could tear down my house and rebuild a new one based on the PassivHaus model, and thereby hope to burn less electricity. I certainly can't afford to be socked with ~$10,000 a year in electricity + carbon taxes.

Re:externality (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272864)

Why do you believe that you have an inherent right to not have to pay for damage that your actions cause? If burning Coal to power your home causes property damage due to acid rain and erodion etc. from global warming, you are most definitely liable to pay for that damage. Society has no obligation to shield you from the consequences of environmental damage caused by your actions.

Re:externality (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272788)

how, exactly, do you tax people who don't get their pets shots, or spayed, or neutered? some sort of pet 'secret police'? stop and ask to see the papers of everybody out walking their dog?

it's far, far easier to apply a tax to the cost of getting shots etc. than it is to apply a tax to not getting them.

Re:externality (5, Informative)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272754)

A tax on carbon is a tax on everything. Food prices will rise. The price of everything ordered on Amazon will rise. The price of everyhtng transported by road or rail will rise. The price of running your heater or AC will rise, a lot. And it's a regressive tax, like all consumption taxes.

The last time America had a serious economic crisis, it was pretty directly caused by energy prices rising. Why are we so determined as a nation to magnify and extend the current economic crisis to match the Carter years?

Re:externality (4, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272806)

Why are we so determined as a nation to magnify and extend the current economic crisis to match the Carter years?

Some of us prize health over a new tv?

GLOBAL WARMING VIA CO2 IS A FRAUD (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272294)

The whole Global Warming scheme was thought up by Ken Lay and discussed with both the Bush Jr and Clinton Administrations. Now Al Gore is a parter in a firm that trades CARBON CREDITS and is set to make billions off this scam. I think you all better wake up and research the NWO and GLOBAL GOVERNMENT and see what all are leaders are up to. Its time for the world to change and not in the way the Illuminatti want as they are about to have the light shined right on them and I doubt they will survive.

Re:GLOBAL WARMING VIA CO2 IS A FRAUD (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272470)

Yeah, forget CO2 sequestration! Oxygen sequestration is where the action is at! I'm going to suck all of the 02 out of the atmosphere, and charge people to take a hit from MegaMaid's bag! And thanks to you, there's not a dang thing the NWO and GLOBAL GOVERNMENT can do about it! Mwa ha ha!!!

Re:GLOBAL WARMING VIA CO2 IS A FRAUD (1)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272744)

I must be some paranoid freak or something because I would have modded this as "informative" rather than "funny".

-Oz

Re:GLOBAL WARMING VIA CO2 IS A FRAUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272812)

I must be some paranoid freak

Yes sir you would be if you thought that scary. And its global environmental change that is the issue, not as much just the warming.

Note: if you mean to be informative to the fact their are nuts out there who like to believe that...you get my point.

*sigh (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272314)

... either adopt cap and trade legislation.

or... what?

"Either" requires an "or" you stupid dumbfuck.

Same thing (0)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272340)

Cap and Trade is just a fancy phrase meaning "tax" anyway. I hate the verbal misdirection.

Re:Same thing (1)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272404)

But it's a great way for trading firms and wall street to skim money off the top of everyone's energy bill via high frequency trading and various market manipulation schemes that has nothing to do with actually producing energy.

Re:Same thing (5, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272572)

This already goes on, it's rampant. The solution is more restrictions and regulations on Wall Street to stop people from being able to make money who don't actually produce anything of value. It shouldn't be possible to get rich skimming off the top and siphoning away wealth from the working class that actually moves the economy. This country produces thousands of college graduates every year who go on to be bankers or Wall Street traders when they should be engineers and scientists. We produce people who not only don't contribute anything themselves but actually make it harder for other people to be productive. This can't go on forever, and if we don't put and end to it it's going to put an end to us.

Re:Same thing (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272486)

Cap and Trade is just a fancy phrase meaning "tax" anyway. I hate the verbal misdirection.

I hate the fact that calling it "cap and trade" actually makes it more likely to get passed than calling it a tax.

Re:Same thing (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272638)

I hate the fact that calling it "cap and trade" actually makes it more likely to get passed than calling it a tax.

Cap & Trade is worse than a tax. Cap & Trade is rationing AND taxation.

Re:Same thing (2, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272908)

Every resource is "rationed." It just so happens that in Capitalism those with power get more rations than others.

Re:Same thing (2, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272946)

That's because the cap & trade tax goes to Wall Street instead of the government.

Re:Same thing (1, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272550)

It isn't the same thing at all. For one thing, direct emissions taxes are not as likely to hit specific levels of CO2. For another, the presence of trading in a cap and trade system allows for the efficiencies of the market to come into play. Thus, a cap and trade system works more efficiently than a direct tax.

Re:Same thing (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272906)

Cap and trade stifles innovation and encourages fraud/deceit. Every time the government tries to make something non-existent exist, we run into problems. For example patents, copyright, trademark issues, etc. What Cap and Trade would encourage is large businesses either A) Passing on the costs to consumers or B) Use hollywood-style accounting to either get more "credits" than needed and sell them or move their businesses overseas.

any tax on carbon is a stupid, stupid idea. Pollution is wasted energy, technology will eventually catch up with it and make great progress. When you use cap-and-trade the businesses that would be pumping money into R&D for alternate energy sources are instead paying "protection" money to carbon trolls in essence.

Why anyone would want to make yet another government-controlled non-existent commodity in this day and age must be crazy or have a ton of money to burn when energy prices soar higher meaning food and all other prices will go up and our standard of living goes way down. Oh but the polar bears are ok, nevermind the fact that our economy has gone downhill at least the animals are OK. Oh but wait, India, China and all the up-and-coming powers aren't going to do this which means that we pay for a lower standard of living while they have complete freedom and make even more money!

Do you for one welcome your developing nations overlords?

Oh noes... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272362)

Oh noes, the climate is changing. We can't have that, now can we? We should have the climate be like the way it was billions of years ago (eg: not fit for humans), because climate change is bad, right?

Water vapor (0, Troll)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272366)

is a much "bigger" greenhouse gas. When are we going to start taxing nuclear cooling towers and refineries?

Re:Water vapor (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272508)

1) Water vapor is part of the fast-paced water cycle, and adding water vapor to the atmosphere reduces the time until the next rainfall, so the effect is temporary. CO2 is much more longterm.

2) The whole CO2 thing is misleading. The worst offenders (eg. coal/oil plants) release a lot of other, worse waste (eg. hundreds of times more radioactive waste than modern nuclear power plants), that should also be taxed. CO2 is a way to simplify the problem and falsely render it one-dimensional (presumably so the average person has a simple idea to latch onto, and doesn't have to think for himself).

3) You do realize that normal power plants also have cooling towers, right?

Re:Water vapor (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272516)

Water vapor amplifies the effects of greenhouse gases as a feedback effect it is not however, strictly a causal agent. CO2 remains in the atmosphere for centuries while Water vapor generally is transient.

Re:Water vapor (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272530)

Water vapor gets removed from the atmosphere when it rains/snows/etc.

CO2 doesn't do that unless you're on Mars.

Re:Water vapor (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272590)

CO2 isn't that bad, it's just a convenient indicator, being the major byproduct of combustion. The idea is to encourage energy generation by clean technologies that don't involve burning things. Measuring carbon dioxide production is just a simple way of sorting that out.

The whole global warming scare is just an oversimplified way of vilifying CO2 directly. Unfortunately the simpletons have called us on the oversimplification.

Jews for Nerds! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272378)

Jews, also known as kikes, hebes, hymies, yids, gold niggers, oven magnets, hook noses, sheenies, swindlers, criminals, "firewood", and Arabs in denial are a subhuman species of reptilian extra-terrestrials and adherents to one of the world's oldest major religions, called "Judaism", otherwise known as "The Worship of Money" or "Eating Arab Babies".

Judaism was the world's first master race theory. The Jew religion teaches that Jews are the Chosen People of God and that there is a sacred mystical quality to Jew DNA. In olden times, Jew prophets would, under the command of YHWH, frequently lead the Jews on genocidal rampages against neighboring populations, and even today Jew leaders often cite Jewish religious ideals to justify their ongoing genocide of sandniggers. Judaism ironically found its mirror-image inversion in the anti-Jew Aryan racialism of the Nazis.

Despite only being 0.22% of the world's population, Jews control 99% of the world's money. Not only do the Jews control the world, but also the media, the banks, the space program, and LiveJournal's porn communities and Gay communities. All Jews possess the following features: an extremely large nose, fake boobs, curly hair that reeks of faggotry, one of those gay hats, a love of coke, a law practice, a roll of money, a small cock, or shitty taste in dental hygiene.

Jews invented both Communism and Capitalism. Karl Marx, of course, was a Jew, which was why he understood money so well, and in fact he was converted to Communism by another Jew, Moses Hess, the actual founder of Zionism, who ghost-wrote Marx's The German Ideology. Capitalism was created when Christian Europeans threw away their morals and decided to embrace Jewish practices like usury (see: John Calvin). Jews were the first group to create a sophisticated banking system, which they used to fund the Crusades in order to pit Christians and Muslims (both adhering to religions derived from and controlled by Jews) against each other to kill as many people as possible in a macabre human sacrifice to YHWH.

The Jew banking system was based on fraud and lies, so when it inevitably collapsed, the Jews just pwned as many people as possible by unleashing the Black Plague on them. Later, Jews economically controlled medieval Venice (the first modern maritime trade empire), and then crypto-Jewish merchants economically controlled the Spanish Empire, including the slave trade. Openly Jewish bankers orchestrated the Dutch Empire and founded Jew Amsterdam (later Jew York). Later the Dutch Jews moved to London because they thought it would be a better base for a global empire, and actually brought a Dutch nobleman, William III, with them, who they installed in a coup d'état (more like Jew d'état, amirite?) as new King of the British Empire. For hundreds of years, Jewish bankers controlled global trade through their bases in Jew York City and London. European colonialism was, through its history, essentially a plot whereby Jews could gain control of gold and diamond mines in poor countries and increase their stranglehold over the global economy.

Jews also enjoy slicing up baby penises for fun, some even enjoy sucking them. See below.

Jews also created Jew search engine Google, so now they can find all Jew information on Internets.

Some suggest that we should use Jews instead of dogs to sniff out large amounts of concealed cash or anything else worth smuggling at airports due to their sensitive Jew noses. Obviously, this is a horrible idea, because the pay is bad, and the dirty Kikes would probably form a union and demand moar money, thus increasing the burden on taxpayers everywhere.

Re:Jews for Nerds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272860)

At least you're trolling in the right thread. I've yet to meet a jew that didn't think a tax on somebody else was a great idea.

First warning. (5, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272426)

This may be the first time the NAS have advised specific policies. However the first time NAS warned the US government of the problem was in 1958. This Bell Labs video [youtube.com] summarises the contents of that first warning. The NAS has not suddenly flipped from cautious, the urgency has steadilly increased over the last 50yrs to the current position of virtually screaming at congress to pull their head out of their collective arses.

Just purchase Carbon Credits instead! (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272462)

Has anybody ever been required to clean the air? Doubt it. Most polluting companies are just fined and then have to clean their exhaust after they have been caught polluting.

So the question I have is, how many "Carbon Credits" would BP have to purchase in order to avoid having to clean up their spill?

Too Controversial (4, Interesting)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272492)

In today's political climate, there's far far too much controversy surrounding the individual issues of taxes and energy, alone (much less combined), to permit any real legislation to succeed.

A sane society would tax things like gasoline, diesel fuel, fuel oil, etc., highly enough to discourage its profligate consumption and apply the funds to develop practical implementations of an array of alternative renewable energy sources (fusion, solar, biofuels, etc.).

But in the USA, if you proposed adding another $2/gallon tax on gasoline, it would be political suicide. (Hell, just suggesting it on /. risks karma suicide.) In the meantime, many of us still drive gas guzzling hummers and SUVs, and pride ourselves on it.

We need to break the loop somewhere. As long as that behavior is affordable, it will continue to be popular; as long as that behavior is popular it will continue to be affordable.

And eventually, when scarcity will inevitably drive up the cost of this fuel, it will be the energy corporations who will make the profits on the higher prices, not the governments... perpetuating another problem of too much corporate money influencing government policy. The smart thing to do is drive the price up now, via taxes, and use the revenue to do something more useful than line the pockets of corporate executives and stockholders.

Re:Too Controversial (3, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272682)

People will be more willing to accept high taxes on energy related to transportation if they had alternatives. If you reinvest the tax money, or some of it, into a robust public transportation system it would make it easier to live without a car; something which is difficult to impossible in many places in the US. There is still a huge car culture in America, and it'll take a culture shift for that to change but it has to start somewhere. It no longer makes sense that we're reliant on each person owning and operating there own 2000 pound machine to move them to where they need to go. It is rapidly becoming economically and environmentally unsustainable and it's a change that has to happen.

Re:Too Controversial (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272720)

I would be all for a robust public transportation system here in LA, funded by gasoline taxes if necessary. It would get cars off the road (making my commute easier when I need to travel by car), possibly including mine (if I could get to work in under an hour, not currently possible).

Re:Too Controversial (1, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272776)

There's no reason why it couldn't work. There are cities just as large as LA in the world that do just fine with less cars. Tokyo and Moscow come to mind. There just isn't enough political/cultural will to get it done at the moment. $5+/gl petrol would probably change that.

Re:Too Controversial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272742)

An embarrassing typo I just noticed. I do usually know the difference between there/their/they're, I promise

Re:Too Controversial (2, Insightful)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272772)

Culture change time. Rethink atomic power. Rethink public transport [4brad.com] .

Re:Too Controversial (2, Informative)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272840)

Exactly, in the US we generate a lot of our electricity by dirty coal (and there isn't any other type, "clean coal" is a fraud) and so if you switch to electric transportation you're going to use more coal which is worse than gasoline. Stupidly, the environmental lobby is the biggest opponent of nuclear power, the only real alternative we have for clean base load power generation. I normally vote Green Party, but I am a fervent supporter of nuclear power. I think they will come around on the issue though, there isn't any other alternative.

Re:Too Controversial (2, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272848)

Trains are a backwards 1800s technology that lacks flexibility. Heck I can't even ride a train if I wanted to, because it's a 10 mile walk to the station..... and even if the station were right next door, it takes twice as long (1 hour) as a car to reach my job. Plus what if I need to make a sudden trip in the middle of night? No trains run after 10pm around here. So I'd be stuck.

Cars offer flexibility. And they are modular, such that they can scale up from minimal operation (a few cars running at 3am) to full deployment (rush hour). Trains can't do that. I see a lot of trains running almost completely empty, and therefore wasting fuel. Cars are more flexible.

Re:Too Controversial (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272956)

Part of being "robust" would be 1) increasing options, so you could take bus or train or light rail 2) increasing availability, which means more stations, more bus stops, etc and 3) increasing reliability which means longer running ours and more frequent arrival times

Re:Too Controversial (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272850)

But in the USA, if you proposed adding another $2/gallon tax on gasoline, it would be political suicide. (Hell, just suggesting it on /. risks karma suicide.)

        Well, it's funny, but a lot of people are *against* killing the economy and going broke. And worst of all, a gas tax is exceptionally regressive.

        Brett

Re:Too Controversial (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272894)

I also believe there is a good bit of stigma towards the alternative energy from the early 90's and before...we have made leaps and bounds over the past 10 or so years: yes it is not just the 20mph solar panel car anymore (that can only operate in a desert)!

I personally believe, adding to your point people priding themselves in driving "gas guzzling hummers and SUV's", that individuals believe that an energy efficient vehicle is more of a sacrifice than an alternative. Just my take on how some of the population seem to regard new technologies...

Re:Too Controversial (2, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272896)

Gas tax should be used for one purpose only - to repair the roads. I don't want to see the US copy the EU model where drivers are taxed to death to fund all kinds of non-related projects like military or welfare or food stamps, while the nondrivers pay zero taxes but get the free handouts. Gasoline tax should be as close to a use tax as possible - like a road toll.

That said I do think we need to double the gasoline tax. Our roads are falling apart, and need the extra money.

Imprecise language, should be GHG Tax (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272496)

Does anyone else think that naming "carbon" is being overly-specific? I think "greenhouse gasses" provides the right scope and expectations to actually deal with the problem at hand: GHG Tax. Carbon is used constantly by the press as a symbol of greenhouse pollutants, but other gases like methane are a problem too.

Re:Imprecise language, should be GHG Tax (2, Informative)

khayman80 (824400) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272540)

Methane's lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter than CO2's, so it's less of a long-term problem. You're right to say that methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and we need to stop emitting it too. But as soon as we stop emitting methane, concentrations will decrease in a few years. Not so with CO2. (Also, methane is CH4, so technically methane has more carbon by mass than CO2...)

Now that's news! (1, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272502)

Extra, Extra, read all about it! Quasi-governmental organizations tells government to do what head of government wants to do anyway!

Re:Now that's news! (4, Insightful)

khayman80 (824400) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272640)

I didn't notice scientists telling President Bush that it was perfectly okay to burn fossil fuels. In fact, it seems like scientists have been saying pretty much the same thing for decades, but the last head of government never listened [nytimes.com] .

I'll take your garbage and your money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272506)

Did I mention I'm a scientist? That means you're helping the environment by making me rich. Oy vey iz mir

Experts (4, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272528)

I'm not an expert in a relevant field to understand fully this issue, and chances are neither are you. Other than wait and reserve judgment, the only logical choice I can make when there is overwhelming consensus among experts (there is on climate change) is to listen to them. I support cap and trade, not because I think it's a good idea - because I'm not qualified to know that - but because the majority of those who are qualified think it is, and science is not a political process even when the conclusions polarizes people along political lines.

Re:Experts (-1, Troll)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272608)

Well, not necessarily. [digitaljournal.com]

Re:Experts (4, Informative)

khayman80 (824400) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272756)

Notice that they're meteorologists. In other words, they study short term trends and don't have PhD-level understanding of ensemble averages and other techniques necessary to analyze long term trends. (Heck, they're TV personalities. They might not know more than how to wave their hands around a green screen.)

But sqrt(2) is right to say that most [people-press.org] scientists [jamstec.go.jp] agree that anthropogenic CO2 is causing a dangerous temperature increase. The percentage of scientists who agree with this statement increases with increasing relevance [uic.edu] of the scientist's field.

Re:Experts (2, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272826)

>>I'm not an expert in a relevant field to understand fully this issue, and chances are neither are you.

Spend a few hundred hours researching the issue, and you can be qualified to comment, too. None of the issues surrounding energy production and global warming aren't particularly hard to understand - the only reason it is so time consuming is that figuring out who is bullshitting on which point of contention takes a while.

For example, the issues surrounding bad station data is rather complex. RC.org hand-waves the issue, saying that they have "taken it into their calculations", but on this issue, it seems obvious that RC.org is bullshitting.

>>science is not a political process even when the conclusions polarizes people along political lines.

Not true. These are scientists trying to dip their toes into the political waters with this, so of course it's political. They're not arguing about facts or anything, they're proposing societal change, and honestly, they're probably out of their league here.

Case in point: Kyoto was one of the worst designed treaties ever written. It is "cap and trade", but would result in no CO2 reductions, only a transfer of money from America to Eastern Europe. Why? The CO2 levels were set at pre-USSR collapse levels, so all the Eastern Bloc countries have a massive amount of "credits" to sell to countries who therefore don't need to reduce levels at all.

I'm not singling you out for this, but it's really very dangerous when people give up on trying to research issues for themselves, and rely on what they hear from a single source as fact. Whether it be Fox News, or HuffPo, or "scientists", I've never once been happy with a single perspective on a problem.

Re:Experts (2, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272926)

100 hours? Please. It takes a lifetime to get the kind of knowledge required to be an expert in any field. I am not an expert, you are not an expert. If you're trying to prove otherwise you'll have to do better than a few dozen hours of "research". Your opinion on this matter is, pardon my saying so, worthless. Mine is too for that matter.

Which is why I have to look to the people who's opinion is not worthless: scientists with relevant knowledge and experience. Collectively they do not constitute a single source. Individually maybe, but that's why I look for consensus. It's there.

Re:Experts (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272976)

Scientists also claimed nuclear bombs would burn-off the Earth's atmosphere. Well, Russia set off a 50 megaton bomb and while it did produce a 5 mile wide fireball, it did not destroy Earth's atmosphere. The scientists were wrong.... as they often are. (Another example is that they claimed space was filled with a gaslike ether... wrong again.)

Both solutions are economic disasters (0, Troll)

RJBeery (956252) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272532)

...however, if one of them is truly necessary, a carbon tax is the lesser of evils. Cap and Trade is Al Gore's personal get-rich-quick scheme with a slogan of "Save the Earth" and a collateral consequence of global Socialism (i.e. the productive must purchase "credits" from the unproductive). No thanks.

Re:Both solutions are economic disasters (2, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272598)

The thing about cap and trade is that a lot of left leaning environmentalists hate the idea because they feel that it's a case where markets/capitalism are intruding into environmental matters and the economic libertarians hate it because its government intrusion into markets. Cap and trade worked well for controlling NOX and SOX emissions but had unintended consequences where it was tried in Europe. The Carbon offsets were poorly defined and often lead to fraud.

If they imposed a carbon tax (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272536)

...but reduced the deficit, income taxes, sales taxes, or all three, it would be a win-win situation. If they do what government normally does -- spend the money faster than it comes in -- at least it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Re:If they imposed a carbon tax (1)

SylvesterTheCat (321686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272938)

How is this insightful?

This only works if 1) the "they" is the whole world and 2) "they" don't do what you say they normally do, i.e. "spend the money faster than it comes in"

Taxing the air you breathe (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272606)

Finally, we are there as a nation.

Taxed Enough Already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272622)

Taxed
Enough
Already

All the companies are going to do with this overhead is roll the cost into their products and this increase the costs of everything from electricity to food. Plus it has not been proven that man released CO2 is the driver for increased global temperature as the record shows that temperature rises BEFORE CO2 concentrations. Oh, and then there is the fact that the global temperature has been decreasing since 2001 and is predicted to continue to decrease for the next couple of decades, at lease, which the environmentalists are scrambling to "explain", but first need more of our tax dollars to explore theories.

Quote:
"The study, released on Jan. 28 by Kyle L. Swanson and Anastasios A. Tsonis, who are professors in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, found that the Earth has been cooling since 2001 and projected that due to “global variation” the climate would continue to cool for the next 20 to 30 years."

Its a good idea, but must replace Income Tax (5, Interesting)

CokeBear (16811) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272786)

The only way to sell it to the masses would be to promote it as the elimination of Income Taxes. Set a date (20 years?) by which point income taxes will be eliminated, and slowly ramp up the Carbon (GHG) tax while reducing income tax over the same period of time.

What? You're opposed to eliminating Income Tax?

Interesting, but I was reading a counterposing (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272800)

atricle in nature online, where the Ice in greenland was melting at the fastest rate of the last 50 years, and on the side bar of related articles it was saying that the sea levels were heading down. No corralation? Some ones figures are wrong. The scientists be wrong? How. The tempreture goes up in several local tempreture stations, and we have the warmest tempretures in 50 years, in my local, where the article was created, the wetest spring in quite a while, like the early 1990's. floods around, streams overflowing, and cooler then average by a full 15 deg F. They wrong, or the local newies wrong?
Record calving off the coasts of antrictia, and alaska, I always heard that the calving was present before before global warming, caused by the extension into the water lifting the Ice cracking the ice, and wave actions shifting the weakened ice dropping. the presure pushing down the hillsides, bend the ice, fracture it, and the snowpack above the ice, actually shelters the ice to help keep it cool enough to move. Global warming cycle or educated men lying to make money.

And the only way a tax makes sence, is to tax all business out of business. but then there is no business to pay the tax, which then falls on all the shmucks that voted for a tax, to drive them to poverty. After all didn't we tax ourselfs enough with the bailout of business(rich people) who lost money to goldman sachs, which is called by many, facisism. where the few, businesses control the governments of the world. The idea of global warming is real, its from a cycle of the sun and a loop in the earths cycles. look that up, be sure to read the papers of the 1950's geology and archeology. where they put the cycles together. and show the outcomes of now, and look about 50 years to the future, what they say is about to happen.
Read the finance books on taxation by anyone but austria, and see how business is the culprit of the carbon tax, and wants the cap and trade to come about now. Read what the head of the last NY fed said about cap and trade at builderberg, and then say you want to become a slave, which it is designed to do.

Imbalance. (3, Insightful)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 3 years ago | (#32272824)

So far any carbon trading scheme I've heard of doesn't fully take into account international trading. My country like several others is a huge net agricultural exporter. Argiculture being responsible for 50% of our emissions. Therefore its as if other countries are poluting here, yet the producer/exporter gets the bill under current proposals.

What then of all the high value goods we import (which have a high impact per given mass compared with food), these don't polute here, but some other country has paid the price both in impact and in tax.

What a way to collapse global trade.

Any system needs to a per-ton value on carbon, as a baseline, and then build the system bottom-up from there. Slapping taxes on everything seems to be the only option being considered.

Just as right as on Duke Lacrosse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32272980)

The same group of deluded elites that knew the Duke Lacrosse team was guilty of rape, now wants to sell you on carbon taxes.

Nuke those mofos.

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