Well, Europe was about to do the same to airlines. Everyone (and I mean "everyone who wasn't going to profit from this scam,") proclaimed and emphatic, "NO!"
The US said no, China said no, India said no, the airlines said no. Eventually Europe got the idea, and decided to postpone the plan "for just one year." Yeah, we'll see how that works out for them.
In the meantime, in case you needed more evidence that a) the current environmental movement is made of Malthusians (people who want humanity to die off) and b) is not based upon science, but rather a quasi-religion which just happens to have Al Gore as its Chief Priest and Prophet, the NYT gives us this gem of a line:
For many people reading this, air travel is their most serious environmental sin. One round-trip flight from New York to Europe or to San Francisco creates about 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. The average American generates about 19 tons of carbon dioxide a year; the average European, 10.
See, fliers? You're "sinning" by flying rather than driving, or (better) taking the train. Even better, to the NYT, would be if you just stayed home in your easily controlled "multipurpose development."
Now, they mention that one round trip flight from NY to Europe or San Fransisco "creates about 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person." So let's say there are 100 people on a flight from NY to San Fransisco. That's going to be about 250 tons of CO2. Now, let's see what it would take for 100 people to drive? We'll assume 2 people per car on average. According to Travel Matters, that's 2.4 lb of CO2 per mile. Bing Maps says that's a drive of 2904 miles. My math says that each car then would create 3.484 tons of carbon dioxide on the trip. Multiplied by 50 cars, I get 174.24 tons of carbon.
"Hey!" you say, "That's a savings of a little over 75 tons! Score!"
"But wait," I say.
That flight was going to take a few hours. There might be one meal served per seat, plus a snack and some drinks. That drive would take over 41 hours. That's nearly 4 days, just of driving time. By the time you figure stopping to use the restroom, to eat, and to sleep, you're talking the better part of a week. How much CO2 did you create by eating all those meals? By using the restroom (water treatment plants use power, which creates evil carbon, after all)? And that assumes you're not stuck sitting in traffic because of some accident or other road closure. By the time you actually get there, you've lost a week of productivity, paid several hundred more dollars for food, and been stuck in a car for the better part of a week. All to save less than one ton of CO2 (and really much less, when you consider the stops) per person.
So, mathematically, it makes more sense to fly than to drive. For a very meager increase in carbon emissions (even assuming such are bad in the first place, which certainly has not been proven), you are paying a much, much greater cost in terms of time, productivity, and travel cost. If this is about the environment, certainly there are bigger "sins" than flying between New York City and San Fransisco. Which means this scheme cannot be based on any rigorous thought model.
"Okay," I hear you saying, "I'll grant that it's not strictly scientific, but Malthusian? You really think the environmental movement thinks humans are a plague on the earth?"
Well, yes. First, there is the fact that many of them have said so recently. There are two other reasons, though.
First, one needs to consider what their proposed policies would ultimately do. You know what, besides creating power and flying and manufacturing of durable goods, takes a lot of power (and therefore creates a lot of CO2)? Manufacturing medicines. If the various cap-and-trade schemes pass, one of the major victims will be Big Pharma.
Now, I'm not a fan of Big Pharma just because it's big pharma. I am a fan, however, of medicine. I'm a huge fan of penicillin, for instance. Sulfa drugs? Love 'em. Vaccines? Man, sign me up.
Yet, if the environmentalist movement has its way, we'll have less of those.
Moreover, we'll all be packed into these "multipurpose developments" they love so much. Now, I'm not against those, particularly, but Leftists want us forced into them, by one means or another. When you get a lot of people living in a little space, you get disease. And I'm not talking about colds, or even the flu, I'm talking about plagues and epidemics. When you add that kind of mass of humanity to reduced access to medicines, you start looking to Medieval Europe and their death rates.
But there's another reason. The current environmental movement, as lead (or at least spoken for) by Al Gore is a quasi-religion. If you listen to them speak, they're not talking about science, or human choice. They're earth worshipers like you'd get in ancient Mesopotamia. They believe the planet is "sick" and "angry," as though Gaia will rise, and her Titan and Giant children with her, to wipe humanity off the face of the earth. They even speak of "creating carbon dioxide" as a "sin." That word: "sin," is a religious one. It means an offense against, or separation from, God. And the wages of sin are death.