Let’s tax carbon

Let’s tax carbon

Having lived through and survived Richard Nixon’s promise of energy independence, Jimmy Carter’s effort to substitute a hair shirt and a woolly sweater for a thermostat set at comfortable levels, George W. Bush’s insistence that Americans surrender their incandescent light bulbs, other presidents’ support for subsidies for ethanol and nuclear power, and the current administration’s plan to substitute subsidized wind and sun for fossil fuels, I thought I had seen it all—every technique imaginable for interfering with free markets and consumer choice. I was wrong.

Now we have the Third National Climate Assessment, making the case for further intervention by our government, and every other government for that matter, in the energy markets. The assessment comes in at a thumping 829 pages, succinctly summarized in a 137-page “Highlights” section, and concludes that the globe is warming—and freezing; we are experiencing more severe droughts—and floods; our forests, many of them “within urban areas,” are being destroyed; our winter storms are more severe; “Native Peoples’ access to traditional foods and adequate water” is threatened. If you experience weather of any sort, an experience hard to avoid, it is sure to change. You are experiencing climate change. It’s happening “right now,” not in some far-off future, says the president.

There’s no mention of slaying of the first born, lest the authors be accused of plagiarizing from the Passover Haggadah’s nasty plagues (bugs, hail, locusts, et al.) visited by God on the Egyptians who mistreated the Israelites. But that’s all that’s left out of the parade of horribles.

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