Now here’s the problem: Carbon taxes are extremely regressive. Furthermore, they hit hardest precisely those groups – the rural and small town blue-collars of the US – who have been hit hardest by economic globalization, which massively benefited the transnational oligarchy and the developing world but left the Fishtowns behind in a haze of deindustrialization and opioid addiction.
Consequently, it may well be politically necessary to adopt at least some of the left-wing proposals – universal healthcare, guaranteed jobs, basic income – in AOC’s Green New Deal.
Will it be economically ruinous? Probably. Expanding welfare in conjunction with basic income would blow out any budget. (I am personally more a fan of downsizing the welfare state and replacing it with basic income).
Will it actually work? Unfortunately, OAC is an atomophobe. Unfortunately, because while you can run a modern industrial economy on nuclear energy, which is both very green and extremely safe, you can’t do so on wind and solar. Their EROEI (energy return on energy invested) is low relative to hydrocarbons and nuclear, and probably plummets to unsustainable levels if the costs of energy storage are accounted for (which they’ll need if they are to also provide baseload power). Wind and solar are at best accessories to hydrocarbons/nuclear, not replacements.
(Now yes, some rich countries can go 50%+ solar/wind, but at that point they are still going to need energy subsidies from the rest of the world to build and maintain that green infrastructure. In other words, they will be “green” in name only. But on the plus side, they get to virtue signal about it).
Still, at least OAC seems to be earnest about helping the working class – unlike Macron, who raised fuel taxes to combat greenhouse emissions while at the same time ordering massive denuclearization. This would dismantle perhaps the world’s one clearest green energy success story. Now to some extent, I actually sympathize with Macron: The neoliberal reforms he is pushing are ultimately necessary – under its high-tax economic regime, France is inexorably bleeding its best, brightest, and richest, as fellow UR columnist Guillaume Durocher would confirm. However, raising fuel prices while shutting down nuclear proves that he’s just catering to atomophobic SWPL sensibilities as opposed to doing what is best for his country.
Anyhow, this is the problem with the well-educated, genteel liberal “realists” who Care Deeply about global warming and want to deal with it using market solutions but vigorously protest tying it to any “socialist” elements. They tend to be SWPL urbanites with high incomes who are essentially looking to take $1,000’s from Trump’s “deplorables” without any attempt to recompense them. This is class war by any other name. It might work in countries like Switzerland where almost everyone is SWPL anyway, but I daresay that in the US it will create an American analogue of the yellow vests and an even bigger populist “fuck you” than in 2016.
That said, I need to emphasize that I am not really making any policy proposals here. (In reality, I am unironically pro-AGW, if for rather self-interested reasons).
Moreover, on second thought, the neoliberal solution to climate change may well work. As all handshakeworthy people know, the yellow vests are funded by the Kremlin. Any American analogues will also be Kremlin funded. Russia bad. There’s also the problem that “right-wing intellectual” is basically a contradiction in terms. Their “arguments” on this issue, at least in the US, boil down to global warming is a Chinese scam what about Mann’s hockey stick Al Gore invented the Internet lulz herp derp. With enemies who can seemingly do nothing more than sputter in inchoate rage, perhaps neoliberalism.txt has nothing to fear.