March 18 News: Carbon Tax Vs. Sequester Cuts — A Winning Policy Vs. A Losing One

Tom Friedman’s Sunday column says it is ridiculous that the sequester cuts have gone through, yet a carbon tax is not even on the table. [New York Times]

…[I]t strikes me as crazy that one of the obvious solutions to our budget, energy and environmental problems — the one that would be the least painful and have the best long-term impact (a carbon tax) — is off the table. Meanwhile, the solution that is as dumb as the day is long — a budget sequester that slashes spending indiscriminately — is on the table.

Shrinking the tax deduction for charity is on the table. Shrinking Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for the poor are on the table. But a carbon tax that could close the deficit and clean the air, weaken petro-dictators, strengthen the dollar, drive clean-tech innovation and still leave some money to lower corporate and income taxes is off the table. So the solutions that are lose-lose and divisive are on the table, while the solution that is win-win-win-win-win — and has both liberal and conservative supporters — is off the table.

The sequester is endangering scientific research at educational institutions, which could cause brain drain and force scientists to spend less time researching and more time looking for grants. [Washington Post]

The government of Alberta took out an ad in Sunday’s New York Times pushing Keystone XL as “The Choice of Reason.” [Huffington Post]

Ethanol production in the U.S. has dropped 10 percent due to falling gasoline consumption and the drought affecting much of the nation’s crops. [New York Times]

The state of Oregon is showing interest in adopting a carbon tax, and has invited British Columbia’s environment minister down to discuss BC’s system. [Oregon News 1130]

A new report says that proposed EU fuel efficiency proposals could create up to 400,000 jobs and save tens of billions of euros. [Planet Ark]

Geothermal energy is gaining support from some unlikely quarters, and many see it as a growing piece of the pie. []

In the UK, new draft curriculum guidelines eliminate most mentions of climate change for children under 14. [Guardian]

The carbon dioxide absorbed by plankton is higher than once assumed, according to a new study. [LA Times]

6 Responses to March 18 News: Carbon Tax Vs. Sequester Cuts — A Winning Policy Vs. A Losing One

  1. Aldous says:

    “I’m an environmentalist. I think we can’t keep burning coal because the carbon it produces is, right this moment, melting the Arctic, acidifying the ocean and raising the temperature of the earth in ways that most climate scientists think endanger the prospects of our civilization.
    But part of civilization is taking care of people who have worked hard. That’s why every climate bill proposed in Congress should have extensive sections designed to protect retirees and retrain existing workers.”

    Absolutely heart wrenching article.

  2. Colorado Bob says:

    Something to look into, a rather confusing article , with a scary bit of info :

    Global warming effect on Antarctica, ice cover disappears from King George Island
    “Antarctica has witnessed major geographical changes since only last year as the ice cover at most of its 20 islands has noticeably receded, at the King George island, however, it has totally disappeared,” said Singh…………………Bandanjot said the team members, lead by British explorer Sir Robert Swan, literally witnessed the climate changes.

    He said that as per members of the last expedition, the changes were drastic, as there was about 800-metre of thick ice cover at King George island which has now completely disappeared and at other islands too, it has receded.”

  3. Sasparilla says:

    I’m mentioned a month or so ago going to a lecture by Dr. Chip Taylor focused on Monarch Butterflies (and polinators), fascinating stuff (we’re very close to tipping the Monarch migration – Mexico to Canada and back in the fall – into extinction with climate change playing a big part here).

    I was very impressed by the Climate Change talk Dr. Taylor had in his presentation. I found a video of his presentation from a couple of months earlier (basically the same presentation) is here (principle Climate Change talk starts at about 27min):

  4. Sasparilla says:

    As an addendum to the talk the overwintering population in Mexico was 1.19 hectares of butterflies the smallest ever (to put it in perspective 2 years ago there were 4 hectares):

    Anyone that gardens and can put some milkweed in, it would make a significant difference (as RoundUp Ready farming has decimated much of the Monarch breeding environment in the U.S. west of the Rockies over the last decade) – more info at the MonarchWatch site if interested.

  5. Carol says:

    Timely (very good ) book on climate change/monarch butterflies (fiction?) by Barbara Kingsolver: Flight Behavior. “With deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world”

  6. Sasparilla says:

    Thanks Carol I’ll check it out.