by george matthews
David Benton wrote:how does a carbon tax or any other tax enrich politicans ? Are they pocketing it ?The US right wing so distrust their government, and I don't blame them, that they cynically assume wrong motives for everything proposed. But they need a better constitution than the 1789 lash-up they have.
They also don't believe there is a climate problem. 2011 showed an amazing amount of flooding and bad weather events, following 2010 with its droughts and fires, threatening famine from a shortage of wheat. I expect 2012 will be similar. Bad weather events are increasing. Whether the rightwingers in the US will ever notice what is happening is an interesting question. They seem to be having bad floods in the midwest more frequently than in the past. If that affects the grain harvest there will be famine in the places to which the surplus is being exported.
There is a legitimate investigation of whether electrically powered high speed rail actually reduces carbon emissions. I would prefer it if the British government negotiated an electric line from Iceland which can provide huge quantities of carbon free electricity. There is a draft plan for a European grid which would indeed connect Icelandic hydro and geothermal power to the grid. In that case rail would not emit carbon dioxide.
It used to be the case that Italian railways got their power from geothermal - another area with a large geothermal potential. Maybe that's something that New Zealand could do something about. An entirely electrified system there could run without importing any oil.
These huge problems of energy and climate cannot be tackled by the "private sector" using the 18th century arrangements they have in the US.
There is such huge demand for rail travel in Britain that I am sure this increased capacity will be used.