Monday, December 29, 2008

"No-Brainer" Climate Change Proposal

Republicans Inglis and Arthur Laffer published a refreshing article yesterday in the NYT suggesting what policy wonks have been pushing for years: a revenue neutral carbon tax offset by a decrease in payroll and income taxes. They note that,
Conservatives do not have to agree that humans are causing climate change to recognize a sensible energy solution. All we need to assume is that burning less fossil fuels would be a good thing. Based on the current scientific consensus and the potential environmental benefits, it’s prudent to do what we can to reduce global carbon emissions. When you add the national security concerns, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels becomes a no-brainer.
So much energy is wasted on both sides of the climate change debate because the participants fail to reason probabilistically.

When you factor in the national security benefits of less income going to aggresive militant states as well as the nonzero probability that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will cause negative externalities, this proposal starts to look more and more like a "no brainer."