David Frum, the speechwriter and conservative pundit behind Bush's "axis of evil" line, has officially endorsed Al Gore's latest policy proposal: a tax on carbon. What's even stranger is that Frum endorses this policy without believing in global warming:
You don't have to believe that global warming is a problem to believe that a carbon tax may be the solution.
A carbon tax is a tax on all activities that emit carbon dioxide, principally the burning of fossil fuels -- not just gasoline, but also natural gas, jet fuel, propane and coal.
Think of it as an energy tax with an inbuilt subsidy for renewable energy and nuclear power, our current best hopes for moving to a post-petroleum economy.
Environmentalists like the carbon tax because they blame rising carbon dioxide levels for the increase in average temperatures that has been observed in the northern hemisphere since 1970.
Now, we don't in fact know that recent warming represents anything more than a normal fluctuation in global climate.
We certainly do not know that the dangers and costs of any warming would be greater than the benefits.
So why a carbon tax? When I was at law school, cynical students used to joke that the best answer to any exam question about a judicial opinion was: "Right result; wrong reason."
And that is what the environmentalists have reached with the carbon tax.