Astonishingly, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight Manages To Get Climate Change Right – A Carbon Tax

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I’ve not had a great deal of time for John Oliver over the years. You know, personal prejudice and all that – and where the hell did a Cambridge graduate from the Midlands get that estuarine accent?

However, he does manage to get climate change right, at least in principle, here:

A written description here:

Although there are many solutions to the problem of climate change, Oliver chose to focus on carbon pricing to let his audience “watch the rerun of Game of Thrones, so that you can see what garbage from craft services they’ve hidden as an Easter egg this week!” The host tried to impress upon his audience the severity of carbon: “The current situation of carbon is critical. Carbon emissions are, by far, the largest source of greenhouse gases. Yet, right now, it’s basically free to pollute the air with carbon dioxide …” He then noted this was strange: “We’ve universally agreed that polluting is bad and yet, it’s free to do it. When you litter, you pay a fine. When you drive above the speed limit, you pay a fine. When you steal 400 hamsters from PetSmart, tie them to a sled and race through the streets on a hamster sleigh, you pay a fine. Is that fine worth it? Of course it is! But you do pay it!” Oliver the discussed two ways that carbon pricing could be introduced: cap and trade or carbon tax. For the latter, “the problem there is mostly the word tax which has become a dirty word in politics”.

Entirely correct.

Assume that emissions damage the climate. We therefore desire fewer emissions. How do we do that? We put a price upon emissions.

Done.

Do note what the alternative is, that Green New Deal – because the idiots are going to do something. That Green New Deal is giving AOC a $90 trillion checkbook drawn on our account. This is unlikely to work out well.

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Bob ZybachRhoda KlappQ46Climan Recent comment authors
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Climan
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Climan

Hmm, we already have a high carbon tax (fuel duty) on petrol/diesel, and massive taxes on alcohol, but they keep on growing strongly. Yes, the 5/10p charge on plastic bags worked (sort of), but has made zero impact on net-plastic, which is dominated by packaging, and no amount of tax on plastic packaging is going to stop its use.

Viable alternatives to fossil fuels simply don’t exist, for the billions of people who have grown so numerous thanks to … combustion of fossil fuels.

Q46
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Q46

Before trying to solve a problem, isn’t it a good idea to check there is one in the first place otherwise it is a tremendous misallocation of resources? Isn’t checking there actually is a problem to solve, the starting point for an economist, rather than opining on best way to solve it? So there is no data showing any abnormal variations in the Earth’s climate – people insisting there is is not data – nor is it possible to predict future changes in climate, and since attempts at such predictions have widening margins of error the further in time they… Read more »

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

i say again, due diligence.

Bob Zybach
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Bob Zybach

Great. One more tax for a problem that only exists because of politics. More jobs for bureaucrats. Yay.