Global Warming & Capitalism

Global warming is the greatest challenge of the 21st century.  Total amount of primary energy used during the last 30 years has increased 60%.  It is expected to increase by 50% in the next 30 years, driven largely by developing countries.  Despite the growth in renewable energy from wind and solar, fossil fuels provide 83% of primary energy, a larger portion than they did 30 years ago, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

All nations, including the United States, should utilize capitalism and the market economy to effectively reduce carbon emissions that are accelerating global warming.  Carbon taxes would stimulate investment and research into finding solutions for reducing carbon and for capturing carbon.  Carbon taxes are far less costly than subsidies currently provided by the U.S. and other governments.  Also, carbon taxes can be adjusted up or down to best achieve the desired results. 

The carbon tax has been used effectively in Norway since 1991.  Their greenhouse gas emissions have declined over 30 years while U.S. emissions have increased.  The evidence supports Climate economists’ argument that a carbon tax is more effective in reducing carbon than tax subsidies.  The U.S. still relies on regulations and subsidies rather than a carbon tax.

The wealthy nations are addressing global warming to varying degrees in their own countries.  The poorer nations have estimated that they will need a combined total of $750 billion annually from the wealthy nations to address global warming.  Very little is provided to the poor nations today and the wealthy nations do not yet have plans to solve the global warming problem in poorer nations.  Solutions developed by the incentives of carbon taxes should help reduce the cost in poorer nations.

When we look back 30 years from now, the extreme hurricanes, floods and fires of 2020 and 2021 will likely make these years look among the best of the 30-year period.  A U.N. climate change reports states that our planet is on track for an increase in average temperatures of 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.9 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century.  At that increase, rising sea levels would force billions of people to move to higher elevations.  Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest country, is already planning to move its nation’s capital from Jakarta to a higher elevation.

NASA has found evidence that Venus may have supported life 700 million years ago.  Since then, Venus has undergone considerable global warming.  The current temperatures on Venus are 475 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit).  We should avoid the path taken on Venus.

We also should call climate change what it is, “Global Warming.”  We should not lessen the importance by calling it by a lesser name.  Global Warming is the most important issue in our lifetime.

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