People Should Use The Word Because More Often


Over at the AEI a piece talking about carbon taxes and the difference between the US and Europe. A piece which really should be using the word because:

In the US, carbon taxes are so disliked that most of the policies that climate-driven politicians push – including many Democratic presidential candidates – are targeted on businesses, as though consumers can be protected from them. Al Gore certainly had it right in 1992 when he talked about requiring society to accept a “wrenching transformation” if we really wanted to combat carbon use. The tax rates required to actually limit carbon use would be very high: filling up your car could cost $600 to $1000, and heating or cooling your modest home could require $2000 or $3000 every month.

No, that’s not what the rates would have to be. As is shown by the next paragraph:

Even then, the middle class would adapt to such costs by limiting growth in energy use as Europeans have done for years. In many EU countries, it costs upwards of $140 to fill up a large car (in the UK taxes on gas are over 80% of the total price), but Europeans have shorter distances to travel, live in more densely populated areas and are more likely to be able to use public transport systems, some of which are more energy efficient.

Europeans have markedly lower emissions levels than Americans. Because we live closer together, commute shorter distances, have smaller engines in our cars and so on. And we have all of these things because energy is more expensive here. That is, the $140 to fill up the car leads to fewer emissions, it isn’t necessary to go to the $600 to achieve that goal.

Really, people should embrace “because”, it explains so much about the world.

Oh, and there is also that larger point. If it costs an extra $460 in taxes to reduce emissions, a fee that is something like 10x the damage done to that future, then we shouldn’t want to reduce emissions in the first place. Because we shouldn’t do things where the costs are greater than the benefits.