Letter: A carbon tax


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  • Sciencefirst Lancaster, PA
    May 1, 2014 5:18 p.m.

    Exxon Mobil and the Sierra Club just today agreed to work together to get a carbon tax passed in 2016. Let's hope it's a revenue-neutral tax that paid by fossil fuels and passed on 100% to consumers so they use it to but solar and wind energy. See The Citizens Climate Lobby website for details. eight Nobel economists support this.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 30, 2014 10:13 a.m.

    Algore has already made millions off of this bogus stuff. It's just a way for the libs to pad their bank accounts at the expense of everyone else. If Algore was really interested in the little people, he'd give his millions away that he's making with thes carbon credits to the poor and less fortunate.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 30, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    This letter is the biggest crock I've read in a long time. The writer should be writing it to the Bejing Gazzette or whatever government run newspaper they have over there. Companies here in the states are regulated to death already by the EPA. I want lower energy prices, not higher ones.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    April 29, 2014 2:19 p.m.

    What a pathetic state of affairs we have come to when either side would have the bizarre belief that one side or the other needs to "control the government" and "force you to follow their rules". Pull out your history books!! It has been the "one party rule" for less than a third of our history. We are a Country that has been built on the ability to compromise, but I suppose I am just reading the Constitution upside down again.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 29, 2014 11:31 a.m.

    People who do not believe in Man-Made Global-Warming need to remember... that it is some people's "faith" and their "God". They feel the same need to proselytize their faith to other people trying to convince them to believe like them... that you feel. So when you say you don't believe it... it's like saying you don't believe in their God. You can see how offensive that would be to them... right?

    So try to be as understanding as possible... and if you don't choose to believe like them... just don't be offensive about it... and keep protecting the earth in the way you believe you should. Don't feel you must embrace their beliefs... UNTIL they control the government and FORCE you too follow their rules...

    April 29, 2014 8:19 a.m.


    CO2 is odorless and colorless. It is a vital part of the earth's biosphere. When animals (and humans) breathe, we emit CO2 produced by the energy-consuming mechanisms in our cells. Plants take in CO2 and use it in conjunction with sunlight and water to convert it back to food. Plants thrive on much higher levels of CO2 than have been available in recent history. Greenhouses will sometimes artificially increase the amount of CO2 in order to accelerate plant growth.

    We are nowhere near 1000 ppm, nor have we any hope of getting there in our lifetime, even though plant life would love it.

    The red "no burn" days are the result of other emissions. I'm all for replacing our coal, oil, and gas burning with nuclear power plants and electric cars, as that would have a tremendous positive impact on the environment. Solar and wind not so much, as they aren't economically viable and have a large environmental impact, much of which has not yet been evaluated properly.

    CO2 is not a problem, and we shouldn't let it divert our focus from real problems.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    April 29, 2014 7:51 a.m.

    A carbon tax, though perceived to be a simple solution, is politically a non-starter.

    Thankfully, there are alternative ways to push society onto a low-carbon future -- from incentives for clean energy and technology (e.g., tax breaks on solar or electric vehicles) to renewable energy standards (requirements that utilities incorporate increasing levels of clean energy into their resources mixes).

    Another tactic that actually can appeal to the business-oriented right is elimination of subsidies for carbon-intensive industries. From the subsidized healthcare costs of black lung disease for coal miners to water subsidies for making steam in power generation to drilling subsidies, etc., can all be eliminated in the name of "free markets."

    Utah doesn't have a severance tax on coal -- keeping it cheap and making it hard to move Utah into 21st century energies and technologies.

    I was just reading that Apple is powered almost by 100 percent renewable energy. The company will never come to Utah because we can't supply it the energy it wants. Sadly, our polluting energy and air are keeping good jobs from coming to Utah.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 29, 2014 6:07 a.m.

    So Pops…. help me understand. Are you saying those code orange and red days…. are bogus. Their is no negative health effects to "atmospheric" conditions… and we should ignore those warnings? Just trying to understand your perspective and science here.

    Now I will gladly admit that I probably haven't studied the subject as much as you…. but in the readings I have done, there are plenty of studies that show the cognitive and respiratory impacts of elevated levels of CO2. There are plenty of studies out there. We know at normal levels, CO2 has little effect. But at levels as low as 1,000 ppm, there are numerous studies that show cognitive impact.

    So I am just wondering. How far do we let it go, before we do something? Just wondering your thoughts.

    April 28, 2014 10:34 p.m.

    There is only one measurable consequence of increasing atmospheric CO2, and that is increased plant growth. As far as global temperature goes, nobody has been able to establish mathematical correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature despite decades of trying and billions of dollars spent on the effort. The bottom line is that we can't possibly know what effect more or less atmospheric CO2 will have on the global climate because we can't quantify the effect that past increases have had. Taxing CO2 emissions is worse than pointless when it comes to the environment because the only measurable impact of CO2 is positive. Well, maybe that's just my opinion, but I happen to think that higher crop yields are a good thing. And at 400 ppm it certainly does no harm to animal life.

    Hottest decade ever? Well, that's mostly hyperbole. We've only had satellite measurements for part of a 60-year solar cycle, and it happened to be the "up" part. It looks like we'll be heading down soon, so I guess we'll have to resurrect the global cooling meme from the 70s.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 28, 2014 4:52 p.m.

    "Let California build high speed rail at their expense without any Federal subsidy and see how fast they go broke"

    And California could say the same thing back.... let Utah pay for their own highways to low populated areas...

    "Essentially the idea is that everyone in the middle of the country should subsidize rail for the East and West Coasts,"

    Your kidding right... you think Utah tax payers are subsidizing tax payers on the coast. You have the flow of dollars going the wrong way, completely. Utah is a net receiver of federal tax dollars... those you think you are subsidizing are the states that are net providers of revenue.

    I don't think that many disagree high speed rail is not ideal for lightly populated places like Utah... But that has little to do with the fact that there is decades of precedent of the government using pricing (sometimes by taxation) as a way to encourage or discourage behavior or usage.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 28, 2014 4:38 p.m.

    @Thid Barker
    Three of the four sources you listed are just talking about the weakest solar cycle in a century. Now... the fact that natural cycles are involved like always doesn't change the fact there's still an anthropogenic component. You can have positive and negative forcings going on at the same time (and when they cancel each other out it doesn't mean they don't exist, it just means we have a "pause" in temperature change). The question is... how much do you want to bet on the solar pattern staying consistently low for a long period like the Maunder Minimum to maintain the counterbalance on human-induced warming? We know one thing... the anthropogenic component is not going away.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 28, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    Cheerleaders: "A tax... a tax... a carbon carbon tax... YAY"!

    People who think taxing carbon is a tax on somebody else need to think again....

    Who pays the tax?

    People who buy ANYTHING or do ANYTHING.

    If you buy food (that's most of us). If you consume anything (that's all of us).

    Do you really think the producers are going to just swallow this tax... and keep prices the same?

    NO!... the price of EVERYTHING will go up. The price of anything that needs energy to be produced, anything that requires energy to bring it to market, or energy to keep the store lights on, or to keep the office running...

    Businesses will be required to raise prices... and cut jobs (again)...

    Don't let them tell you that this is just at tax on somebody else (like they did in the recent election)... it's a direct or indirect tax on every person who buys of consumes ANYTHING...

  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    April 28, 2014 3:49 p.m.

    UtahBlueDevil- It was claimed by others that consumers are not the ones paying the fees? Well who is? If you increase the tax on Exxon, they pass the cost onto the consumer, so how does anyone but the consumer pay the fee. And when we buy food or any other goods, the vast majority of which are transported by trucks that must now pay more for fuel, and thusly charge more to transport goods, does that not increase the cost of those goods? How is the consumer protected? And if the government gives the money back to the consumer to offset the increase, how will that lead the consumer to use less? Well it won't.

    As for high speed rail. That is great in a small, densely populated countries like Japan and Europe, but as Mike said, that does not work well in the US for the reasons he specified. Essentially the idea is that everyone in the middle of the country should subsidize rail for the East and West Coasts, and parts of the Midwest. Why? Let California build high speed rail at their expense without any Federal subsidy and see how fast they go broke.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 28, 2014 2:35 p.m.

    "Leave it to a Californian to say an inanimate object will pay the fee, also called a tax."

    Yes... and my diner didn't pay the tax on my meal last night either. The car didn't pay any taxes either. My tv.. it didn't pay the tax when I bought it either.

    No one claimed the item was paying the fee... gosh! You pay different fees based on what you buy or you consume. How is that such a hard concept to grasp. I will not make any sweeping statements about Utahan's not understanding the concept because I am sure the vast majority do.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 28, 2014 2:25 p.m.

    Mike Richardson.... "did you really ask "Do the liberals really think that adding another huge tax on the United States will cause China to stop polluting the air?"

    What, do you also expect all our other sin taxes to have impact on the Chinese? Really? We need the Chinese to do something in order for us to do the right thing? When your driving down the road (I know you obey the speed limit - you told us so - but bear with me on the example)... do you let the others speed determine what speed you feel is right to drive? If the guy in the next lane isn't going to slow down, do you speed up so you are both doing the wrong thing?

    Bottom line, Global Warming should not be the reason we try to have clean air. It is a good talking point. But if we all claim to be so worried about our grand kids future, shouldn't we be just as worried about the air quality we leave them as we are about any potential national debt they may be encumbered with? Or do we just care about "their" debt...?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 28, 2014 2:16 p.m.

    re: marxist,

    While on the surface, your proposal to have the "government" create train service to eliminate the need for cars might seem to have merit, have you ever travelled the West? Are you aware how sparsely populated the West is? Would you have the people from eastern Utah drive 150 miles to get to a "train station", that would take them 200 or 300 miles north or south and then rent a cart to travel another 150 miles east or west?

    I've lived in Europe where almost everyone is within walking distance of a train station. This is not Europe. Their methods won't work in America. I know that you're a great fan of Karl Marx, but he didn't live in America. His ideas found acceptance with people who rejected a King. We rejected a King in 1776. Marx has nothing to offer those of us who have accepted freedom and responsibility.

    A "carbon tax" would destroy us. A "train system" would financially ruin America. The CBO said that Amtrak was subsidized with $1.5 billion last year. Hardly a recommendation for "improvement".

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 28, 2014 1:47 p.m.

    Still nobody has responded to explain why it will soon be too late... if we don't raise our taxes NOW!!!

    Will the politicians we need not be there... if we don't act NOW...

    Will popular opinion change... if we don't raise taxes NOW...

    Will the science change... If we don't tax NOW...

    Well the planet collapse... If we don't raise taxes NOW...

    What exactly is going to change... making it "too late"... if we don't raise taxes NOW...?

    I wish I knew what he was talking about when he says IF we don't do it NOW... it will be too late...


    If he's talking about Climate Change... that is already happening... or isn't (depending on which side you are on). So it's either too late already... or the planet can handle things and it's not imperative that we raise taxes NOW... to stop global warming... NOW...


    If it's one of the political things... I say it can wait.


    If it's really going to be too late IF we wait a week or 2... it's probably to late already...

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    April 28, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    Schnee. Growing numbers of scientists are predicting global cooling: Russia’s Pulkovo Observatory: ‘We could be in for a cooling period that lasts 200-250 years’

    ‘Sun Sleeps’: Danish Solar Scientist Svensmark declares ‘global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning…enjoy global warming while it lasts’

    Prominent geologist Dr. Don Easterbrook warns ‘global COOLING is almost a slam dunk’ for up to 30 years or more

    Australian Astronomical Society warns of global COOLING as Sun’s activity ‘significantly diminishes’

    Never let the facts get in the way of your political agenda!

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 28, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    @Thid Barker
    "and the earth has been cooling for over a decade and carbon has nothing to do with it. "

    We just had the warmest decade in the modern record and carbon is absolutely a greenhouse gas. You're banking a lot on the weakest solar cycle in a century and a string of 4 of 6 years with La Ninas (shouldn't we be cooling rather than stalled considering the recent negative natural forcings?) Nonetheless we find that the recent La Nina years are the warmest La Nina years on record, the recent El Ninos the warmest El Nino years on record (1998 was the strongest El Nino in half a century), and the warmest ENSO neutral years the warmest neutral years on record.

    Yes, people pay the taxes, but you overlook that it's cycled back through subsidies so those who are less energy wasteful are getting more back than they put in. That's the incentive for reducing emissions and the reason cap and dividend works.

  • Sciencefirst Lancaster, PA
    April 28, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    A tax that was paid by fossil fuel to us, the consumers, is clearly our best solution to climate change. It's been endorsed by Eight Nobel economists and by the Harvard economist who co-wrote the latest IPCC report on solutions to climate change. It's simple, requires no government regulations and will save us from paying trillions for future climate change disasters. We've already paid over a Trillion in taxes for climate change (NOAA website) and it's hardly gotten started. The IEA says waiting just five more years will cost about $5 trillion. This carbon tax will cost us almost nothing, for consumers, it's a wash, a tax swap, but for fossil fuels it will be fatal.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 28, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    Re: Mike Richards "If we need to use fuel to get to work, to heat our homes, to run our industry, do they think that adding a huge tax will mean that we won't drive to work, that we will stop heating our homes and that industry will stop burning fuel? "

    I agree - the carbon tax could be a severe drag on an economy struggling out of recession.

    That's why I advocated for positive government policy in behalf of transport modal shift towards high speed rail, an economical use of fossil fuel based energy. Of course there's government again - you won't like that in spite of government's involvement in the first transcontinental railroad, space exploration, medical research, the internet, interstate highways etc. Building high speed rail makes energy sense and it would be great economic stimulus.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    April 28, 2014 11:44 a.m.

    "Remember it is a fee on dirty fuels, not on citizens."

    Riiiight. Because the gallon of gas is going to pay the fee out of its wallet.

    Leave it to a Californian to say an inanimate object will pay the fee, also called a tax.

  • jfreed27 Los Angeles, CA
    April 28, 2014 10:34 a.m.

    Thank you Judy, for a well thought out letter. I know you will get a knee-jerk freak out from many readers, but if the reader really look at the proposals.. it's all good.

    How has a carbon tax worked so far? The carbon tax in BC, Canada, has lowered emissions (10-19%) and has lowered taxes with the fees. Lowered taxes, not raise them! Remember it is a fee on dirty fuels, not on citizens. And the rebate more than makes up for the increases in energy prices for most of us.

    And what is so powerful about this approach is that a 'green tariff' will be imposed on all goods entering the U.S. This has two benefits. One, it protects domestic industries from cheap, dirty energy goods, and two, it is a powerful lever to induce China, for example, to reduce emissions - or pay the tariff.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 28, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    Re: "We are running out of time"....

    The letter writer gave nothing to support this presumption in the letter... just threw this in at the end (to scare us I guess).

    Running out of time for WHAT?

    Save the world?

    Political will?

    Right party in power?

    Popular support fall apart?

    What will change... making us "out of time"? What is going to change making us "out of time" if we don't tax NOW....?


    I think individually acting now is best, but what's really going to become "too late" if we don't get Congress to increase our taxes NOW!!

    Even the most global warming obsessed people (except Al Gore.. who still thinks the polar ice caps will be completely gone by 2013)... acknowledge that this change is very very slow.

    From some perspectives it's already too late. The tipping point has already been reached and even if we removed all humans and industry today... we can't turn around the climate trend. It's already too late... there's already too much junk in the air.

    But how will we "run out of time" if we fail to increase taxes THIS legislative session???

    Please support this assertion...

  • joeandrade Salt Lake City, UT
    April 28, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    Some may hope and wish otherwise - and lobby and work against carbon fees - but the fees will eventually come because they are really the only economically viable way to get our economy and culture to wean itself from its fossil fuel addiction.
    There will likely be a significant carbon fee or tax imposed on all sources, leakages, and uses of fossil carbon-based fuels and products. They will probably start off small and ramp up rapidly, with the goal of phasing out most fossil fuel use over the next 5 to 20 years - to avoid further cooking of the planet. Cutting our addiction to fossil fuels will also greatly improve air quality and health.
    It's going to happen - the sooner the better.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 28, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    Actually engery efficient lighting could reduce our energy needs by 50 percent if 8 percent of energy users switched over.

    There is a reason utilites offer rebates and incentives for lighting retrofits.

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    April 28, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    First, a Bostonian's opinion doesn't belong in the Deseret News.

    And second, this is one of the world's worst ideas. Carbon is not a pollutant, and neither is CO2. Taxing it is simply an attempt to take money from "evil" segments of industry and put it into the pockets of "righteous" Big Green, all at the expense of you and me. It would raise the cost of everything, and will do NOTHING to affect climate, as conclusively demonstrated by numerous scientific studies.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    April 28, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    Taxes are not magic. They do not have super powers to clean up the environment, or cure cancer, or fix every ill of society.

    The only super power more taxes have is the power to destroy the nation, by destroying the will to work.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    April 28, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    Read your own letter.
    “in Europe and in developing countries like China, annual emissions of greenhouse gases have risen almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century as they did in the last decades of the 20th century.”

    How are carbon taxes in the US going to affect how much China and Europe emit? All carbon taxes do is give us a competitive disadvantage.

    I think high speed rail is not a bad idea, but it will not pull commuters out of their cars, so it will not be that effective in reducing emissions.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    April 28, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    Are liberal really that ignorant of economics? Sadly, yes!

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 28, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    Re: "If Congress taxes fossil fuel companies for the emissions their products cause, energy prices will increase and emissions will drop."

    And, of course, the Nation's economy will fail and real people's jobs will be destroyed.

    But then, that's what liberals really want, isn't it?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 28, 2014 7:29 a.m.

    Do the liberals really think that adding another huge tax on the United States will cause China to stop polluting the air? Do they think that if Utah pays a carbon tax that Mexico City will suddenly become clean? What is it about their "science" that shows how paying a tax will clean up the air? If we need to use fuel to get to work, to heat our homes, to run our industry, do they think that adding a huge tax will mean that we won't drive to work, that we will stop heating our homes and that industry will stop burning fuel? Do they think that a huge tax will help? How will it help? Who will it help?

    The only people that will benefit from a carbon tax are politicians who will have more money to spend on pork, just as the only people who will benefit from ObamaCare are politicians who will have 18% of all revenue to spend on pork.

    How much pollution does Obama cause when he flys in Air Force One? But why should he care. He's exempt from all rules.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    April 28, 2014 7:03 a.m.

    When someone invents a carburetor that gets 100 miles to the gallon, It's the oil company's the buy the patten who is subsidized by the Gov who is taxing us on the gas we buy and now found another way to tax us. E10 gas decreases gas mileage, Winter gas decreases gas mileage. So we the rat races is a squeal cage.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    April 28, 2014 6:27 a.m.

    Excellent letter

    Except, we will never ever be able to enact a carbon tax because so many repubs have sworn to the Norquist pledge. In order to fix this, we need to vote out all repubs. Come this fall, repubs are gonna be hit and hit hard.

    We need to teach them a lesson. You pledge allegiance to the flag not to Norquist.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    April 28, 2014 6:26 a.m.

    "Readers should urge their U.S. senators and representatives to support a carbon tax on fossil fuel companies and a carbon rebate to households. We are running out of time."

    Totally false! We are not running out of time and the earth has been cooling for over a decade and carbon has nothing to do with it. A carbon tax will only harm the our country by driving up food costs, transportation, clothing, medicines, everything! Women and poor children will be harmed most. A carbon tax will destroy jobs in every sector and intelligent Americans should reject this misguided environmental and economic foolishness!

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 28, 2014 12:20 a.m.

    I can tell you there will be no carbon tax imposed. The fossil fuel industries have seen to that.

    Is there a more positive way to attack the issue of fossil fuel use? The goal would be to use fossil fuels more efficiently by advancing high speed rail. Yes, high speed rail would use power generated by coal-powered and gas-powered plants but it would use those fuels efficiently. Efficient high speed rail could supplant wasteful gas-fueled automobiles.

    We would build the high speed rail plant and rely on its attractiveness to lure people out of their cars. All this would be without the punitive carbon tax.

    If only Republicans were willing to play ball with high speed rail. High speed rail technology is proven and is in widespread in Europe, Japan, and China. Do any of these areas regret building high speed rail? Not to my knowledge.

    Republicans seem determined to use fossil fuels indefinitely and as inefficiently as possible. This will get them votes in coal country, but it is bad public policy.