Thursday, June 27, 2013

Would a Carbon Tax Alone Save Life on Planet Earth? Probably Not: Overpopulation Must Also Be Addressed

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post “Would a Carbon Tax Alone Save Life on Planet Earth? Probably Not: Overpopulation Must Also Be Addressed” [Hake (2013)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT (CAPS in quotes are mine): As I pointed out in a post “Would a Carbon Tax Save Life on Planet Earth?” [Hake (2013a)] at, Hansen & Romm (2013) at wrote:

“We must have a simple, honest, across-the-board carbon fee COLLECTED FROM THE FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES AT THE SMALL NUMBER OF DOMESTIC MINES AND PORTS OF ENTRY. All of that money should be distributed to the public -100 percent of it - with equal amounts going to all legal residents.”

Art Hobson (2013a) in an OpEd “Our planet passes a climate benchmark” at made a similar point but did not indicate, as did Hansen & Romm, that the carbon fee should be “collected from the fossil fuel companies at the small number of domestic mines and ports of entry.”

Al Bartlett (2013a) responded at to Hobson's OpEd thusly:

“Here I want to comment on the FIRST OF TWO OMISSIONS in your otherwise excellent and comprehensive presentation. . . . . The ‘stop emissions’ is right on but unrealistic. As long as there are humans on earth, emissions of CO2 will continue at some level. It seems to me to be more realistic to say that: ‘We must embark on a long-term program of continually reducing the annual number of tons per year of greenhouse gases that are released world-wide into the Earth's atmosphere.’ . . . . [To do this] we have to STOP GLOBAL POPULATION GROWTH AND THEN REDUCE THE SIZE OF THE GLOBAL POPULATION TO SOME "SUSTAINABLE" LEVEL. And in a later post Bartlett (2013b) at stated: “You did state that the solution is to put a tax on carbon. . . . . . The next question that needs to be addressed is: Given the real world in which we live, WHAT IS THE PROBABILITY THAT ON ANY USEFUL TIME SCALE WE CAN ACHIEVE THE GOAL . . . .. OF STOPPING CARBON EMISSIONS BY MEANS OF . . . . . . .PUTTING A TAX ON CARBON?”

Bartlett (2013c) discussed the SECOND OMISSION in a post “Exporting U.S. Fossil Fuels” at, stating: “Art and most of the environmentalists who strongly advocate the reduction of U.S. carbon emissions omit one important point. The U.S. exports a significant fraction of the coal that it mines. Thus U.S. coal is burned in other countries where it makes about the same contribution to global warming as it would have if it had been burned in the U.S.”

Hobson (2013a) may have “missed a point,” but Hansen & Romm (2013) did not!

As indicated above they, unlike Hobson, specified that “the carbon fee should be collected from the fossil fuel companies AT THE SMALL NUMBER OF DOMESTIC MINES and ports of entry.” Thus Hansen & Romm's carbon tax would discourage coal mining in the U.S. regardless of whether or not U.S. coal is shipped out of the U.S.

Hobson, in a response at appeared to be unaware of Hansen & Romm (2013) and failed to make the above argument. But Hobson agreed with Bartlett that THE OVERPOPULATION PROBLEM NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH THE IMPOSITION OF A CARBON TAX. I also agree with Bartlett - see e.g. “L.A. Times Population Report: Beyond 7 Billion - Fighting the Last War?” [Hake (2012)] online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at

To access the complete 27 kB post please click on .

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles:
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs:
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“If any fraction, large or small, of the observed global warming
Can be attributed to the actions of humans,
Then this is positive proof that the human population,
Living as we do,
Has exceeded the carrying capacity of the Earth.”
- Al Bartlett (2013a)

REFERENCES [URLs shortened by and accessed on 27 June 2013.]
Hake, R.R. 2013. “Would a Carbon Tax Alone Save Life on Planet Earth? Probably Not: Overpopulation Must Also Be Addressed.” Online on the OPEN! Net-Gold archives at Post of 27 Jun 2013 14:55:33-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being distributed to various discussion lists.

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