June 27, 2008

If not a carbon tax . . .

The rise in gas prices may be prompting many consumers to seek out lower-energy alternatives, but this is no reason to claim that the market works when it comes to fighting global warming.

The market is only doing what the market always does: respond to supply and demand. What the market never takes into account are the indirect costs of gas and oil consumption. In Plan B 3.0 Lester Brown says that the prices of gas ignores the costs of climate change, the tax subsidies the oil industry receives, the health care costs for treating oil related illnesses and the cost of protecting our access to oil (think fifth fleet in the Arabian Gulf and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). Citing a study by the International Center for Technology Brown says that these costs now total $12 US dollars per gallon ($3.17 per litre) of gasoline burned in the United States.
If not a carbon tax then let’s at least see the true cost reflected in the price of gas and oil.

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