Incentives or Reduction
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No doubt some of the hoped for effects of Hansen’s plan would materialise but I just can’t see how recycling that money into the economy is going to have much of an effect on emissions. What he hopes is that forcing people and businesses to pay more for carbon emissions will make them emit less (by switching to less carbon intensive goods and services or simply using less) but putting that money back into the economy is going to keep the economy at least at the same level (though he imagines that economic growth will be spurred, which makes things even worse), which isn’t really going to help much. [By the way, Poet, I don’t think Hansen wants just the US to take up this solution; that wouldn’t do much good even if it had the effect he imagines.]
If we need drastic reductions, and we do, then it has to be more than financial incentives, which are a gamble, at best. Heinberg documented an idea, I think, by Colin Campbell, called The Oil Depletion Protocol. If that was applied to all fossil fuels and combined with Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs) (I forget who originally proposed that), then we have a basis for actually reducing emissions with certainty.
However, ultimately, the only real response to our predicament is to move towards, and hopefully attain, sustainability. This would take a huge education campaign followed by enormous upheavals in societies as they slowly change their whole structure, including the economy. I don’t for a moment think any such actions will happen, any more than I think Hansen’s plan or TEQs will be taken up, in a timely manner – it will take a bunch of catastrophes (even more than we’ve seen recently) before the ostriches extract their heads from the sand and the sheeple start to think for themselves. The best each of us can do is try our best to adapt, ourselves, and remove our support for an unsustainable way of life, that is doing great damage.