Good Idea, but Not Draconian Enough

According to today’s WaPo “US Top Scientists Urge Coal, Oil Use Penalties.”

Here’s a key paragraph:

The National Academy of Sciences specifically called for a carbon tax on fossil fuels or a cap-and-trade system for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, calling global warming an urgent threat.

I read this and thought, what a good idea as to the carbon tax and what a bad idea as to the cap-and-trade system. In other words, global warming wasn’t the first thing I thought of when I read about the ideas. My first thought was that this is needed to curb resource depletion and redirect America toward a conservation mentality. Pricing gasoline at, say, $5 or $6 a gallon would also help our budget in the long run.

Unfortunately, the short term pain will almost certainly stop any and all truly reasonable responses to our current predicament. The last time gasoline was around $3 a gallon I received an email petition from an otherwise reasonable family. The petition aimed at “forcing” oil companies to sell gasoline at $2 a gallon. Why? Because Americans NEEDED gasoline to be $2 a gallon.

Well, I NEED ice cream to be calorie-free.

After that email, I realized that even almost all the people I consider to be intelligent and reasonable will just go on and on until they can’t go on and on any longer.

When it’s the American Dream versus practicality or even reality, most choose the Dream, don’t they?

Oh well.



18 Responses to “Good Idea, but Not Draconian Enough”

  1. inafutureage Says:

    I agree… the problem is tha electricity is the same as gas; Americans feel they are entitled to cheap electricity. Do you think iPhone and HDTV owners will revolt if power becomes too expensive? People have no clue how much energy is already subsidized. It will be tough to frame this the right way to affect change.

  2. babz Says:

    I remember when diesel suprassed gas in Montana at $4.69 a gallon. And Montana’s a different world- it’s 70 miles to the closest wal-mart or home depot here (we were builing a house at the time, and my partner was a contractor.) Talk about yikes. So…the fallout? The communities started dumping their diesel duallys on the markt and getting smaller gas driven trucks that got good mileage. Those who kept their big rigs started taking a small fee to do runs into town for big orders, and multiple orders, of supplies for their friends and neighbors. Being a primarily rural, and huge, state with everything one needed far, far away, it was the only way to make it through those years. We even have a senior citizen minibus and a disabled veterans bus that make weekly runs to the “big city”—and anyone who wants to is allowed to hop along for the ride. HMMMMMMM….. and nobody died or freaked out (too badly)

  3. rogerthesurf Says:

    Tell me, seeing as how the price of food is linked to the price of energy: How many of you would be as happy to have food prices sky rocket the same way.



    • uncommonscolds Says:

      Those in the United States currently spend about 10 percent of their income on food. [Source: ]

      Considering our dependency on fossil fuels, food prices will undoubtedly move higher. Americans are, in fact, likely to find themselves returning to lives closer to historical norms where they will spend about half their income on food.

      Of course the situation may well prove to be much worse. See “Handbasket Report — Food: What May Not Be in the Basket”:

      • rogerthesurf Says:

        “Considering our dependency on fossil fuels, food prices will undoubtedly move higher. Americans are, in fact, likely to find themselves returning to lives closer to historical norms where they will spend about half their income on food.”

        Glad to hear you say that, I mostly hear that “green jobs” will “increase employment”

        I suppose you realise that food is just an example, a lot of stuff that we regard as essential today will also jump in price, like antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals.
        Would you describe your historical norm as the mid 19th century perhaps? If so I am inclined to agree with you.



  4. uncommonscolds Says:

    “Glad to hear you say that, I mostly hear that ‘green jobs’ will “increase employment”

    Yippee. I fear most people do not realize that agricultural work is going to be the sought-after specialty of the late 21st C. Alas, to me, professional hoer sounds even less appealing if one says it with a drawl.

    My guess would be that when production costs soar and availability of ingredients becomes a problem, BigPharma will stop production of most pharmaceuticals except for Viagra. (The professional hoers are going to need it!)

    My historical norm tends to center on Europe, but I meant all of history. I’ve heard people suggest that 1804 may well be a model for what we’ll return to as the fossil fuels that provide us with nitrate fertilizer and such become too costly. I suspect we’ll not be that lucky. For example, GMO-driven pests are already proving quite daunting.


  5. rogerthesurf Says:

    You are aware then that if the IPCC have their way, emission restrictions will send us to 1850 at least 100 years before we run out of fossil fuel?



  6. inafutureage Says:

    Roger, you portray the IPCC as an evil menace akin to Darth Vader’s empire in Star Wars. Are you a delialist or a skeptic?

  7. inafutureage Says:


  8. uncommonscolds Says:

    Rogerthesurf said, “You are aware then that if the IPCC have their way, emission restrictions will send us to 1850 at least 100 years before we run out of fossil fuel?”

    Who do you define as “us”? It looks as if you define “us” as the current generation. If so, what’s so important about “us”?

    Since you admit fossil fuels are finite, why are you against serious restrictions? Do you believe cold fusion or some miracle invention will allow future generations to maintain a fossil fuel lifestyle? Or do you just hate humanity and wish posterity to live in a style far more primitive than that of 1850?


  9. rogerthesurf Says:

    “what’s so important about “us”

    As with most of the human race, Me my children and my community are what we are.

    As we run out of fossil fuels, in the absence of any foolish government intervention, we will see the cost of energy steadily increase.
    There will be no sudden transition.
    As the cost of energy increases, alternatives will become practical WITHOUT government intervention, the market will ensure that these are the very best alternatives.
    Where there is money to be made, there the research etc will concentrate.

    The IPCC is calling for what is a cataclysmic change to society. To force economies abandon fossil fuels immediately for other reasons will be no less cataclysmic.

    It may well be that we end up back in 1850 which includes a major reduction in population (another hidden green agenda by the way) but unless you want a genocide of some sort it has to happen in its own time.

    Of course if you think the world is going to burn up from CO2, well maybe we should start drawing lots for who should start jumping from the cliffs. Dont forget to put your name forward though.



  10. inafutureage Says:

    Roger, I wish my grandchildren could sue you. See, there’s a good chance my town will be underwater by the end of their life.

    You clearly do look at the IPCC as Darth Vader, because you imagine draconian measures. What do you think about externalities?

    By externalities, I mean the costs of something that are borne by society but are not reflcted by either party of a purchase contract.

    Do you think that fossil fuels have no externalities?

  11. rogerthesurf Says:


    Well there is no doubt that the IPCC measures will change our way of life in an extremely negative manner, what is less certain, in fact I would say very uncertain whether there is any connection between anthropogenic CO2 and global warming. Did you read my blog carefully?

    Given the destruction of our way of life by the IPCC (should they get their way) is very certain, and the likelihood of our way of life being destroyed by some sort of malicious warming quite unlikely, I rather suspect that you will actually have decendants if we let fossil fuels be replaced in a natural timely manner rather than have a holocaust forced upon us.

    I do not imagine draconion measures, they can be confidently deduced from the IPCC proposals.

    Here are some links about CO2 (the beneficial gas that is essential to all life on this planet) that you may find interesting.

    Please do not deduce from this that I do not advocate conservation and sustainability. Its just that CO2 has nothing to do with these important things.



  12. uncommonscolds Says:

    Rogerthesurf said, “Its [sic] just that CO2 has _nothing_ to do with these important things.”

    Your responses are mostly off point. In my original post, I did NOT mention the IPCC. Nor I did mention CO2. In fact, I specifically said that global warming was not the first thing I thought of when I read about the carbon tax. Please stay on topic if you want to post here.

    Also, as a writing instructor and total pedant, I feel compelled to mention that most writing manuals warn of the dangers of absolute words, such as all, always, never, and nothing. Such uses leave the writer open to an opponent who finds the tiniest exception to the absolute. Once found, such pinpricks invalidate the absolute.


  13. inafutureage Says:

    Roger, do you think fossil fuels have no externalities? You never answered my question.

    Frankly I didn’t have to read your blog, I could tell what arguments you would make simply by looking at your artwork.

  14. rogerthesurf Says:


    Sorry uncommonscolds says I’m off subject, if you want to continue our discussion you are welcome to comment on my blog.



  15. uncommonscolds Says:

    Thank you, rogerthesurf. You are welcome to post on my blog when your response is on point.


  16. uncommonscolds Says:

    Thank you, rogerthesurf.

    You are welcome to post on my blog when your response stays on point.


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