November 16 News: ‘We Would Never Propose A Carbon Tax,’ Says White House Spokesman

Directly taxing emission of carbon dioxide to thwart its effect on climate has been much talked about post-election, but an spokesman for the president said it’s off the table. [State Journal]

With the year-to-date running as the eight-warmest on record, October 2012 tied with 2005 for the globe’s fifth-warmest such month since recordkeeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). [Climate Central]

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of China and the Arab spring, American energy independence looks likely to trigger the next great geopolitical shift in the modern world. [Guardian]

The United States needs to update its energy policy to reflect the boom in natural gas and oil production that has boosted manufacturing jobs, said the top Democrat on the Senate energy committee on Thursday. [Reuters]

While companies in the Great Lakes region and other parts of middle America long counted on water being cheap and plentiful, they now realize they must conserve because finding new water sources is difficult and expensive — if it can be done at all. [Associated Press]

New analysis by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) indicates that what was once strong job growth in the clean energy sector is being reined in by uncertainty over politics and policies such as the production tax credit (PTC) for the wind industry that is about to expire. [EarthTechling]

As the Sandy post-mortem analysis turns to talk of resiliency and hardening the electric grid, resources that do not depend on fuel at all deserve a place in the conversation.  Solar/battery combinations are likely to play a critical part in a community’s effort to survive the immediate and perilous aftermath. [Forbes]

The debate on whether the world needs stronger greenhouse gas cuts to keep the planet from warming by 2C should be deferred until next year, according to Brazil’s lead negotiator at the upcoming talks in Doha. [Guardian]

The European Union’s climate commissioner says she hopes that President Barack Obama’s renewed attention to global warming after the election will translate into greater U.S. involvement in U.N. climate talks. [Associated Press]

29 Responses to November 16 News: ‘We Would Never Propose A Carbon Tax,’ Says White House Spokesman

  1. prokaryotes says:


    Nearby Stars (requires google chrome browser)

    This might help to better understand our fragile world and our location in space…

  2. Janiece Staton says:

    To me, it’s CLEAR that the POTUS wants to DOOM the entire planet, for the enrichment of a very tiny proportion of the world’s population. How he can look at himself in the mirror each day, knowing what he’s actively engaging in, escapes me…

  3. BBHY says:

    This is exactly why I voted for Jill Stein.

    I have had more than enough of “Republican Lite” from the Dems.

  4. Mark E says:

    Expanding economic growth… that is what the press sec said they plan to do instead of propose a carbon tax.

    Sooner or later people will see that nonstop economic growth on a finite planet is impossible. It appears this lesson will take even more pain than learning that we simply must leave naturally-sequestered carbon (aka fossil fuels) where they are… in the ground.

  5. Will says:

    When I hear Exxon and fossil fuel stooges like John Shimkus say they would prefer a carbon tax, I’m reminded of Obama’s best line in the debates, “Please proceed, Governor.”
    Perhaps they like it because they believe it has no chance of passing and would make the climate change movement more unpopular with many Americans.

  6. BillD says:

    It’s easy to understand why the Administration now has a short term focus on the “fiscal cliff.” But why say “would never propose a carbon tax..”? Does never mean “not until February? Maybe by March the Republicans will be proposing a carbon tax, or, more likely, Harry Reid will get the ball rolling in the next few months. Four years is a long time to delay progress toward market solutions to climate change.

  7. MarkF says:

    I agree.

    It’s hard for me to understand how a these people, knowing full well what’s happening,

    continue to do the bidding of oil, coal, and gas companies.

    It’s despicable.

    The actions, and inactions of Obama and the rest of them, is going to be recorded as one of the great crimes in human history.

  8. Mike Roddy says:

    That is a very strong statement from Obama. “Never”? If we take him at his word, that means full speed ahead in the Powder River Basin, Gulf, Marcellus, and Arctic. Maybe he wants to throw money to Wall Street with cap and trade, but there has never been movement there, either.

    We were chumps for dreaming that he would do otherwise. All we had to do was remember him on TV in 2009, agreeing with BP that the spill volume was a tenth of what we already knew it to be. Then, stiffing Copenhagen and Rio.

    This is a man who grovels before the oil companies when important decisions have to be made. We are truly screwed until a bottom up movement forces Washington to get off the extinction express.

  9. Mark E says:

    Ah ha!

    The pres sec only said the WH will never PROPOSE such a tax. Congress is supposed to enact all the taxes anyway so the job of PROPOSING such a tax is that of congress… which means the GOP-controlled house.

    I have my fingers crossed that they will negotiate a tax and budget deal to avoid the fiscal cliff and that next years extreme weather and crop losses will make carbon tax uproar really loud….. so in effect the rich will be paying more to solve the debt deal in the short term and we all will be screaming for a carbon tax on top of that later.

  10. Alan Frederick says:

    Perhaps the White House is employing reverse psychology. If they oppose a carbon tax, then the Republicans will reflexively say “We have to come out for this in opposition to the President”. ;)

  11. Paul Magnus says:

    They dont have to Vote and spread…

    Support a Revenue Neutral Tax on Carbon

    In order to correct the failure of our markets to properly account for the hidden costs of burning fossil fuels within the price of fossil fuels, we are calling on the Obama administration to support a revenue neutral tax on carbon. Starting at $15/ton and increasing annually by $10/ton this tax would be assessed at the source of entry into the U.S. economy. To shield citizens from the financial impact 100% of the revenue collected must be returned to households by means of a rebate check. Additionally, a border tax must protect domestic industries. This clear price signal drives both supply and demand side efficiencies, speeds our transition to a green economy and unleashes our free markets to compete against the government-subsidized green economies of Germany and China.

  12. John McCormick says:

    Thanks, Mark. Appreciate your logic. Though, we do call it the “Bush tax cut”.

  13. Anne says:

    Jay Carney’s exact words were: “We would never propose a carbon tax and have no intention of proposing one.” The phrasing is redundant, and telling: “We would never…” is a phrase that is loaded with nuance, and is most often used when defending one’s good character: “We would never…. rob a bank… knock down an old lady… sell crack in the parking lot…” etc. So a carbon tax here is likened with bad behavior, and it makes it seem as though the entire gestalt of the fossil interests has infected the White House. Cutting carbon, bad. Keystone XL, good. Jobs.

  14. Mike Roddy says:

    They are not that clever. Look at the photo of the press spokesman.

    Good thing the opposition doesn’t have too many brain surgeons themselves:

  15. Mike Roddy says:

    Yup. Those who are trying to read something else into it are naive and battered. All of the signals are bad, including Obama’s “We’re going to get together with engineers and scientists and talk about this for a while”. Really? What was your first clue that we have a problem?

  16. prokaryotes says:

    One way to win votes and public opinion for a Carbon Tax is, to tax imports based on their Co2 footprints. This has even the potential to generate considerable growth, because jobs stay local instead to be outsourced. Also this prevents companies to just build elsewhere under lacks rules.

  17. Mike Roddy says:

    There are two key lobbies that oppose taxing imports: WalMart and big retailers, manufacturers who like high unemployment (and low wages), and oil companies who don’t want a tax on carbon in any circumstances.

    Those are formidable opponents. Also destructive and very wrong. We can beat them.

  18. Leif says:

    “Purpose” I believe, that does not mean indorse if demanded by “We the People” or more likely the reality of the times. GOP et. al. will do neither.

  19. prokaryotes says:

    Yes. But a challenge i think are the production cost for technologies, i.e. Apple outsourcing to Foxconn. Though i know little about today’s evolution of sustainable manufacturing and carbon footprints of such. But on the bottom line messaging should acknowledge that we need to upgrade processes, otherwise things will go very fast up.

    As it happened with the Thailand floods, Harddisc prices went through the roof.

  20. Tim in CA says:

    Don’t blow this out of proportion people. A carbon tax is not dead in deficit talks. Not even close. Remember what the President himself said in the Wednesday press conference. He does not want to be seen as pushing for an environmental measure that could be construed as obstructive to economic growth as an issue in itself. The American people want the President to focus on improving the economy and creating a more equitable tax-structure (higher taxes on the wealthy). However, the President himself said something to the effect that if a package could be devised that fixes the tax code and encourages economic growth while placing a price on ghg emissions, he would favor it. The story that this link points to comes from a question that was asked to the press secretary while on Airforce One yesterday. It doesn’t tell us anything new.

    The biggest reason why a carbon tax may be passed now is to fund an extension of the payroll tax cut. There is growing bipartisan support for extending the payroll tax cut. The problem is, we have no way to fund such an extension at the present time, and it would be defeating for a deficit reduction deal to extend the payroll tax cut with no offsetting revenue. If Congress goes down this path, they will have to draw new revenue over and above the tax increase on wealthy households. The easiest place to draw this new revenue will be from a carbon tax. The payroll tax cut costs about $120B/year, while the carbon tax (at $20/ton CO2 rising modestly above inflation as presently proposed) will yield about $150B/year, fully offsetting the extension and leaving an additional $30B/year that could be directed to research and/or financial support for low-income or rural households to help pay for higher energy costs. I suspect that a tax swap that exchanges the payroll tax cut for a modest carbon tax would be more politically popular than simply letting payroll taxes rise on all workers on Jan 1.

    In the end, the best thing the carbon tax has going for it is, in the words of Bill Clinton, the arithemetic. If Congress wants to extend the payroll tax cut, they will need to pay for it somehow. The proposed carbon tax can fully pay for the extension and still leave additional revenue for either research and/or low-income assistance. That sounds to me like exactly the kind of broader tax/spending deal in which the Pesident would consider a carbon tax.

    Don’t give up on this issue yet! This is still a very good opportunity to place a price on carbon!

  21. prokaryotes says:

    Coast Guard: Deadly oil rig fire off La. coast

    Coast Guard officials said an oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, killing at least two workers and sending four others to hospitals Friday. Two were believed to be missing.

  22. Lore says:

    I mentioned that this would be the four year stance of the Administration in my comment to the President’s press conference. We’re happy to talk about it, sometime.

    I’m reminded of the old Beatles’s song, “Nowhere Man” when it comes to Obama and climate change.

    “He’s a real nowhere man,
    Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
    Making all his nowhere plans
    for nobody.

    Doesn’t have a point of view,
    Knows not where he’s going to,
    Isn’t he a bit like you and me?

    Nowhere Man please listen,
    You don’t know what you’re missing,
    Nowhere Man,the world is at your command!

    He’s as blind as he can be,
    Just sees what he wants to see,
    Nowhere Man can you see me at all?

    Nowhere Man, don’t worry,
    Take your time, don’t hurry,
    Leave it all till somebody else
    lends you a hand!”

  23. Jay Alt says:

    perhaps, although economists seem to have fallen in love with the carbon tax. See recent post here by Stavins for a good explanation of why. I’m less than convinced.

  24. PeterM says:

    by 2030 the reality will be far referent.

  25. Jay Alt says:

    Forbes: “Solar/battery combinations are likely to play a critical part in a community’s effort to survive the immediate and perilous aftermath

    It’s deja vu all over again. Last week I found an old proposal from BP; John Browne was the chairman and climate was more on their minds. They’d bought the world’s biggest solar panel plant and put panels atop 200 British service stations. They started down that path in US, announcing plans for 1,700 stations. But it didn’t get completed.

    How great would it have been for drivers in post-Sandy Long Island / NY if filling stations had solar panels to run the pumps?

  26. Addicted says:

    I think what it means is that if they take action against GHG, it will be through either further “green incentives” or through another attempt at cap and trade.

    Even if they prose a carbon tax, it won’t be called that.

  27. Todd says:

    A carbon tax is the most regressive tax after a sales tax, and therefore, the rich will accept it. A carbon tax will increase demand for natural gas at the expense of coal, so oiland gas companies will like it. Car manufactures are tooling up for radical improvements in fuel efficiency, so this will help protect themfrom a resurgence of popularity in gas-guzzlers. I think the reverse psychology interpretation of the press conference may be spot on.