Sunday, March 11, 2012

James Hansen's Excellent TED Talk

This is an excellent presentation by James Hansen, and worth watching if you haven't seen it yet. It succinctly and clearly sums up the arguments for action on climate change. I'm dubious we could electronically distribute a carbon tax back to everyone on a monthly basis, let alone with no cost, but that's a small quibble. [It would be simpler to do it via the tax code, like Australia plans to do, but only about half of the country pays income taxes so that might not work. But if the IRS can send a check back to everyone as they did during the Bush administration, I suppose they could figure this out.]

Plus, that's a nice hat.




1 comment:

Dan Moutal said...

"I'm dubious we could electronically distribute a carbon tax back to everyone on a monthly basis"

There is some precedent for something similar here in Canada. People with low income get GST rebates (the GST is a sales tax) every 3 months. And here in BC the low income tax credit for the carbon tax is tacked on to the GST rebate. By default cheques are mailed to people, but recipients can opt to have the money directly deposited into their bank accounts if they would like.

A similar system could probably be implemented for Hansen's policy proposal.

More importantly (for me anyways) is the potential for this to become a regressive tax (this is what prompts the GST rebates in Canada). The simple (at least technically, perhaps not politically) solution is to give greater rebates back to low income earners and lesser rebates to high income earners.

Another interesting option to make Hansen's policy more palatable is to do what BC did when it introduced a carbon tax. Give everyone a preemptive rebate before the carbon tax kicks in.