An evidence based tax to tackle global warming

CaptureA Canadian economist, Ross McKitrick has come up with a really simple idea for dealing with climate change that has the potential to unite scientists, politicians, environmentalists and dissenters and get global action in place to manage the risk of climate change.

The idea? Introduce an evidence based, tax neutral carbon tex.

McKendrick proposes using some indicator of global warming (he thinks the temperature of the troposphere is the best indicator) and to link the level of carbon tax to this indicator.

Put simply this would provide an incentive for everyone, from the biggest mining companies to the individual citizen to seek out the best evidence of likely tropospheric temperature rises and make their investment decisions on that basis. It would encourage everyone to put their money where their mouth was. Dissenters could happily invest in fossil fuels, those that put more faith in the scientists would be putting their money into renewables.

MCKitrick’s proposal’s brilliance lies in the fact that it harnesses the power of the market to deal effectively with climate change. He argues that this simple approach would allow the scrapping of all other regulatory approaches, and if that happened it would certainly be the most cost effective.

Getting a political consensus on an issue within a country. let alone across the globe is a major challenge but this idea has a better chance than most. A good start would be for us as a global community to get over the unproductive verbal mud slinging between true believers and dissenters and debate instead what would be the most effective indicator to base the tax on (sea level?, Arctic ice melt?, ocean temperature?) and at what level the tax should be.

I am reminded of the old adage for every problem there is a simple solution – and it is always wrong. In this case there is nonetheless the germ of a good idea that could be nuanced into something that would have universal support, and be effective. You can read the full article here.


One Response to “An evidence based tax to tackle global warming”

  1. Rosemary Faire Says:

    Hi Warren, Have you come across the Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s “Fee and Dividend” proposal? We’ve started up a local CCL group which may be of interest to you.

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