This story about the European Union (EU) ruling that planes flying in and out of European airports having to pay a carbon tax presents an interesting heuristic for our possible future. One of our possible futures (think of the point Bush vs. Gore where we might have had a future with Gore as President and not the disastrous Bush back in 2000) is that the GOP tactics of fighting all environmental regulations and attempts to dismantle the EPA actually work and we end up with a GOP President. Then, we in the US would have a President who doesn’t understand the science behind Climate Change.
While convenient for the Tea Party who is just sick of regulations and taxes, the rest of our country and the world for that matter might not find Climate Change denial in our leader all that amusing. Besides not dealing with the most important issue of this century where we have to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change, we will be continually angering the rest of the world. The rest of the world, for example, is not all that pleased with our foot-dragging in the Durban Climate Change talks: a good portion of the manmade greenhouse gases (GHG) in our atmosphere are red, white, and blue the US pushed back against any coordinated efforts in Durban recently for an even nebulous framework for addressing Climate Change in the future.
When the Climate Change talks return, what will a GOP president, who must cave into the Climate Change denial folks because the extreme end of his or her party has so much financial clout, do about keeping what little promises we have made in the Climate talks? Will the next US President just ignore the next Climate talks? That’s just one of the problems with installing (due to the primacy of money in US politics) a GOP President. Another problem is this: what about when other countries just give up on the US and go addressing Climate Change on their own—and it affects the US?
This issue that’s just come to a head on a European carbon tax on jet fuel emissions highlights this problem. However much the US doesn’t want to understand Climate Change, because it will create havoc with our fossil fuel addiction, other countries are not on the same page. They’re not reading the same script. They have the right and they will do what they think will help solve Climate Change regardless of how much Climate Change denial pervades the US. Bush’s infamous bully tactics (“You’re either with us or you’re against us) won’t work on the Climate Change issue. We are going to be alone as we drag our feet on Climate Change. The rest of the world will get annoyed. We will have lost all the goodwill that we gained from helping the world through World War Two and its aftermath.
So, it will be interesting how this scenario with a carbon tax on jet fuel works out for US.
Turbulence As EU Court OKs Fee On Plane Emissions : NPR A European court ruled Wednesday that airlines flying into and out of European airports will have to pay a price for the carbon dioxide they emit when they burn jet fuel. U.S. airlines, which had been fighting the idea in court, say the European Union is trying to force other countries to reduce carbon emissions. Europe currently limits carbon dioxide emissions from its major industries to curb global warming. The ruling cannot be appealed, and the decision is likely to end the dispute. (December 21, 2011) Environment : NPR