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America's New Killing Field: Murder-Suicide on a Global Scale

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 09:04 By Donald G. Schweitzer, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

With the simultaneous discoveries of monumental deposits of shale containing natural gas and new technologically advanced fracking techniques, America has become the world's greatest source of fossil fuels. Recent events indicate we also intend to become and remain the world's greatest supplier of fossil fuels. Since World War II, the US has used the Third World as its Killing Field. Between WWII and 2007, the United States was responsible for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in useless and unnecessary wars and conflicts scattered over the world. With the new supremacy in fossil fuel fracking, its exportation, and its eventual effect on climate change, we have upped the ante and now lay claim to the planet as our new Killing Field. At home, the price we're going to pay for massive exports of fracked methane is the poisoning of our air, food and water supplies.

Now that peak fuel limitations, real or imaginary, are no longer a threat, the sane part of America recognizes that 80% of the new found fuel has to stay in the ground if we are to stop accelerated climate change in an attempt to prolong survival.

Unless the corporations that control America can be convinced there is money to be made from renewable energy and "deferred gratification" of fracking profits, wind and solar energy are going to die prematurely.

A Carbon Tax May Be the Only Silver Bullet

If the President can stop kowtowing to the Republicans fossil fuel advocates who are responsible for what could be the murder of the planet and the suicide of the nation, there is convincing evidence that a carbon tax may be one of the few if not the only means of slowing the accelerated increase in climate change from carbon.

"In Politics It Is Necessary for the President to Lie to People"

Consider the recent noxious comments of a former Clinton "White House Climate Change Task Force" member:

"Yet the economic advantages of a carbon tax are so manifest that it is still possible, once the fiscal cliff negotiations are finished and talks turn to a truly transformative tax reform deal, that leaders in Congress will begin to reconsider it, especially it if is marketed on economic grounds….. The president is right to focus on revitalizing the struggling middle class and restoring robust economic growth, which will leave him in a stronger political position to pursue other priorities. And while carbon tax could yet play a critical role in that agenda, Congress will have to take the critical first steps."

Noting that "Republicans take increasingly radical opposing positions on climate change out of sheer political opportunism" the author concludes

"As a result, the president and other administration officials have repeatedly said in recent weeks that the administration will not propose a carbon tax. This is wise. To do so would mean automatic opposition from Republicans, and throw an unwelcome and unnecessary complication into the fiscal cliff negotiations."

The fiscal cliff bullshit is over. It's time to stop the carbon tax bullshit. The planet is on life support. There is something that works and should be done.

In the US, a September 2012 report ["Carbon Tax: Deficit Reduction and Other Considerations Congressional Research Service" 7-5700 R42731] estimated that a modest carbon tax in the United States that increased incrementally over time could generate about $1.25 trillion in revenue from 2012 to 2022, reducing the 10-year deficit by 50 percent, based on projections from the Congressional Budget Office.

Learn From an Example

Ireland has proven it will work.

Much like the US, Ireland took a disastrous economic plunge after its economy collapsed in 2008 as a result of loose credit policies that created a real estate bubble. In one year, tax revenues fell 25 percent. With a huge bailout in 2010 by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, Ireland's deficit soared to 11.9 percent of its gross domestic product, or over 30 percent with all loans factored in.

Over the last three years, the Irish government imposed taxes on most of the fossil fuels used by homes, offices, vehicles and farms, based on each fuel's carbon dioxide emissions, a move that immediately drove up prices for oil, natural gas and kerosene.

Ireland is one of Europe's highest per-capita producers of greenhouse gases, with levels close to those of the United States. The country has seen its emissions drop more than 15 percent since 2008. "We were lapping up fossil fuels, buying bigger cars and homes, very American," said Eamon Ryan, who was Ireland's energy minister from 2007 to 2011. "We just set up a price signal that raised significant revenue and changed behavior. Now, we're smashing through the environmental targets we set for ourselves."

Profit from the Wind

As fossil fuels became more costly, renewable energy sources became more competitive, allowing Ireland's wind power industry to thrive. Revenue from environmental taxes has played a crucial role in helping Ireland reduce a daunting deficit by several billion Euros each year.

The three-year-old carbon tax has raised nearly one billion Euros ($1.3 billion) over all, including 400 million Euros in 2012. That provided the Irish government with 25 percent of the 1.6 billion Euros in new tax revenue it needed to narrow its budget gap this year and avert a rise in income tax rates.

The International Monetary Fund, which oversees the rescue plan, recently suggested that Ireland should "expand the well-designed carbon tax" and its automobile taxes to generate even more money.

Democrats and Republicans plan to push for changes in the tax codeto enable renewable energy projects to qualify for favorable tax structures already applicable to pipeline and other energy-related companies. This minor fine-tuning of the code could attract billions of dollars in private sector investment to the renewable energy sector.

Sponsors of the proposed legislation say the idea to allow wind, solar, biofuel, and other renewable energy makers to structure themselves as "master limited partnerships" (MLPs) would allow them to raise money in the stock market while taxing income only at the unit holder level. It's a way to avoid corporate income taxes.

Conclusions

For the first time since Obama took office, the Republicans are unable to stand united in bringing down the nation. Their loss in the presidential election, the internal disagreements on fiscal cliff demands and concessions and the refusal of the Republican leadership to supply relief from hurricane Sandy to Republican governors, has split the party.

"The votes Tuesday on the "fiscal cliff" tax deal have exposed the first major division of the 2016 presidential campaign among Capitol Hill Republicans."

"Now that is the kind of non-leadership thing I was telling you about before that is killing the party, so if there is a revolt inside the party, maybe that would be a good thing. That possibility leads me to Cantor, who I know does not totally trust Boehner's instincts or loyalty to fiscal conservatism. So there's a whole bunch of us watching Cantor closely right now for any clues, but very little info is coming from his office which always means they are cooking up something. I wish I could tell you what that is, but at this point, nobody around me knows. Someone suggested Cantor was preparing to challenge Boehner for the Speaker's position…… Remember what I said a month ago about the push to remove Boehner from his position as Speaker? That move has now turned into all-out war."

On Jan 02, 2013, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) lit into House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Republicans for not holding a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill. "There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner," he said.

The very recent bipartisan push for a change in the tax code to enable renewable energy to be profitable may be the only chance we have to push for an immediate carbon tax to minimize massive fracking of methane for exports.

The time is right. If we can't get it done soon, we're going to pay a terrible penalty.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Donald G. Schweitzer

Donald G. Schweitzer has a PhD in Physical Chemistry, is a retired tenured Senior Scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Chief Advisor to AEC, NRC, DOE, State Dept., the IAEA, and the US Air Force, on all forms of carbon and graphite chemistry, on nuclear and chemical safety, licensing, accident analyses, chemical and nuclear waste isolation and development of advanced fuels and advanced nuclear reactors.


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America's New Killing Field: Murder-Suicide on a Global Scale

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 09:04 By Donald G. Schweitzer, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

With the simultaneous discoveries of monumental deposits of shale containing natural gas and new technologically advanced fracking techniques, America has become the world's greatest source of fossil fuels. Recent events indicate we also intend to become and remain the world's greatest supplier of fossil fuels. Since World War II, the US has used the Third World as its Killing Field. Between WWII and 2007, the United States was responsible for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in useless and unnecessary wars and conflicts scattered over the world. With the new supremacy in fossil fuel fracking, its exportation, and its eventual effect on climate change, we have upped the ante and now lay claim to the planet as our new Killing Field. At home, the price we're going to pay for massive exports of fracked methane is the poisoning of our air, food and water supplies.

Now that peak fuel limitations, real or imaginary, are no longer a threat, the sane part of America recognizes that 80% of the new found fuel has to stay in the ground if we are to stop accelerated climate change in an attempt to prolong survival.

Unless the corporations that control America can be convinced there is money to be made from renewable energy and "deferred gratification" of fracking profits, wind and solar energy are going to die prematurely.

A Carbon Tax May Be the Only Silver Bullet

If the President can stop kowtowing to the Republicans fossil fuel advocates who are responsible for what could be the murder of the planet and the suicide of the nation, there is convincing evidence that a carbon tax may be one of the few if not the only means of slowing the accelerated increase in climate change from carbon.

"In Politics It Is Necessary for the President to Lie to People"

Consider the recent noxious comments of a former Clinton "White House Climate Change Task Force" member:

"Yet the economic advantages of a carbon tax are so manifest that it is still possible, once the fiscal cliff negotiations are finished and talks turn to a truly transformative tax reform deal, that leaders in Congress will begin to reconsider it, especially it if is marketed on economic grounds….. The president is right to focus on revitalizing the struggling middle class and restoring robust economic growth, which will leave him in a stronger political position to pursue other priorities. And while carbon tax could yet play a critical role in that agenda, Congress will have to take the critical first steps."

Noting that "Republicans take increasingly radical opposing positions on climate change out of sheer political opportunism" the author concludes

"As a result, the president and other administration officials have repeatedly said in recent weeks that the administration will not propose a carbon tax. This is wise. To do so would mean automatic opposition from Republicans, and throw an unwelcome and unnecessary complication into the fiscal cliff negotiations."

The fiscal cliff bullshit is over. It's time to stop the carbon tax bullshit. The planet is on life support. There is something that works and should be done.

In the US, a September 2012 report ["Carbon Tax: Deficit Reduction and Other Considerations Congressional Research Service" 7-5700 R42731] estimated that a modest carbon tax in the United States that increased incrementally over time could generate about $1.25 trillion in revenue from 2012 to 2022, reducing the 10-year deficit by 50 percent, based on projections from the Congressional Budget Office.

Learn From an Example

Ireland has proven it will work.

Much like the US, Ireland took a disastrous economic plunge after its economy collapsed in 2008 as a result of loose credit policies that created a real estate bubble. In one year, tax revenues fell 25 percent. With a huge bailout in 2010 by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, Ireland's deficit soared to 11.9 percent of its gross domestic product, or over 30 percent with all loans factored in.

Over the last three years, the Irish government imposed taxes on most of the fossil fuels used by homes, offices, vehicles and farms, based on each fuel's carbon dioxide emissions, a move that immediately drove up prices for oil, natural gas and kerosene.

Ireland is one of Europe's highest per-capita producers of greenhouse gases, with levels close to those of the United States. The country has seen its emissions drop more than 15 percent since 2008. "We were lapping up fossil fuels, buying bigger cars and homes, very American," said Eamon Ryan, who was Ireland's energy minister from 2007 to 2011. "We just set up a price signal that raised significant revenue and changed behavior. Now, we're smashing through the environmental targets we set for ourselves."

Profit from the Wind

As fossil fuels became more costly, renewable energy sources became more competitive, allowing Ireland's wind power industry to thrive. Revenue from environmental taxes has played a crucial role in helping Ireland reduce a daunting deficit by several billion Euros each year.

The three-year-old carbon tax has raised nearly one billion Euros ($1.3 billion) over all, including 400 million Euros in 2012. That provided the Irish government with 25 percent of the 1.6 billion Euros in new tax revenue it needed to narrow its budget gap this year and avert a rise in income tax rates.

The International Monetary Fund, which oversees the rescue plan, recently suggested that Ireland should "expand the well-designed carbon tax" and its automobile taxes to generate even more money.

Democrats and Republicans plan to push for changes in the tax codeto enable renewable energy projects to qualify for favorable tax structures already applicable to pipeline and other energy-related companies. This minor fine-tuning of the code could attract billions of dollars in private sector investment to the renewable energy sector.

Sponsors of the proposed legislation say the idea to allow wind, solar, biofuel, and other renewable energy makers to structure themselves as "master limited partnerships" (MLPs) would allow them to raise money in the stock market while taxing income only at the unit holder level. It's a way to avoid corporate income taxes.

Conclusions

For the first time since Obama took office, the Republicans are unable to stand united in bringing down the nation. Their loss in the presidential election, the internal disagreements on fiscal cliff demands and concessions and the refusal of the Republican leadership to supply relief from hurricane Sandy to Republican governors, has split the party.

"The votes Tuesday on the "fiscal cliff" tax deal have exposed the first major division of the 2016 presidential campaign among Capitol Hill Republicans."

"Now that is the kind of non-leadership thing I was telling you about before that is killing the party, so if there is a revolt inside the party, maybe that would be a good thing. That possibility leads me to Cantor, who I know does not totally trust Boehner's instincts or loyalty to fiscal conservatism. So there's a whole bunch of us watching Cantor closely right now for any clues, but very little info is coming from his office which always means they are cooking up something. I wish I could tell you what that is, but at this point, nobody around me knows. Someone suggested Cantor was preparing to challenge Boehner for the Speaker's position…… Remember what I said a month ago about the push to remove Boehner from his position as Speaker? That move has now turned into all-out war."

On Jan 02, 2013, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) lit into House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Republicans for not holding a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill. "There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner," he said.

The very recent bipartisan push for a change in the tax code to enable renewable energy to be profitable may be the only chance we have to push for an immediate carbon tax to minimize massive fracking of methane for exports.

The time is right. If we can't get it done soon, we're going to pay a terrible penalty.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Donald G. Schweitzer

Donald G. Schweitzer has a PhD in Physical Chemistry, is a retired tenured Senior Scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Chief Advisor to AEC, NRC, DOE, State Dept., the IAEA, and the US Air Force, on all forms of carbon and graphite chemistry, on nuclear and chemical safety, licensing, accident analyses, chemical and nuclear waste isolation and development of advanced fuels and advanced nuclear reactors.


Hide Comments

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