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February 21, 2015


The faux low carbon fuels bill is a fraud and a terrible mistake. It's just greenwash nonsense. The bottom line is that all the "easy" oil and natural gas that can be reached and burned will be reached and burned. Period.
The only meaningful action on climate that we can take is to ensure that we do everything in our power to get off coal and the alt fuels -- the tar sands and shales and fracked fossil fuels.

Enviros should welcome defeat of the low carbon fuels bill, especially if it comes at the "cost" (actually benefit) of avoiding more insane highway spending and paving.

As the fracking bubble blows out and the game is revealed as nothing more than another real estate bubble, we are about to see the whipsaw effect, as prices first collapsed, bankrupting the frackers, and then sending prices skyrocketing again. The dumbest thing we could do is pretend to have a "green" victory by buying into another decade of denial on climate reality just as the day of reckoning dawns.

The way to cut transportation emissions is not with snake oil nostrums like biofuels. The way to cut emissions from transport is to stop moving around so damn much and put a fair price on emissions, so that we don't make polluting free and alternatives costly.

My problem with gas taxes in the form of a carbon fuel bill is who it hits. The well off have already gotten vehicles that will save them even if they drive a lot of miles on vacations or take airplanes to exotic locales. The ones who get hit by a carbon tax are the working poor, who can't afford a new, more efficient car, and those who live in rural areas like the ranchers and farmers who raise the food that then has to be trucked into those not bothering or able to grow their own.

I know it sounds good to tax fuel more to get it used less but some always get around it. I don't have an answer either but maybe it'll be back to horses someday if the above commenter is correct... oops too much methane?

Rain, so far as I know there is no increase in the gas tax under the low carbon fuel bill. There likely would be a small increase in the price of gas, though so some people (like, Republicans) argue this is a "tax." See:

But gas prices go up and down all of the time. We don't call these price changes a "tax" when some event causes a price drop or increase. To me it seems worthwhile to help save the planet by paying a few more cents at the pump (4 to 19 cents by 2025 is the estimate), when prices regularly fluctuate much more than that.

Yes, an actual carbon tax would be better. Or a larger gas tax increase, a dollar say, aimed at reducing Oregon's carbon footprint. But to me this bill seems like a worthy step in the right direction. Californian and British Columbia have similar standards, so oil companies already have to meet the standard there.

Oil companies LOVE this sort of thing -- because while they play Bre'r Rabbit, they are only too happy to see states lining up to lock in the liquid fuels/internal combustion paradigm even further. "Low carbon" standards might have been a meaningful step in 1988, when Hansen first testified to Congress; right now, they're worse than trying to shut the barn door after the horses escape -- a low carbon fuel standard gives preference to the immoral biofuels scam and delays action on the real issues, which come down to taking emergency action against coal, fracked fossil fuels, and all the horrors of the alt fuels that will drive CO2 through the roof.

The low-carbon fuels scam is wishful thinking turned into policy at its most destructive iteration. The more we pretend that we can supplement fossil fuels with disguised fossil fuels (which is all that biofuels are -- petroleum and nat gas energy converted to corn to be converted back to hydrocarbons, with subsidies and toxic pollution galore), the more we are preventing the transition away from fossil fuels.

An important graphic that everyone concerned about a livable planet needs to see:

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