Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Counter Climate Change Now. It’s Urgent!

LA Times published a Bill McKibben opinion piece calls out President Obama for not really understanding the importance of countering climate change. Failure to get this right will take away all hope for our grandchildren’s children. We must stabilize greenhouse gas emissions in this century's first quarter, and steadily reduce emissions in its second quarter. 
To do this, the global community must leave four fifths of current fossil fuel reserves in the ground [McKibben]. There is a solution according to the leading federal scientist on this subject, Dr. James Hansen -- immediately institute an ever increasing price on oil, gas, and coal extractions. Collect fees at the wellheads domestically, or equivalent tariffs for imports. Exempt imports from countries with similar policies [Hansen]
How best to distribute the fees? Referred to as "fee-and-dividend," return 100% in equal parts to all legal residents (full shares to adults, half shares to the first two children). This would put the money directly back into the economy, letting the market choose among energy alternatives. Those who use fossil-fuel energy least will be net winners overall. Energy corporations would see the futility of continuing to invest in fossil-fuel explorations. You can count on them to redirect their massive current-day profits into alternative energy technologies.
Admittedly, taking the logical path will not make it an easy path. Special interests will do what they are prone to do -- attempt to get it rigged to their benefit. That is why the 100% distribution is so important. Anything less would surely be a sign special interests had success in rigging the system. Cap-and-trade is such an approach. In general, this approach facilitates rigging to benefit some special interests. The system can be and probably is gamed, and is viewed with suspicion by many. Because of these deficiencies, it will not provide the necessary greenhouse gas reductions, which, in turn, extinguish hope for our grandchildren’s children.