This is part 2 of a 3 part series. Please read part 1 here.

Take for example the apocalypse to end all apocalypses (literally, in that if the more radical projections are to be believed it is already too late to stave off Armageddon): climate change.

From the outset, it should be noted that to believe that climate change is not an immediate catastrophe in the making, in need of immediate and drastic action on the part of the world community, is not to deny its scientific foundations nor the necessity of evolving in how we produce and consume energy as a species. Human-caused climate change is real, but as to the severity of the effect and the long-term consequences of current trends there is anything but consensus.

And in that vein, (typically) left-leaning Americans,who in their words sound the alarm and militate for immediate and severe cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, do not act as though climate change will actually cause the death of millions or fundamentally and in the very near-term transform life on Earth. Ask a proponent of the carbon tax whether they would make a dollar-for-dollar trade with the income tax, such that a carbon tax replaced the income tax in a revenue neutral manner, and you will almost certainly be laughed out of the debate. Yet, if the effects of catastrophic climate change are just around the corner, is it not worthwhile to trade whatever mitigation of inequality and perpetuation of Rawlsian justice was effectuated by the income tax for a policy that will literally save the world?