Comments to John Dingell

As noted in Dingell: A dingbat proposal re Global Warming?, Representative John Dingell (D-auto industry?) has put out his thoughts re a potential carbon tax and is asking for comments.   After the fold are the comments that I have submitted (so far) for committee consideration.

Congressman Dingell,

Thank you for enriching the discussion with this proposal and opening it for comment.  Here are a few of my initial reactions.

  1.  I do not believe that we should call this a “tax”. Polluters should pay a FEE (or a royalty) for the privilege of polluting.  Just as one pays the local dump a “fee” for dumping trash.
  1.  I am concerned that this summary does not discuss, in any meaningful way, the positive benefits that would come from reduced CO2 (and related) pollution.  Such as improved health from reduced coal-fired particulates in the air, etc …  This “summary” is not placing a very difficult issue in a good context.
  1. Also on benefits, there should be discussion as to the economic benefits (jobs, reduced imports, etc …) and security (reduced need to protect oil) and … benefits of reducing reliance on fossil fuels and going to energy efficiency/renewable energy as cornerstones to the economy.
  1.  The summary understates the science, the target is not strong enough, and the threat/benefit (as above) is not clearly/strongly enough stated.
  1.  The proposal only talks to carbon … not methane and other GHG. Just wondering.
  1.  I disagree with the targeted use of funding.  (a) should be much (MUCH) more heavily focused on making the nation more ENERGY SMART — help poorer people flatten their total energy bills by rapidly helping them be more energy efficient (thus reducing the carbon fee’s impact).  Foster overall energy efficiency (thus enabling shutting down coal-fired electricity plants).  Help government at ALL levels be more energy efficient (which would reduce the citizen’s burden for paying for government).  Too many of the items within the list are items that should be funded (through other means).  And, for example, national health care will end up lowering the nation’s total health care bills (as would aggressive energy efficiency.
  1. I disagree with so much of the gasoline tax money going to roads and airports, reinforcing the polluting systems — for example, why not use the money for improving rail, electrifying it, and increasing its reach/extent to reduce demand for road/air travel.  Why not use “gasoline tax” to help people pay for PHEVs (plug-in electric vehicles)?
  1.  There is nothing here about how to capture the Chinese / Indians / anyone else who does not undertake something similiar. (Why not cooperate with the Europeans and Japan to impose import duties on imports from any country that does institute a carbon fee and use those resources to create a Prosperous, Climate Friendly Economy based on energy efficiency and renewable (or nuclear) energy?

Sir, there has been much discussion that this is being floated solely to help kill the potential for passage of critically needed legislation to help change the nation’s reckless path toward energy and Global Warming disaster. I hope that is not the case. At this time, however, I find that your summary significantly understates the threat re Global Warming (and doesn’t mention Peak Oil, cost of oil imports, etc); does not discuss the significant benefits from a changed path re energy and pollution; and proposes a use of money that will engender criticism of this as massive “tax and spend Democrat Party” concepts to hurt the economy.

One response to “Comments to John Dingell

  1. The solution is not easy. We must all contribute, but it cannot be without regard to the economic prosperity of the country and the world. Smart politicians (and now that Bush is gone – that is not an oxymoron) should work on the making a difference while still keeping the standard of living of the country.

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