CO2 Taxes – The Great Windfall


What is the best case scenario possible, if all the nations of the world unite to assess CO2 consumption taxes in order to curtail CO2 emissions? Bear in mind that eliminating pollution is a reason for global warming, and if we suddenly turn clean all the coal plants of the world, circa 2006, we’re likely to ignite increasing warming by curtailing the remaining “parasol” of industrial soot that cools the world. So how will we clean our air and curtail CO2 emissions, and how will we apply a CO2 tax?

Incandescent Lightbulb
Don’t Ban
Tax Them

The worst thing governments can do is instead of simply placing a fair tax on CO2 consumption, they ration or restrict consumption. A carbon tax only means one must pay a tax on their carbon footprint, not how they create their footprint. Instead of banning Hummers, or outlawing incandescent lights, we tax them. In any case, profligate resource use doesn’t necessarily have to have a big carbon footprint. If Hummers are made in a green-certified plant using recycled materials, and running on electricity harvested from a home photovoltaic array, they might even have a negative footprint! Don’t ban or ration anything simply based on alleged energy inefficiency, just require it is clean and price it via equitable application of carbon taxes.

Use the money collected from taxes on CO2 footprints for planting forests. Make sure biofuel crops don’t crowd out the world’s forest lungs. For every one square mile (a “section”) of certified biofuel plantation, plant two acres of forest. In the tropics, where every square mile of forest creates perennial cooling, for every one square mile of certified biofuel plantation, plant ten square miles of forest. Reforesting, especially in the tropics, will improve balanced atmospheric circulation, reducing extreme weather, and decrease the atmospheric CO2 content. The correlation between deforesting and global warming is very clear; the steady rise of CO2 levels is due to decreasing landbased (and year-round) CO2 intake due to deforestation of the tropics. This can be mitigated, using CO2 taxes as the financing mechanism.

Photovoltaic Panels
Photovoltaic panels now have energy paybacks
of over 20-1, and are cheaper than ever.
Photovoltaics are carbon tax-credit machines!

Use the money collected from taxes on CO2 footprints to pay for photovoltaic desalinization plants, and build them all over the world. Two kilowatt-hours of electricity will produce a cubic meter of desalinated seawater. Amortized over 30 years, construction costs for these plants only add costs amounting to one more kilowatt-hour of electricity per cubic meter of water – these plants are cheap and they should be built on every arid coast.

Use the money collected from taxes on CO2 footprints for massive water distribution projects. We don’t need dams, we need green dams, and the capacity to move water across continental distances. Dig tunnels for pipes, build aquaducts and pumping stations. Use water diversions and desalinated water pumped upstream to reforest areas requiring irrigation and acquifer recharge – reforest and refill and restore the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Aral Sea, the Dead Sea, Brazil, West Africa, East Africa, Indonesia, India, everywhere. Pursue reforestation/biofuel infrastructure projects on a continental scale, all over the world. As forests are restored, rainfall increases, which accelerates and compounds progress finding water sources for further reforesting. Use abundant water to reverse desertification and grow biofuel into the deserts.

By revegetating the entire planet – upgrading and increasing the level of vegetation on 10+ million square miles of the earth’s surface – we may stop global warming. We will most certainly reduce droughts. And if there is warming, more plants and forests will help alleviate earth damage from the alleged super storms that are coming.

House with Straw Bale Walls and Metal Roof
House with straw bale walls and a metal roof

Use the money collected from taxes on CO2 footprints to build green cities, that have distributed cisterns and interlinked water utilities, virtual electric power companies, and virtually no heat signature.

In the green cities of the future, there will be room for great canopy trees within suburbs, new and old, and in the urban core our new mid-rises would be terraced concrete and steel megaliths covered in verdant turf. Within green cities, build green buildings, with photovoltaic sunshades and windows, and plants covering 90% of the roof, with runoff collectors and water cisterns and batteries/diesel storage. Use CO2 tax money to build freeways for cars and smart busses to eliminate inefficient traffic congestion. Recycle water and generate distributed energy to transform each one of the world’s million-plus miles of mega-cities from heat islands into a cool, green oasis.

To cool the northern icecap, mandate extended jet flight paths to distribute aerosols over the arctic, and use CO2 tax money to figure out what sort of benign aerosol to put into commercial jet fuel (or jet afterburners). After all, if the collapse of Eastern European industry is the reason for the earth’s most immediate warming, why not reverse this by increasing aerosol emissions? Even if the oceans are warming, shouldn’t we cool and expand the northern icecap if we can?

Futuristic Spaceship Flying through Space
The Global Cooling Effects of Benign Soot

Maybe with commercial air traffic there is a way to distribute global-cooling aerosols over the northern icecap.

For that matter, if it would help, maybe we could light some artificial volcano with relatively benign but highly cooling aerosols, and let it burn for a few months in just the right spot on the tradewinds. To discuss intentionally increasing aerosol deposition is not madness nor a reckless compromise, rather it is to believe in the need to solve global warming, not just do anything for the cause.

CO2 taxes will fund watering the world, reforesting the world, greening the cities of the world, and indeed they may reverse or help manage global warming. Hopefully CO2 taxes will be fairly applied, not punitively. Hopefully they will be invested wisely. The nations of the world can unite to cool and green the planet without rationing Hummers, or banning incandescent lights – profligate resource use can still be clean and green and carbon negative and profitable and should not be discouraged.

About the Author: Edward “Redwood” Ring is the Editor of EcoWorld ( In his spare time he grows redwood trees.

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