First, let’s understand that most of the world’s pollution is caused by the utilization of fossil fuels; for transportation, power generation, and chemical production.
Then, let’s recognize that the supply of such fuels are finite; that additions to reserves of these products may have paused years ago and many believe we have reached or have passed the tipping point wherein new discoveries and production are higher each year.
How then, to persuade energy “consumers,” which in this case includes business and government, to properly value the energy product, which in view of steadily decreasing supplies, must be relegated to the “highest value usage?”
In my opinion, and in the opinion of energy economists, a straightforward “energy tax” on the different types of energy, with the proceeds directed at only alternative energy projects which, with technological support can stand on their own economically, or with minimal use of subsidy from the carbon tax. Nuclear, wind, solar, water all fill this definition.
Well-designed mass transit, underground primarily, could easily help reduce the need for the types of road building projects that benefit a class of consumers-drivers, both commercial and personal, at the expense of others.
The fossil fuel tax must be high enough to generate the funds necessary to complete ten percent of the infrastructure each year, so that at the end of ten/fifteen years there is a working, viable “neutral consumption compared to base year 2009” Program, and potentially substantially lowered consumption of fossil energy at the same time in the U.S.
And, world wide if other major industrialized nations adopt a similar approach. It is helpful to point out that per capita energy consumption is highest in the U.S. and lower almost everywhere else, primarily because other countries instituted energy taxes, primarily on transportation fuels, some years ago, effectively reducing transportation consumption substantially, as well as supporting and subsidizing alternative power generation sources. France, for instance, generates almost eighty percent of it’s power generation from nuclear power plants, Japan, Korea, Germany, and others have already recognized the rationality of this approach and are taking more steps every day to increase alternative energy inputs in their systems.
If we adopt the direct taxing of energy at the distribution point approach, we can expect some need for energy credits on behalf of consumers; we should offer no such credits to business, institutional, and industrial users, any costs absorbed by them will be quickly reflected in retail and wholesale prices, and will encourage mightily their demonstrated ability to reduce cost components of their production and distribution processes.
If a well-designed plan is instituted we can expect reasonable progress towards the ten/fifteen year plan.
There will be mistakes, to be sure; there will be delays for certain, but if the overall plan for mass transportation, alternative power generation, and transportation efficiencies are adopted and rigorously managed, we can expect great results.
It’s worth while to mention here the potential for “Cloud Commuting” and Cloud Education” and other Cloud” infrastructure processes to save up to fifty percent of the time and energy now spent driving and commuting to work; the endless hours of transportation and horrible schedules for children that would be alleviated by cloud education, and so much more. A useful portion of the energy tax could easily help develop a whole new generation of workers and those being educated, to the degree that Work as we now view it will be forever changed, for the better. Education would become truly that, the ability to think and organize, plan and execute.
Once the “facts” are learned, then they provide the framework for the thinking process, which mentoring through Cloud could easily provide.
I have written about Cloud in an Associated Content entry Cloud Computing and the Economy, and Cloud Computing Coming Soon-AnyThing, AnyTime, AnyWhere.
All in all, direct taxing of energy most efficiently provides the rational for reduced consumption and increased production on non-polluting alternatives through the proper use of the revenues generated.