Added fuel or carbon taxes could actually free us. The Danes have lived—thrived—with a carbon tax for decades. They traded higher prices at the pump for freedom and for a real environmental revolution that shifted and strengthened their economy and infra structure in about a generation—a pittance of time when you think about it.
In the 1970s, they (like most of the western world) were caught off guard when fuel prices soared. At that time, they relied on oil for over 90% of their energy usage; now their reliance on oil has fallen to 36% (in 2012), their total energy usage has fallen, and hydropower, wind, and other renewables are replacing oil and coal. All of this was accomplished with an economy that has grown 78% since 1980 with a carbon fuel tax.
But part of Denmark’s genius is that they give the tax monies back to industry and households for green innovation and infrastructure. The higher price at the pump encourages a reduction in carbon use, while the money collected for carbon use is reinvested in producing greater efficiencies at the workplace and at home. This structure also allows for more stability in fuel prices week to week. Denmark currently plans to become fully independent of fossil fuels by 2050.
If they can do it, WE can do it!