James Hansen is the world's best-known climatologist. Lately, he has been making some attempts at policy prescription, and his latest effort looks a bit like what Dion's tax shifting plan might look like if the details of it are ever released. Hansen calls his scheme
"Carbon Tax and 100% Dividend":
“Carbon tax and 100% dividend” is spurred by the recent “carbon cap” discussion of Peter Barnes and others. Principles must be crystal clear and adhered to rigorously. A tax on coal, oil and gas is simple. It can be collected at the first point of sale within the country or at the last (e.g., at the gas pump), but it can be collected easily and reliably. You cannot hide coal in your purse; it travels in railroad cars that are easy to spot. “Cap”, in addition, is a euphemism that may do as much harm as good. The public is not stupid.
The entire carbon tax should be returned to the public, with a monthly deposit to their bank accounts, an equal share to each person (if no bank account provided, an annual check – social security number must be provided). No bureaucracy is needed to figure
this out. If the initial carbon tax averages $1200 per person per year, $100 is deposited in each account each month (Detail: perhaps limit to four shares per family, with child shares being half-size, i.e., no marriage penalty but do not encourage population growth).
William M. Connolley (Stoat) questions the proposals underlying simplicity:
So what in the crystal-clear principles allows you to decide if it should be limited to n shares per person? And looking harder, what allows you to decide it should be an equal share per person? Is it only the lack of any other method of division?
and much back and forth takes place in the comments. Apparently, the Swedes have a carbon tax that gets returned to you in the form of income tax cuts.
Note: I'm not expressing too much in the way of opinion in these carbon tax vs. cap-and-trade posts because I don't have particularly strong opinions either way. One point that Dion has made, and that Hansen makes in the above, is that a Carbon tax is far easier to implement than a cap-and-trade market.
PS. Peter Barnes is this guy.
PPS. McLelland is a fierce advocate of Cap and Trade. His arguments are not without weight.