Thursday, April 20, 2023

Good News, But Not Entirely

"Mike Lindell’s firm told to pay $5 million in ‘Prove Mike Wrong’ election-fraud challenge," Chris Dehghanpoor, Emma Brown and Jon Swaine, Washington Post, 4/20/23.

Lindell has done a huge amount of damage to America, and I hope the history books say that.


“The G.O.P. is a working-class populist party that has no interest in nurturing highly educated bobo boom towns. The G.O.P. does everything it can to repel those people — and the Tesla they drove in on.” 

- David Brooks, "Why People are Fleeing Blue Cities for Red States," NY Times, 4/13/23.

All people seem to care about anymore is their own pocketbook.


Someone from the Washington Policy Center wrote a blog post:

"Washington’s gas prices have increased between 35 and 52 cents per gallon since CO2 tax," Todd Myers, 4/17/23.

"Depending on the comparison, Washington’s gas prices have increased between 35 and 52 cents more than neighboring states since the state launched a tax on CO2 emissions at the beginning of the year."
Yeah, that's the point! Making fossil fuels more expensive incentivizes individuals to switch to noncarbon sources of fuel.

But I do agree with his second point:
"Despite the clear data, state politicians and agency staff refuse to acknowledge the cost of the increases and aren’t helping residents deal with the impact of the costs."
The poor (and middle class, today) can't just go out and buy an electric car to avoid the carbon tax. What's a new electric car cost, at least $25,000? That's beyond the means of a lot of people. 

Personally, I can't afford an electric car, new or used, right now. Probably never a new one.

So all the poor and middle class can do is suffer the carbon tax. If they drive the US average of about 12,000 mi/yr, and their car gets the US average of about 25 mi/gal, they buy 480 gal/yr of gasoline. If Todd's lower limit of an additional 35 cents/gal (at a minimum) is accurate, that's an extra $168/yr they're paying in carbon taxes. $14/month.

That's not trivial if you're poor. $168 would cover about two months of electricity. (Personally, my average electricity bill over the last 12 months is $87/month.)

The problem is that these Washington legislators want to keep the carbon tax money for themselves, to use as they desire.

A much better way to use it, if you're really serious about halting climate change, is as James Hansen started advocating for long ago: refund all carbon taxes back on an equal per capita basis. 

The poor would actually make money under this plan. Their refunds, since their use if average, would cover their up-front carbon fee costs. But those who use "too much" gasoline would pay more, and most of that would go back to the poor.

This plan would help alleviate poverty.

It should be relatively easy to return all money collected (minus a few percent for administrative costs) to households, it seems to me. They can return tax returns. But of course, there are people who are homeless, sharing a car, etc and how do you handle these situations? But it's not rocket science.

But politicians really don't care about the poor. Of course.


This March was the 2nd-warmest in its records, going back to 1880, according to NASA GISS. The 4th-warmest of any month. That's weird, considering we've just come out of the La Nina -- the third La Nina in consecutive years.

(Graph via Tropical Tidbits.)

So we're not even in an El Nino yet -- which many are predicting for later this year -- and already temperatures have soared out of the La Nina zone. (The GISS global anomaly this past November was "only" 0.73°C [baseline: 1951-1980].)

A new El Nino is likely to get very interesting


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