What would 'Party X' do about the environment? - PART 5: A very special carbon tax
IMAGINE A ‘PARTY X’ that was actually committed to opposing statism ,and to advocating for free enterprise. Imagine such a party had a cabinet committing to rolling back the state, and an environment minister brimming over with ideas to do that.
Here, in several parts, are the sort of environmental policies such a party (and such a minister) could advocate. Seven simple policies using present-day political realities to roll back the state without introducing any new coercion along the way.
Today, Today, what I like to ironically my 'Carbon Tax Plan': A Carbon Tax—but not as you know it!
We've all heard the litany: We’re all gonna die. Runaway global warming is gonna get us. Man-made global warming is killing the planet. We "need" a carbon tax, urgently … Agree or disagree, like it or not, but those sentiments and those statements are political reality, both here and across the Tasman.
So I’m proposing something to bring honesty to warmist science and warmist politics. Yes campers, it is a carbon tax. But look closely, because it’s a very special carbon tax.
First off, it’s a carbon tax that is a substitute for other taxes (yes, a condition of Party X’s support for any new tax would would be the removal of another tax.)
And second of all, it’s a carbon tax that’s reality based, i.e., it’s a tax whose rate is linked to actual global temperatures instead of to the sound of hot air.
What I’m actually suggesting is not new. It was first put forward by Canadian Ross McKitrick, who was the co-debunker with Steve McIntyre of the IPCC’s infamous ‘Hockey Stick. What he put forward was a carbon tax linked to actual global temperatures – specifically, to the temperature of the tropical troposphere, which is precisely where the IPCC's science says the primary CO2 "fingerprint" is to be found.
It is, if you like, a way to call warmists’ bluff. But it is a new tax, of sorts, albeit a tax with a number of very attractive advantages for everyone on both sides of the debate.
Because if you really believe that temperatures are going to rise precipitately, then how could you reasonably oppose such a tax -- from the warmist point of view, this is a one-way bet with cross-party support! And if you don’t believe, it’s the same.
So if warmists were to oppose the tax, it would call into question everything they say they hold to be true—and vice versa.
But there’s more:
- The Special Carbon Tax offers a real fiscal bonus. If the globe warms we pony up, true, (but remember this is offset by the removal of another tax). But if the globe cools as many solar researchers expect?Then if the globe cools, we all get a real refund. “If models are right, then the tax would go up a lot,” [points out economistGeoffrey Plauche], “but on the other hand, if the tropical troposphere temperatures continue to decline as they have since 2002, then the tax would go negative and turn into a subsidy on carbon emissions. Of course, the alarmists are convinced this won't happen so it shouldn't be an obstacle to them endorsing the tax...” Like I say, a Party X could use this to call warmists’ bluff.
- But that’s not all. With carbon taxes linked to global temperature, people would begin to really focus on the actual means by which global temperatures are measured – how the measurements are produced, what the actual surface temperatures are, and how closely (if at all) they correspond with predicted temperatures. They might notice too that the methods by which the surface temperatures are presently produced are seriously shonky but considered “good enough for government work.” And they might even notice that there has been no real warming since 1998.
- There will be serious attention paid to this ongoing temperature figure, so much so that we might even see warmists forced to admit there has been no real warming since 1998. We might expect to see the measurement recorded at the Stock Exchange, and shown on the news each night right after the Dow Jones and the Nikkei and the US govt debt figures, and for the same reason those figures are reported and with the same pressures regarding accuracy and accountability (except of course for the US govt debt figures).
- In a further wrinkle suggested by economist Arnold Kling and others, we would expect there to develop a futures market in the temperature indicator, with taxes, profits and predictions tied to the futures price in a way that rewards accurate forecasting instead of the sort of political horse-trading rewarded by the IPCC.
- Furthermore, all those computer models that predict warming (and since 1998 that’s the only place we actually see any real warming) – all those models would be under much closer scrutiny. And as Climate Science Coalition convenor Owen McShane points out, we’d expect to see the rise of real, non-government, climate experts to make real non-government sponsored predictions about where troposphere temperature is going, Those whose "predetermination and bias" always encourages them to predict "warmer" would soon lose their clients and their track record would be there for all to see. No doubt too these experts would be listed in the same pages as the share market and similar "real" information. As Owen says, “The late Augie Auer would be thrilled.”
- Finally, as I said before, this idea was originally proposed by Ross McKitrick (the chap who helped debunk the bogus IPCC hockey stick) so it already has serious credibility, and has received significant international attention. No harm at all in using that spotlight to help promote more freedom here.
So in short we have here a “tax” designed to call warmists’ bluff while keep industry free of their shackles, and doing it in the name of the warmists' name—a “tax” that promises to be a tax refund.
You can see why I call it a special carbon tax.
[Tomorrow, Part 6: A fishy story]
* * * * *
THE SERIES SO FAR:
INTRO: 'What Would 'Party X' Do About the Environment?'
PART ONE: Un-taxes
PART TWO: 'A Nuisance and a BOR.'
PART THREE: Making Life Easier for Small Consents
PART FOUR: “Iwi then Kiwi” - A Unique Privatisation
THE SERIES IS BASED ON THE PRINCIPLE DEVELOPED HERE: 'Transitions to Freedom: Shall We Kill Them in Their Beds?'