[lbo-talk] re [pen-l] What is MMT? / MMT Points that I Like

Eugene Coyle e.coyle at me.com
Fri Feb 15 13:03:53 PST 2019

Ron, I shouldn’t have been so terse.

My point is that GHG emissions are the responsibility of the rich. The climate movement has been facing in the wrong direction, sidetracked by technological chimeras. Essentially, to fix climate, income redistribution is key. (And NOT taxes on the rich, but that’s for another post.)

To answer Ragu’s question:

> Kevin Anderson on Democracy Now, Oct 9, 2019
> AMY GOODMAN: You write in your response to this landmark U.N. report that climate change is ultimately the responsibility of a few high emitters. Explain who they are.
> KEVIN ANDERSON: Well, just to put some numbers on this, about half of global emissions arise from the activities of just about 10 percent of the world’s population, and about 70 percent of all global emissions of carbon dioxide come from about 20 percent of the world’s population. And very closely, the emissions relate to the wealth or the income of the citizens.

Kevin Anderson is a professor at the UK's premier climate modeling institution, the Tyndall Centre, and the University of Manchester. But of course what he is saying has been well known for years. Steven Pacala at Princeton, Oxfam, Chancel/Piketty,, The Stockholm Environment Institute and Pope Francis have all laid this out. There are, of course, climate activists who won’t talk about it.

Anderson elsewhwere offered an easy solution to reducing GHG:
> The responsibility for global emissions is heavily skewed towards the lifestyles of a relatively few high emitters – professors and climate academics amongst them. Almost 50% of global carbon emissions arise from the activities of around 10% of the global population, increasing to 70% of emissions from just 20% of citizens. Impose a limit on the per-capita carbon footprint of the top 10% of global emitters, equivalent to that of an average European citizen, and global emissions could be reduced by one third in a matter of a year or two.

Of course not so easy. Reducing the emissions of the rich to the "equivalent to that of an average European citizen, and global emissions could be reduced by one third in a matter of a year or two.” Not so easy after all, for reducing the emissions of the rich to that level REQUIRES reducing their incomes to the level of the average European citizen. What would that be, $25 or $40,000 a year?

Any even better recent paper, a brilliant paper about dealing with climate change is a report is called "After Paris: Inequality, Fair Shares, and the Climate Emergency." Here's the link: http://civilsocietyreview.org/files/COP24_CSO_Equity_Review_Report.pdf

That is our task == a large immediate income redistribution. We don’t have to equalize incomes but we have to head quickly in that direction.

So, Ron, that’s the point I was trying to make, i.e. not just to reduce the income of rentiers for fairness purposes but for climate purpose.

I’m delighted that the Green New Deal is getting attention. At the same time, trying to fix supply as the answer to climate change seems futile. Without dealing with demand for energy we are literally cooked.

As I promised, more about NOT Taxes elsewhere. For one thing, taxing the rich implicitly accepts that the rich have “earned” the income, which I do not.


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