McKibben on carbon tax

By John McClaughry

Bill McKibben, the activist in residence at Middlebury College, has written a long piece in the Nov. 22 issue of New Yorker. To many readers it will be a persuasive explanation of the terrors of climate change, with its sea level rises, fires, floods, and droughts.

McKibben, like Bernie Sanders, lays the blame on ExxonMobil and the Koch Brothers as the major culprits who have blocked dramatic action by the world to stop emitting greenhouse gases.

But the paragraph that caught my eye was this: “Even if a carbon tax somehow made it past the GOP, the amount Exxon says it wants — $40 a ton — is tiny compared to what the IPCC’s analysts say would be required to make a real dent in the problem. And in return the proposed legislation would relieve the oil companies of all liability for the havoc they’ve caused. IPCC estimates that avoiding “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” requires governments to impose carbon dioxide taxes of between $135 and $5,500 per metric ton”.

Here in Vermont, McKibben and the carbon tax advocates want to put a tax on heating oil, gasoline, diesel, propane and natural gas that rises to $40 a ton after eight years. If the whole world did that, according to McKibben it would produce only 30 percent of the absolute bare minimum needed to make any difference to Planet Earth. So they’ll demand to quadruple the tax, and make you pay it.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

8 thoughts on “McKibben on carbon tax

  1. This Communist is totally….totally controlled by…who would think?…..Communists. George Soros, the Ford Foundation (not cars folks; a Communist group dedicated to Communism in America)….the man is a phony. But one that dimwits listen to because they are too dumb to think for themselves. And Vermont’s stupid, insipid news media plays this goon up like he really knows what he is talking about. I think Vermonters just like to be made fools of.

  2. Any tax, including a carbon tax, passing through the hands of government suffers from “the sticky fingers syndrome”, 2 dollars go in, 1.5 dollars come out.
    The difference stays to feed the growing government bureaucracy.
    The key word missing in this discussion is UNILATERAL
    VT’s government imposing on Vermonters a unilateral carbon tax is like shooting them in the feet.
    If the carbon tax were nationwide, I would support it.
    The carbon tax would:
    – Impose a $10/ton tax of carbon emitted in 2017, increasing to $100/ton in 2027.
    – Generate about $100 million in state revenue in 2019, about $520 million in 2027.
    – Be added to the fuel prices at gas stations and fuel oil/propane dealers.
    Drivers should expect a tax increase of 9 c/gal of gasoline in 2018, increasing to about 89 cents in 2027.
    Homeowners, schools, hospitals, businesses, etc., should expect a tax increase of 58 c/gal of propane and $1.02/gal of heating oil and diesel fuel in 2027.

    Vermont CO2eq Emissions: Vermont’s CO2eq has been increasing as shown in the table; not shown are CO2eq emissions from wood burning, and CO2 sequestration by Vermont’s forests.

    Vermont GHG Emissions 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015
    Total CO2eq, million metric ton 8.588 9.624 10.214 9.095 9.545 9.990

    This is abundant proof Vermont’s government has been implementing heavily subsidized, ineffective energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, which, when taken together, have been ineffective CO2eq reduction programs. With such a dismal track record, the state should get out of the energy business, instead of agitating for unilateral carbon taxes to make things even worse. See URLs.

    • “Vermont GHG Emissions 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015
      Total CO2eq, million metric ton 8.588 9.624 10.214 9.095 9.545 9.990”

      While these statistics look as though very little improvement or a regress in 25 years, it would be important to analyze the increase in net population and industry during that period. Interesting to note that the CAFE standards for autos and trucks as well as MPG/vehicle have increased dramatically in 25 years but they too, have not had the impact we were all told would happen. Yes, one could argue that the negative impact would be substantially higher without those improvements, but globally one could surmise that we are merely treading water.
      I agree with others here that the Energy Efficiency VT boondoggle is just that, another unelected bureaucracy which will ask the Legislature for increases in the annual budget merely to get an annual salary raise. Funny how the savings in energy efficiency are quickly followed by an increase in electric rates, negating the gains. How many types of light bulbs have they promoted and subsidized? As technology moves forward there will always be a better mousetrap/more efficient product. Todays informed consumer will make the change when the benefits outweigh the losses.

  3. Oh my Lord, a journalism teacher masquerading as a climate expert.

    Based on the comments, the unilateral carbon tax in Vermont is as dead as a doornail.
    The Democrats will never give up on their socialism, including their carbon tax, because it is THEIR way to stay in power.
    Having lots of government programs that dole out money to favored groups is their reason for being.
    Those groups will be thankful, and vote Democrat forever.
    This carbon tax has absolutely nothing to do with GW.
    Vermont could disappear, and whatever went on still would go on.
    The carbon tax would set in motion the mother of all government boondoggles that would last for decades.
    Vermont’s way of life would become unrecognizable.
    The regimentation and coercion would be off the charts, all as determined by a nameless bureaucracy.
    Vermonters have been subjected to about 15 years of expensive energy programs to save the world.
    Their ineffectiveness has been proven by INCREASING CO2 emissions.
    With such a dismal record, the state must get out of the energy business.

  4. The predictions regarding climate change might as well be coming from a fortune teller. These dire predictions have been made since the 1970s, and as we chronologically passed the dooms day dates, they did not come true.The Left is pushing the climate change alarmist agenda more than ever. As with so many other planks in the Liberal Democratic platform, they are in lockstep with the United Nations. Gun control, climate change, unrestricted world migration, smart growth, and the list goes on. In the case of climate change, the UN’s plan is to tax the wealthy West and redistribute the monies to the poorer countries while at the same time skimming off funds to maintain their organization. In 2017, of all the countries that signed on to the Paris Agreement to reduce CO2 emissions, the United States was THE ONLY COUNTRY to reduce its CO2 output. You would think that the Left would be glad to hear that and proclaim that we are headed on the right direction. But no, it’s more of the same doom and gloom.

    There are many exo-terrestrial forces acting upon the earth that we have no control over. To continually state that humanity is to be responsible for (yet to happen) changes to the planet without a deeper understanding of these forces is not the result of scientific research, it’s political posturing in support of the redistribution of wealth. For example, the sun appears to entering a deep sunspot minimum that was last experienced during the middle ages. We are only just beginning to understand the effects these cyclical sunspot variations on our planet. New studies using satellite data show that the Earth’s thermosphere, the region 60 miles above the earth’s surface, is cooling at a rate not previously seen. What effect this will have on the Earth is yet to be known.

    While we should be concerned about the quality of life on our planet and maintain good stewardship, we must not fall for the never ending political grandstanding and chicken little mentality used by the Left to promote the UN’s global addenda.

    Steve Allen
    Johnson City, TN

  5. McKibben is a self-centered extremist who cares little for his fellow residents of Vermont. He is an agitator and a zealot who is more interested in pushing his dangerous and out of touch agenda on people who cannot afford supporting his ridiculous ideology. He cares not that forcing people to become strapped financially to heat their homes, travel back and forth to work, etc., in itself, will become a “manmade” disaster. He believes in punishing Vermonters for not enjoining him openly in his radical thinking. If you don’t want to comply voluntarily, then you should be purposely hurt with significant pain in your pocket book to get your attention!

    I’m sure that Mr. McKibben lives off grid, burns wood, and he doesn’t own a car, truck, boat, snowmobile or any other fossil fuel conveyance. I include a Prius in that same mix as only hypocrites drive them. I’m sure that he walks to the dr.’s office, to buy groceries and to all of the protests he attends as an agitator. Maybe he is like Al Gore with multiple large homes, a number of Escalades and private jets. Of course Al says he is different as he needs these conveyances to get his “green” message out and that he buys carbon credits to off-set his lavish life style. He’s another typical hypocrite that likes to lecture but not follow his own advice. Don’t do as I do, do as I say. We all know one.

    We all need to understand that Mr. McKibben makes a lot of money publishing books and for spewing his rhetoric across the world. So of course he isn’t about to back off from this lucrative gravy train. He obviously feels he can afford any repressive fees or taxes that are put in place to punish the average “Joe” trying to eke out a living and to raise a family. In his mind, non-compliance isn’t an option.

    Oh, did I mention that he is from the left coast… a California boy? Who would have ever thunk it?

    • Note that the electric cars have to plug in to be recharged. That takes a power plant that produces C02 to generate electricity for their “feel good” vehicles. Also it takes far more pollutants and energy to produce such vehicles.than the “normal vehicles”. It’s a hidden reality.

      Nothing is free.

  6. Meanwhile, all over France, the peasants are rioting against the raising of gas and diesel taxes. Does McKibben think that Vermonters are not going to revolt ? Many seniors are quietly leaving the state for greener pastures were their retirement incomes are not constantly being picked to the bones by State turkey buzzards. Fewer Millenials are moving in as costs are outweighing the benefits.

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