Climate Leadership Council's Carbon Dividends Plan

I want to talk about the carbon-tax plan from the Climate Leadership Council. They’re proposing a gradually increasing revenue-neutral carbon tax starting at $40 per tonne of carbon dioxide, paying that money as equal dividends to the public, imposing border adjustment to prevent it from placing American companies at a disadvantage, and rolling back regulations made unnecessary by the incentives provided by the tax. You can read a brief summary here or a twenty-page PDF whitepaper here.

There is so much I love about this plan. It is a moderate, reasonable, economically efficient plan that has appealing qualities for people across the political spectrum. The originators of this plan are mostly conservative, but it has the backing from across the political spectrum, from business leaders, and environmental groups. They’re trying to convinvce the Trump administration and current congress to support this, but I very much doubt that will happen. That said, I can envision a day in 2021 when something like this is passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden. Further, the CLC is working in other countries too- this doesn’t have to start in the U.S.

One quibble I have with some of their framing: The authors criticize the Obama administration for the Clean Power Plan and other command-and-control regulations to reduce carbon emissions. Before this, the Obama administration supported a cap-and-trade system, which is another market-based option. The reason the Obama admin had to go the regulatory route is because the Republicans refused to consider legislative options that would have to pass through Congress.

What do my fellow Dopers think?

Speaking about cap-and-trade, powerful interests decided that it was a tool of the devil and financed the type of Republicans that willfully ignored science and economics. Giving us the current state of affairs in congress.

(Link to FRONTLINE report’s transcript. With link to the must see news report.)

So, yeah, I also doubt that the current congress and president will take on this until we toss out most of the Republican rascals out.

Cap and trade is a magnificent opportunity for graft. The original cap and trade bill that failed needed all sorts of exemptions just to get as many votes as it did. Other countries that do cap and trade also don’t include more than half of their emissions in the totals. In order to combat climate change effectively, we need to get down to near zero emissions. Cutting emissions by 10-30% does nothing.

Carbon taxes are less subject to political bullshit. That’s why conservatives prefer them. The downside is that you also can’t get to near zero emissions with a carbon tax. There’s only two ways to get there: command and control, or a major save from some new revolutionary tech. In the absence of the latter, we have to go with the former. We’re seeing a similar dilemma with health care spending. We’ve got all sorts of grand plans to “bend the curve” without harming patient care, but if costs keep on going up and up and up, eventually we’re just going to have to go with command and control reductions in patient care. We’re going to be facing a lot of such choices across policy areas if a future of scarcity comes to be. So we either get major improvements in technology to make all these problems go away easy, or we don’t, and we start imposing some limits.