Beyond Climate Debate

Boston Herald

Former Republican Cabinet members James Baker, Henry Paulson, and George Shultz, and five other prominent conservatives have proposed the best idea yet for combating supposed global warming — or as it’s been renamed, “climate change.” It’s a proposal that should be able to command support from skeptics and partisans alike of the idea that human emissions are causing an unacceptable warming of the planet.

The advantages of the revenue-neutral tax on carbon emissions proposed by the Climate Leadership Council are, first; it would permit abolition of entire forests of regulations, including the anti-coal Clean Power Plan from President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency now before the courts; second, it would distribute the tax revenues quarterly to every citizen (which avoids complicating ordinary tax payments and refunds); and third, it is adjustable, even endable.

Think of the program as insurance, cancelable if it turns out you don’t need it.

The group suggested the tax start at $40 per ton of carbon, equivalent to about 10 cents on a gallon of gasoline, and rise over the years (which would make the distributions of money rise also), perhaps every five years in accordance with expert recommendations. The initial tax should yield about $2,000 per year to a family of four, the group said.

For almost 30 years, reducing the emissions of carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide, a product of all combustion), has taken on the character of a holy cause, an almost religious crusade for advocates.

Skeptics argue that disaster predictions are based on computer models which have produced abysmally bad projections of climate change so far — that is, a far greater rise in temperature than has occurred. Key phenomena that should be observable if the models do represent reality are just not seen. Many skeptics think believers who back carbon taxes are just big-government liberals out for a revenue source to support more spending.

It’s a hard sell, but could end much fruitless squabbling.

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