Friday, November 16, 2012

Do You Hear the Carbon Tax Drumbeat?

It was quite a few years ago that I realized a carbon-tax-with-100%-rebate was the best approach to get what you want less of (carbon) with the least vigorish going to my Wall Street confreres.

Now that Exxon is backing the idea I'm wondering if there was a flaw in the thinking. I trust the oil majors about as much as I trust a commodity trader or...

From Bloomberg:
Carbon Fee From Obama Seen Viable With Backing From Exxon
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is part of a growing coalition backing a carbon tax as an alternative to costly regulation, giving newfound prominence to an idea once anathema in Washington. 

Conservative economists and fossil-fuel lobbyists united in 2009 to fend off climate-change legislation that would have established a cap-and-trade mechanism. They are now locked in a backroom debate over a tax on carbon-dioxide emissions that could raise an estimated $100 billion in its first year.

A carbon tax would force electricity producers, refiners and manufacturers to pay a fee for the greenhouse gases they emit. It is gaining interest as lawmakers and President Barack Obama pledge to simplify the corporate tax code and raise revenue to narrow the deficit. The devastation from superstorm Sandy following the wildfires and drought of this summer have also increased concern about global warming.
“It does fit with the Republican idea of cleaning up the tax code, and to have a clean instrument for addressing this problem,” John Reilly, co-director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, said in an interview. Given this year’s weather disasters, “it’s hard to stand up and say global warming is a hoax,” he said.

The idea still faces long odds. Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said in Washington today that rounding up support for a carbon tax “is going to be a big lift politically.” Asked about it yesterday, Obama said he doubted there was enough political agreement for the tax, though he warned against delay in combating climate change....MORE 
There appears to be a very sophisticated media campaign pushing the tax idea, I'll dig up the examples we've spotted over the last couple weeks. It's quite a list.