So Ralph Nader has thrown his hat in the ring, i.e. the presidential race. My question is whether that hat can ignite a fire under the feet of the other candidates to seriously consider a national carbon tax.
While Nader supports a carbon tax, the viable candidates do not. Rather, they have irresponsibly not taken global warming seriously. If there’s a more effective method than a carbon tax to reduce carbon emissions quickly enough to slow climate change, I haven’t yet seen it. A tax on carbon would slow our fossil fuel consumption and force us to innovate in the more sustainable directions of lowered consumption and renewable energy.
British Columbia enacted a carbon tax earlier this month, and the European Union started its carbon trading program in 2005. With all the brilliant minds, Nobel prize winners and history of innovation in our country, why are we laggards instead of leaders in dealing with climate change? John Edwards came the closest to a stand of integrity in this arena, and I regretted his exit from the ring.
Can Ralph Nader help us here? Two accounts, one for each side of his duality:
My friend Joe had dinner with him in Seattle in the 90’s. Joe said Nader kept dickering with the server over whether the fish was fresh or frozen, more rolls free of charge or not, and on and on, being a fussbudget. In contrast, I heard Nader speak in 2002 at Lewis and Clark college here in Portland, Oregon. But his haranguing style in this context was that of a big-picture warrior, attacking abuses, protecting the vulnerable, confronting powerful corporations.
There is no bigger-picture problem than global warming, no greater abuse than not curbing it, no way in which the poor are more vulnerable or corporations more needy of confrontation. If Ralph Nader can be an on-topic firebrand instead of an off-topic fussbudget, i.e. make a national carbon tax a hot topic, then I welcome his hat in the ring.