Charles Komanoff: Getting the Price Right: The Case for Carbon Taxation

Charging American businesses and individuals a price to emit carbon dioxide (CO2) is essential to reduce U.S. emissions quickly enough to prevent atmospheric concentrations of CO2 from reaching an irreversible tipping point. It’s a bedrock economic principle that prices of goods and services should reflect ("internalize" as the economists say) all of the societal costs (such as pollution) that production of the goods or services imposes on society. Yet the prices of gasoline, electricity and fuels in general don’t include many of these societal costs, particularly their impact on global warming.

In this lecture, Charles Komanoff will argue that the rapid transformation we need from a fossil fuels-based energy system to reliance on energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable fuels simply won’t happen without carbon taxes sending accurate price signals.