Our repeated calls for a carbon tax have been heeded by none other than NASA’s Climate Change expert Jim Hansen:
‘We have only four years left to act on climate change – America has to lead’:
In particular, the idea of continuing with “cap-and-trade” schemes, which allow countries to trade allowances and permits for emitting carbon dioxide, must now be scrapped, he insisted. Such schemes, encouraged by the Kyoto climate treaty, were simply “weak tea” and did not work. “The United States did not sign Kyoto, yet its emissions are not that different from the countries that did sign it.”
Thus plans to include carbon trading schemes in talks about future climate agreements were a desperate error, he said. “It’s just greenwash. I would rather the forthcoming Copenhagen climate talks fail than we agree to a bad deal,” Hansen said.
Only a carbon tax, agreed by the west and then imposed on the rest of the world through political pressure and trade tariffs, would succeed in the now-desperate task of stopping the rise of emissions, he argued. This tax would be imposed on oil corporations and gas companies and would specifically raise the prices of fuels across the globe, making their use less attractive. In addition, the mining of coal – by far the worst emitter of carbon dioxide – would be phased out entirely along with coal-burning power plants which he called factories of death.
Will that be enough to fund the new train lines we need or encourage the urban density we so require? Look deeper