SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Is Dead Wrong on Carbon Taxes

Article Link


Elon Musk’s growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies, ” Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2015.)


However, Elon Musk warns we need a carbon tax. During his speech at Sorbonne, Musk argued that the transition from fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) to renewable energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) should be sped up through carbon taxes: “Whenever you have the opportunity, talk to your politicians, ask them to enact a carbon tax, ” Musk prompted. (Source: “Elon Musk: Only a Carbon Tax Will Accelerate the World’s Exit from Fossil Fuels, ” Fortune, December 2, 2015.)


Now, Musk, a bona fide apostle of “renewable” energy, wants carbon taxes, while having benefited from a California version of the carbon credit, sometimes known as “cap and trade.” Tesla Motors has reportedly earned more than $295 million in green subsidy emission credits from 11 states during the past three years for a battery-swapping technology, which customers weren’t getting, using the Zero Emission Vehicle barter created by California.



Carbon Taxes Confuse Finance and Environmentalism

The mechanism of buying and selling has a cost structure, as it serves operators and specialized intermediaries known as “carbon brokers.” The carbon brokers are mostly energy consulting firms that are active on both sides of the existing carbon exchange: legally mandated and volunteer.


Mandated carbon credits are bought by industrial giants, for example, which usually pollute and are therefore required, by law, to adhere to the system of exchange. In this case, companies likeFord, GM, or Chrysler, which make the majority of gasoline-powered vehicles, might buy credits that are then handed over in the form of subsidies to perceived “non-polluters, ” such as Tesla. The ETS monetizes the value of the shares. Under volunteer credits, the proceeds go to green projects by default, such as those related to reforestation. In the mandatory market, the revenues go to the national or state governments and then to the “virtuous” companies like Tesla.


Therefore, carbon credits, carbon taxes, and related schemes are actually more about fueling environmental finance than environmental responsibility. The credits are less about projects and research in sustainable production systems and more about the financial interests underlying the market for carbon credits.


Evidently, these policies or mechanisms require the support of governments and supranational organizations and they rely on their will and ability to impose laws and regulations on manufacturing industries, demanding these pay a substantial carbon tax. Some might describe such a regime as a “green dictatorship” of sorts.


Is there much difference between those trying to convince us that humanity is provoking an environmental catastrophe (the latest concern, read “flavor, ” of the moment being global warming, aka climate change) and those suggesting man is incurring God’s wrath because of moral depravity?


CEOs purporting to be prophets of a new world might be likened to a sort of “Che Guevara of business.” Except that rather than financing their revolution through private donations, foreign powers, or individuals, they’re using your money in the form of carbon taxes or carbon credits. Eventually, Fidel Castro, the chairman of the board who started to sense that Che’s adventurism was becoming a liability, sent the heroic commandant on a virtual suicide mission in Bolivia. CEOs should focus on what is best for the companies they lead and for their investors; they can save the world on their own time and with their money.


Catastrophism Is the Root of the Carbon Tax Idea

Catastrophism is a symptom of a negative view of humankind, one condemned to sin and condemned to pay for that very sin. Remarkably, religious and environmental catastrophism have the same results: death and devastation brought by plagues, rising seas and polluted air, resulting from either the wrath of God or the wrath of the Earth because of humankind’s evil, moral or environmental, depending on the perspective.


Periods of weather anomalies are presented as signs of the coming devastation of the environment, whose symptoms include the extinction of species, disappearing coral, and polar bears floating on isolated icebergs, apparently unable to reach land. In the future, we are told, this will all be even worse, with resources becoming exhausted in a few decades and hundreds of millions of people dying of hunger, breaking loose in bloody wars to grab the latest resources. It is difficult to tell which kind of prophet, the religious or the environmentalist kind, might push this view; the two are indistinguishable.


This catastrophism, as well as an omen of death, drives us to a type of dependence, one might even call it a kind of slavery, forcing us to a series of rituals to appease the wrath of Mother Earth, Gaia Goddess, or God. Accordingly, the rather bizarre notion that we can save the world by replacing normal incandescent 100-watt light bulbs with 40 watts took hold, as has the idea that humans must reduce their output of CO2, even though methane from animals and erupting volcanoes produce far more CO2 than humans could ever imagine to achieve.


Catastrophism is driving the new energy revolution, much like the drive to score military victories has driven technological innovation. Therefore, solar panels and wind farms, so-called alternative energy sources, are driving many otherwise sane humans to encourage the spending of billions to install solar panels and the like, not because they are cost-effective, but because such actions have the effect of a prophetic action, releasing us from our sin. In the 16th century, the Vatican financed the construction of many beautiful buildings by promising people valuable real estate in heaven in exchange for generous donations known as “indulgences.”


Let there be no doubt that climate change is all too real; but it is the norm, not the sign of a problem, and it is also not to be confused with the changing weather we experience. Nature is dynamic, always in motion, and this applies to nearly everything, including the glaciers, for example. Sometimes, glaciers retreat; it has happened before our very eyes, it is true, but it is a global phenomenon. Antarctica, for example, shows no signs of retreat; even if the Arctic has seen some melting, it is part of a cyclical process (withdrawal and extension) and this phase began more than a century ago with insignificant, if any, input from human activities.

Our cities are polluted. Who would deny it? However, today, they are less, not more, polluted than even 20 years ago and less polluted than 300 years ago, when the Industrial Revolution had not appeared in a crystal ball.


Environmental metrics tend to improve, contrary to what environmentalists are implying, in developed countries, while the real environmental emergency comes from underdevelopment. This has been one of the tragedies of environmentalism being appropriated by the climate change alarmists and by technologies fueled by the fear they induce.


The record of doomsayers’ credibility is not good. We cannot travel to the future, but we can check past predictions; after all, catastrophism is as old as humankind. In recent decades, the 1960s and 1970s were rife with catastrophist ideas, the most famous of which was Paul Ehlich’s “population bomb, ” which predicted that in the 70s and 80s, hundreds of millions of people would die of hunger. Just to clarify, the food situation in the world, even in the poorest countries, has generally improved; indeed, Ethiopia, on the brink of the famine popularized by Live Aid, has one of Africa’s fastest-growing agricultural sectors and economies.


In 1972, the study “The Limits to Growth, ” published by the “Club of Rome, ” translated into 20 languages, sold nine million copies, and often cited by environmentalists, warned of the “depletion of natural resources, ” even suggesting that by the early 90s, the world would have no more gold, mercury, zinc, oil, and natural gas. Not only are these resources still available, but modern extraction techniques have also made them so abundant that there is a glut and commodity values today, 25 years after the doom scenario was predicted to hit, are cheap (albeit, perhaps too cheap).


The Bottom Line on Carbon Taxes

George Carlin, the famous comedian, although he was much more than that, offered an irreverent but highly realistic sketch of environmentalism, skewering the very idea of the “save the planet” mantra. Carlin wonders whether the planet really needs saving. Instinctively, many might nod in undivided agreement: the melting of glaciers, the ozone hole, the extinction of many animal species, and so on, being their main “evidence.” In fact, a reflection that is more honest shows that this is far from fact and much of environmentalism is just another example of human presumption.


The Earth, as Carlin points out and many forget, has its own system of checks balances and a history of four-and-a-half billion years marked by floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, asteroid impacts, ice ages, and magnetic pole reversals. If a medium-sized asteroid hit the Earth tomorrow, humans might die, but the planet itself would continue along in its existence, bruised maybe, but it would simply readjust.


Section for a video or follow-on comment

We should revisit occasionally what the proper role of government is.   As the constitution was a good sense of direction, we need a core set of principles to add in order to deal with the future.


So many want to engineer society, remove risk, assist certain groups, rather than let individuals thrive and raise communities.  Why?


Is Democracy where we all "get it good and hard" or is it the best means to a free society?


Should we roll with the special interests, or make the government achieve its proper role, what is that role, and how to do this?


When do deficits and governments become too large?


Government is becoming more elitist while trying to sell corrections to problems it created, what makes this possible?


Could include a pic

This could also be inserted into the field above, or erased


Currently as a society, we are having a most difficult time discussing political issues.  What is driving this?   And why a rebirth in political culture would be a good thing.


Market Economy

Are "markets" dead as some would conjecture? Or is free enterprise what got us here?


Economic Theories

At the heart of economics there are several possible economic schools of thought, the essence of these schools of thought and how they relate to our lives.


Add Comments


Powered by Disqus