Friday, June 15, 2007

Tax greenhouse gas emissions!

The quickest and most effective way to deal with global warming is to tax greenhouse gas emissions and to spend the proceeds to encourage the use of renewable energy locally.

Tax puts a price on pollution and, in combination with a reward for those who avoid pollution, it establishes market mechanisms that encourage efficiency, innovation and technological progress.

It is also the quickest way to combat global warming - a tax will immediately discourage pollution, whereas other policies may allow the rich to continue polluting, e.g. by paying the poor in developing and over-populated countries where people will be inclined to use that money to mimic the lifestyle of the rich, leading only to more pollution.

Instead of taxing the rich and handing the money over to the poor, as in the old socialist motto, we should adopt a new motto, i.e. tax energy suppliers who pollute and give it to suppliers who don't.

By taxing pollution and spending the proceeds on rewards for clean and renewable energy, the policy is doubly effective.

Spending the proceeds locally ensures that they are used where they have the most impact, as the biggest markets for energy will receive the biggest incentives to shift away from pollution.