February 26, 2024

Elon Musk presents his new right-wing fans with a carbon tax; goes as well as you would expect

Elon Musk is introducing his new right-wing fans to the idea of ​​implementing a carbon tax, and it’s going about as well as you’d expect.

In recent years, Musk has become something of a hero of the right.

Regardless of your political stance, it’s a fascinating situation. I remember not long ago the right wing consistently attacked him for taking advantage of government subsidies to his companies.

A few years later, he buys Twitter, reestablishes some previously banned conservative accounts, mocks Joe Biden and other Democrats, starts talking consistently about “wokeness” and illegal immigration, and is now beloved by the right.

During this period, the once fanatical climate change warrior who left President Trump’s business council because he withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement, began to talk much less about climate change and Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s energy transition. renewable.

In addition to running six different companies, the Tesla CEO is now practically a full-time political influencer.

It’s creating an interesting situation. For the first time in a long time, Musk decided to use his popular X account to promote an idea considered left-wing (even though it shouldn’t be political): a carbon tax.

Musk wrote:

Musk has been promoting the idea of ​​a carbon tax for a long time, and it’s interesting to see him introducing the idea to his new right-wing fans.

As you can imagine, it didn’t go very well.

Most of the top-voted comments below his post were very negative responses. Here are some examples:

I had to sift through about 50 responses to see a positive response to Musk’s comment. It seems that, for better or worse, Musk’s X profile is now dominated by his new right-wing fans.

Electrek’s opinion

I’m the first to admit that implementing a carbon tax correctly is difficult. In theory, it makes a lot of sense. In fact, free market conservatives should love it since it fixes the market.

A free market only works if it is fair and if all external costs are accounted for. If external costs are not accounted for, the market becomes inefficient and fails.

A carbon tax accounts for the external costs of carbon emissions. Corrects market inefficiency – ensuring that true costs (including environmental ones) are included in product costs. Products that are better for the environment would come first.

Now, to agree with this, you have to agree with the vast majority of environmental scientists who say that humanity’s carbon production is contributing to the acceleration of Earth’s warming.

Yes, the climate has always changed naturally over billions of years, but that doesn’t mean that humans starting to pump billions of metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year aren’t accelerating it. The data seems clear.

For example, the amount of solar energy the Earth receives has followed the natural cycle of the Sun, and yet the global temperature has increased enormously due to increased industrialization:

Therefore, at the very least, we can agree that products that emit less carbon throughout their entire life cycle have less risk of negatively affecting the environment. So why take more risks?

So a carbon tax would, at the very least, help reduce the risk of this crazy experiment that humanity is undertaking by digging up carbon and burning it in the atmosphere in incredible quantities.

Now, I agree that it is difficult to implement correctly. There are many different aspects to this. For example, it works better if it is global. Everyone needs to get on board. There is the idea that the US shouldn’t get involved unless everyone gets involved, but that’s a decision between being a positive leader and accepting being part of the problem because others don’t want to be part of the solution. I don’t like that mentality.

Furthermore, it needs to be significant and reasonably priced. There have been carbon taxes before, but they had minimal impact because they didn’t really account for the billions of dollars that burning fossil fuels costs around the world every year.

It’s an incredibly difficult tax to make fair, but I think it’s worth doing. There could be a way to do this, while reducing other taxes and encouraging people to live lower carbon lifestyles. And if you want to keep doing this, you can. But now it will reflect the true costs of the products.

As a side note, I hate being too political. I’m not a very political person. I don’t believe that many truly significant changes in history have come from politics and politicians. I don’t consider myself left or right. I approach each question with an open mind. Please keep this in mind before you call me a leftist for endorsing a carbon tax.

In fact, I think we should go back to the times when this was a bipartisan issue in the US. Conservatives often claim that their side has the best economic policy, and almost all economists are in favor of a carbon price – because unpriced externalities are a market inefficiency, and a carbon price solves that. Additionally, a group of influential Republican luminaries, including Bush and Reagan Secretaries of State George Shultz and James Baker, Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and conservative economist Greg Mankiw, have all supported a carbon price.

One of the main problems is that it is called a carbon “tax” and many people, especially conservatives, have a visceral reaction to that word. If this is the case for you, try to overcome this and understand the reasoning behind it.

Finally, please keep the comments section civil.

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