Sacramento — in its quest to leave no stone unturned in its search to tax methane gas producers to raise revenue to underwrite their schemes to combat greenhouse gas — could one day impose the “ultimate” tax.
It could be in the form of taxing human births.
Perhaps it could be a surcharge on your municipal sewer bill.
It might be a special tax on ice cream and dairy products much like the sin taxes on booze and cigarettes.
They could even have burp and flatulence cops to issue you citations.
Sounds like complete nonsense, right?
Well guess who produces the bogeyman of greenhouse gas — methane gas.
You may have had a good laugh over the proposal by New Zealand greenies to have their government tax farm animals for methane gas emission via peeing, burping and passing gas.
Science research shows cows generate somewhere between 250 and 500 liters of methane a day.
Humans are farther behind as we produce an average of a liter of flatus per day. Of that, only seven percent is methane.
Depending upon who is doing the estimate, there are between 982 million and 1.5 billion cows worldwide as opposed to 8 billion humans.
Based on their larger methane gas production, scientists figure cows are guilty for producing greenhouse gas that accounts for 2 percent of climate change.
Of course, humans produce more than an average of a liter a day of methane gas. We are responsible for more methane gas via the treatment of the No. 2 stuff we send to wastewater treatment plants.
Before cities started using methane gas generated at the wastewater treatment plant by combining it with food waste to produce compressed liquid gas to power the municipal solid waste collection tricks, there used to be an “eternal flame.” That eternal flame burned off the methane that is the byproduct of treating human waste and breaking it down and then released into the atmosphere.
Of course, we can blame the cows all we want but the truth is we down a lot of milk, enjoy butter in all sorts of ways, and devour ice cream like it is going out of style. To produce all that it takes a lot of methane gas. That is why the logical end tax is to penalize the source responsible for most of the methane gas produce.
Based on what we consume in terms of annual dairy products and the byproduct of eating other stuff, we are the ultimate culprit.
As such a birth tax would seem justifiable. Or perhaps a 10 percent greenhouse gas tax surcharge on monthly sewer bills.
Of course, we could simply ban cow milk and wipe the planet’s surface of all traces of Bessie et al and add cows next to the dodo bird on the list of extinct species.
Milk substitutes are better, right? One little problem. It takes the generation of greenhouse gases to produce almonds, cashews, oats and soy beans.
That would be especially true if the need was to generate enough of those crops to replace the planet’s milk production.
It would also take a lot more water and fertilizer.
Don’t look now but fertilizer producing is also problematic in the climate change scheme of things.
As for the clear minority of pure vegetarians that act holier than thou when it comes to being green because they eschew dairy products and eggs as well as meat, there’s a bit of bad news.
The researchers who track human methane production say vegetarians pass more gas on average than those that eat meat and meat byproducts. That would seem to justify a higher tax on greenies that are vegetarians should the government decide to impose a greenhouse gas on humans for simply existing.
Yes, this all sounds wacko. But wacky is what government does best.
And when it comes to talking green tax penalties emulating the robbing Peter to pay Paul model, California greenies outdo themselves.
One of the best examples is the $39.30 credit you’ll be seeing on your October PG&E bill. It’s your “cut” of the California Climate Credit.
The California Climate Credit is one of many programs developed as part of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. It requires power plants, natural gas providers, and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy carbon pollution permits.
The premise is simple: Polluting is bad. Oil refineries and such have to pollute to refine gas or generate electricity. The state demands they pay what is basically a sin tax nicely described as purchasing carbon pollution permits.
The state likes to brag that the credit you’ll receive on your PG&E when it arrives in the mail next month is your share of the program. Any wild guess about where all of that money comes from? You guessed it. You pay for it with every kilowatt of electricity you use, every thermal unit of natural gas you use to warm your house, and every gallon of gas you pump.
There is no Green Fairy out there magically creating the money for PG&E, Chevron, and other firms that have to pollute to produce the things we need to survive as a civilized society to pay for the carbon pollution permits.
That means the $39.30 credit you will get next month is a refund of much more money the state-ordered polluters to pay that is passed on to consumers in the price of goods.
The rest of the money you pay via the hidden greenhouse gas tax in products helps fund effective greenhouse gas fighting ventures such as the California High-Speed Rail train. You know the one. It is the $113 billion project that has redefined the concept of price overruns four times over and counting that is supposedly is going to help save the planet that will be completed about the time Los Angeles is under feet feet of water.
And let’s not forget the money skimming that reaches directly into consumer pockets to fund the greenhouse gas tax is designed so the state bureaucracy gets their cut.
Laugh all you want about the concept of taxing cow burps but the odds greenies guiding government climate polices will eventually be moo-ving right along to address greenhouse gases by taxing humans into oblivion.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Courier or 209 Multimedia.