The opposition says action on climate is all about raising taxes, meaning higher costs for the common man. Proponents say the bill is all about preventing the human race from a nasty, brutish, and short future, and the creation of jobs that will come with a new economy that meets the needs of the future.
As many of you know, I’ve been pretty opposed to Cap & Trade for a whole host of reasons, but I’ve been willing to bow to political pragmatism. What I really want is for the government to create a strategy that will reduce CO2 emissions in the timeframe required, and enable a new economy to flourish. I’ll take that outcome any which way it needs to happen.
But I have a new Cap & Trade fear as I watch the current debate, and remember past ones similarly built on misinformation and speedy adoption by Americans in a hurry.
If a cap & trade bill is passed (which it might), and the price of oil goes up significantly (which it will), it feels like we are guaranteed to have a Republican argument that attributes high gas prices to cap & trade. And it will be totally “provable” to people who believe what they are told. The whole point of C&T is to hide the carbon tax from consumers. Therefore, they won’t know that 80% of the rise in oil prices as nothing to do with C&T.
I think we are setting ourselves up for future political losses by offering an easy target that will require a lot of explaining to untangle. A carbon tax would be so simple, and obvious, and not be able to get mucked up with other issues. Am I wrong?
The day after I posted the above, we find this is already being done! At a fake grassroots rally against the climate bill in Texas, the American Petroleum Institute was passing out T-shirts that read "I'll pass on $4 gas."
Tuesday, August 18, 2009