Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaver
Carbon is my birthright, get off my front steps before I activate my shotgun.
We should tax gunpowder too.
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck
If its bad, limit it, not tax it. We don't tax raw sewage being dumped into rivers. We limit it.
You have a point and I'm open to the idea. But we have to consider the circumstances too. For example, no intelligent person would disagree that we shouldn't consume alcohol. However, to force an alcoholic to quit cold turkey could kill him, and so an exception must be made whereby the goal then becomes to gradually wean him off of it. Likewise, some physicians now administer heroin to heroin addicts for harm reduction. They don't deny that heroin addiction is bad, but they also recognize it's preferable that the addict gets his heroin from a reliable source than off the street, in relative terms, always with the ultimate goal of weaning him off of it if possible.
The same applies to gas. Yes, it is harmful to the environment, but our suburbs depend on it. If we just flat out limited it, that would cause way too sudden a spike in gas prices. While rural and urban communities might survite it (with much pain mind you), it would devastate suburban economies. Does this mean we continue with the same old same old? Of course not. However, a carbon tax is like a gentle nudge, a discouragement, like a tax on cigarettes and alcohol or on sugary drinks, etc. A hard limit would probably lead to a black market and devastated economies, whereas a tax still allows the market to respond to it but more gradually. As the tax gradually increases over time, people would move out of the suburbs. Population density would increase in cities while farmland would slowly reclaim suburbs over time as a natural market reaction to higher gas prices, but that would be a gradual process. The market needs time to respond, to buy the bicycles and build the bicycle paths, or more fuel efficient cars, etc. We can't do it overnight.
Of course we might want to introduce limits eventually. For example, once sufficiently few people smoke or drink alcohol, we might eventually be able to ban it. But until then, all we can do is add moderately tougher laws every year towards that end. A carbon tax is that kind of gradual nudging law. Over time, we could then introduce more extreme measures like a hard limit, but one step at a time, and a carbon tax is a more gradual step in that direction.