Are taxes, 'carbon credits' and fees on CO2 emissions effective means to solve climate issues, or are they rather means of power where politicians get more money to redistribute in order to buy votes?
First, the assumption that the climate problems we're facing today are anthropogenic (human-driven) via CO2 emissions and climate-disturbing phenomena and practices such as cities, desertification, asphalting, hydroelectric dams, etc, is probably correct. This is however an entirely different discussion (which I might get into on Steemit in the future). This post assumes that the CO2 emission problem is real.
All forms of consumption leads to CO2 emissions, somewhere in the chain, and if we raise the taxes on something, so that the state receives tax revenues, the money will simply go to some other consumption, which will ultimately yield as much CO2 emissions.
In addition, the more efficient something is, the more you will use it - fuel-efficient vehicles for instance, will only make us drive more, longer distances and make society more dependent on automobiles.
If you want taxes on CO2 emissions to actually have any results, the state would have to burn the money, thereby reducing overall consumption in society corresponding to the CO2 taxes and not even use CO2 taxes to pay off debts. Alternatively, all CO2 taxes could go to creating less fossil dependent energy sources (all energy sources are actually fossil dependent, even wind and solar power). But can we trust the state and its tax farmers to do this (if we disregard the moral issue of taxation for a second)? It's probably better to assume that it will be empty election promises and that the politicians will use the tax revenues to get richer, fatter and re-elected. In fact, politicians don't care about the climate. They just want to make sure that we work and consume as much as possible and that we're maintaining the status quo. Politicians are essentially people who found a method of making a living on other peoples work; parasites. The more environmental taxes that are created, the fatter the pockets of the environment politicians and their closest circles.
Furthermore, if this tax scheme is to work, all CO2 emitting countries obviously have to have similar CO2 taxes, otherwise the emissions will just move from one country to another. When fossil dependent production will become too expensive in one country, the demand for that production will increase in a country where it's not as expensive. If you for instance buy iron from China and then transport it to USA, the domestic CO2 emissions will be 0 even if the total CO2 emissions, now with transport added, is significantly more than if the same amount of iron would have been produced in the US. That's essentially what always happens when politicians with their sticky fingers disturb the organic order of things.
The thing is, any and all oil that can be extracted WILL be extracted and burned regardless of CO2 taxes. More expensive fuel will only mean that it takes a little bit longer to consume oil and natural gas because people cut down on consumption, but they will certainly not give it up completely. In conclusion, CO2 taxes are unnecessary. I trust that the market, as long as innovation won't be completely stifled, will invent new energy sources as energy becomes more scarce/expensive. The larger threat to humanity comes not from climate change, but from politicians and the government growing ever stronger and more powerful in the name of 'saving humanity'. Just leave us the fuck alone.