Smart Taxes Can Help Align Economies & Ecosystem
Dolphins Die, Insects Grow In Pacific Ocean
Sea creatures die due to dumb policies but smart ones do get promoted. We trim, blend, and append five 2012 articles from: (1) AP, May 9, on dolphins by F. Bajak; (2) Telegraph, May 9, on garbage; (3) FOE, May 16, on EIB; (4) GBE, May 15, on carbon tax; and (5) Globe and Mail, May 4, on land tax by F. de Jong (Earthsharing Canada).
by Frank Bajak, by the Telegraph, , by Friends of the Earth, by Green Budget Europe, and by Frank de Jong
Autopsy Delay Clouds Peru Dolphin Die-off Mystery
The carcasses of dead pelicans still litter the beaches of northern Peru -- where the Humboldt current hugs most of the nation’s 1,500-mile (2,400-kilometer) coast -- even as the last of nearly 900 dolphins are cleared away.
The sea mammal conservation group Orca, which initially publicized the dolphin die-off, believes the cetaceans were killed by shock waves generated by acoustic "explosions" used to test the sea bed for oil deposits. Seismic oil exploration work was carried out off northern Peru by the Houston-based company BPZ Energy.
ORCA did 30 autopsies of dolphins and found broken bones in their ears, internal hemorrhages, and collapsed livers.
Authorities were so late in gathering tissues from the mammals that crucial clues were likely lost.
Local officials have been so slow in removing carcasses that the Health Ministry urged the public to stay away from beaches from Lima, the coastal capital, northward.
Investigators say they think they know why at least 4,450 pelicans have died: Hotter than usual ocean temperatures have driven a type of anchovy deeper into the sea, beyond the reach of many young pelicans.
Up and down the coast, disoriented pelicans have been seen standing on beaches where they don't normally alight. Some have even been seen walking along coastal roadways.
Ocean temperatures in the region are currently 6 degrees Celsius (10 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal for this time of year, Peru's autumn.
Hundreds of dolphins have at times turned up dead on beaches in various parts of the world, though the number in northern Peru was particularly high.
To read more
JJS: Both the South Pacific and the North Pacific suffer severely. Warmer waters come in part from humans burning fossil fuels. And besides serve as fuel, petroleum is also the raw material for plastic.
Garbage Patch Has Increased 100-fold
The vast swirl of plastic waste floating in the North Pacific has grown 100-fold over the last 40 years.
Known as the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG) or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it is roughly the size of Texas and consists of microplastic -- particles smaller than five millimeters.
Around 13,000 pieces of plastic litter are found in every square kilometre of sea, but the problem is worst in the North Pacific.
The NPSG is providing a new habitat for ocean insects called "sea-skaters" which prey on plankton and fish eggs and are in turn fed on by seabirds, turtles, and fish.
The plastic particles are being vacuumed up by marine life and birds, and the mix is heavy with toxic chemicals.
To read more
JJS: Imagine if both the buyers and sellers of plastic, and the sellers of the oil it comes from, had to pay eco-deposits -- instead of receive "brown" subsidies. That the energy companies get to disturb the oceans is something that US taxpayers help pay for.
US Export-Import Bank Is Big Win for Polluters
The US Senate passed H.R. 2072, a bill to reauthorize the federal government's Export-Import Bank, which provides billions of dollars in public financing for harmful fossil fuel projects worldwide. Passage of the bill will allow the agency to increase its portfolio cap from $100 billion to $140 billion. It now moves to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
Once it’s signed, the country’s most profitable and polluting companies, like ExxonMobil, will continue to enjoy billions of dollars in public subsidies.
The Ex-Im Bank reauthorization bill omits environmental, social, and some anti-corruption reforms necessary to hold the agency accountable for the damage done by the projects it finances.
The Ex-Im Bank’s support for fossil fuel projects surpassed $4.5 billion in 2011, six times as much as for renewable energy.
It’s bad enough that the Obama Administration pawns publicly-owned coal for export, and seriously entertains approval of the tar sands pipeline. Now it is complicit in an Export-Import Bank reauthorization bill without any requirement to clean up the agency’s portfolio.
To read more
JJS: While spending public revenue stupidly worsens eco-problems, raising public revenue wisely helps solve eco-problems.
Advantages of Carbon Tax Above Other Taxes
Euro for Euro, energy and carbon taxes have a lower negative impact on the economy, consumption, and jobs than do income tax or VAT. Carbon and energy taxes can raise revenue while leaving the economy is a stronger state to sustain the recovery. Conventional taxes raise revenue, but pose a much greater risk of depressing growth in the process.
The report is entitled “Carbon taxation and fiscal consolidation: the potential of carbon pricing to reduce Europe’s fiscal deficits”.
A number of ex-Finance Ministers and other prominent political figures have signed an open letter to Europe's Finance Ministers to call on policy makers to take note of the report's findings and to explore smart taxation as a means of achieving fiscal consolidation.
To read more
JJS: While taxing and fining polluters makes sense, it makes even more sense to tax land value or for society to charge a rent to owners of land and resources, an idea that appeared in Canada’s press.
Under Land Value Taxation, governments would finance programs by collecting capital gains (economic rent) as it accrues, instead of taxing incomes and businesses.
To read more
JJS: When owners must pay rents, they take less land in general and use more wisely the nature that they take. In order that even the humblest among us can afford these land dues, and so that everyone receives compensation for not using the parts of Earth owned by others, government could disburse (some or all) the recovered rents as a dividend to citizens. Doing that would also connect humans to Earth in a most basic way -- monetarily -- and provide people with enough material security to not worry so much about the economy and get on with the business of just living.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .
ClawBack details tax bias for big business ...
Two cities add two exemplary buildings while …
Senate Democrat -- Big oil doesn't need tax breaks
Email this article Sign up for free Progress Report updates via email
What are your views? Share your opinions with The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?