This weekend, I had to travel, and in my travels, I went through the great State of New Jersey. In the lovely Garden State, I saw this most remarkable sign. Another sign we live in a mad, mad, mad, mad, world:
This truly blew my mind.
Less than $2 for a gallon of gas? Yes, this the effect of cheap oil, brought on by the fracking boom/bust and tepid economy (in detail here) but less than $2 a gallon, adjusted for inflation, is on par or less than I was paying when I started learning how to drive.
When prices of a basic commodity like gasoline varies that much (and plummets to such low levels), no wonder we can’t get a public rail system going in this country, much less talk about the effect on the climate that burning these fossil fuels cause.
The Federal Reserve controls one of the most fundamental drivers of our capitalist economy – the interest rate. If you suggested that they (or anyone else) control any other prices, you’d be laughed at, and considered a socialist or communist (never mind that this has been done in the past,in peacetime). But the Fed is allowed to control the interest rate, because it is felt that they are “keeping the economy on an even footing.”
If we want to keep the environment on an even footing (although at the rate things are going, this may be impossible), why aren’t fossil fuels subject to the same restrictions?
The idea of a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend program is a great one. There seems to be some support for it too. British Columbia seems to have done it, and it might be working. What are our chances of ever seeing such a thing implemented?