New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has won praise for his ambitious sustainability plan for the largest U.S. city, said that a carbon tax, as compared to regulation-heavy carbon trading, would be a much more efficient and fair way to limit greenhouse gas pollution, the Associated Press reported.
He made his comments in Bali, where the United Nations is wrapping up a contentious summit on global warming that is intended to draft a roadmap for updating the global climate change treaty.
Besides adding fuel to the fire of speculation around a potential independent run for president (who else stands on a world stage and makes such sweeping policy pronouncements?) it raises a point that has been suggested by many economists. In Bloomberg's words, according to the AP, a carbon tax would prevent the "special interests, corruption, inefficiencies" likely with a carbon market.
The suggestion is unlikely to gain support, as the major holdup at the meetings has been the unwillingness of the United States to commit, along with other industrialized nations, to a 25-40% cut in carbon emissions by 2020. It opposes specific talk of targets at this stage of negotiations, and has said it won't agree to reduce emissions unless developing nations like China and India must also.
The deadline for negotiations has been extended, according to the German Press Agency, but there's no indication that the European Union and the United States will come to agreement on that key provision. Al Gore accused the Bush Administration of standing in the way of progress (he's advocated not only for set emissions targets, but an advanced timeline for implementing them) and the European Union threatened to boycott the Bush Administration's planned meetings on global warming next year, which are designed, critics say, to derail U.N. negotiations.
The Bush Administration, vocally against any new taxes, would never agree to a carbon tax, and most see a carbon tax as politically unpalatable, regardless of one's political party affiliation.
Unless, like Bloomberg, one is an independent.
Meanwhile, there's fresh evidence that the world needs to act quickly on climate change and carbon emissions:
Half the world's coral reefs might disappear by 2050 due to the rising acidity of oceans, which is caused by the absorption of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to fresh research from an international team of scientists detailed in USA Today. Australia's Great Barrier Reef might be the first to suffer, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp., and all reefs might disappear by the end of this century.
Glaciers in western China have shrunk more 7-18% in just five years, according to a new study described by China's state-run media.
The past decade on earth has been the hottest of any on record, according to a preliminary World Meteorological Organization report detailed by The Business Times Singapore. The U.K. will record one of its hottest year every in 2007, a year that saw deadly flooding, according to The Daily Mail.
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