Times Says: We Must Pay More for Fossil Fuels

The New York Times published an editorial today about "an unpleasant and inescapable truth: any serious effort to fight [global] warming will require everyone to pay more for energy."

The piece then goes on to dismiss carbon taxes as politically unfeasible, and discusses the merits of cap-and-trade systems, emphasizing that in order to work, they will have to cause financial pain:

Because a trading system would not impose new taxes, some in Congress might try to portray it as a free ride. But it would work the same way higher taxes would work — by raising the cost of fossil fuels. The higher prices would encourage efficiency and spur investment in a range of clean-energy technologies, without which major reductions would be almost impossible to achieve.

As the year rolls on, Congress will entertain several cap-and-trade bills: some more aggressive and costly, others offering various escape mechanisms should prices get too high. But one fundamental point must be kept in mind. We are now using the atmosphere as a free dumping ground for carbon emissions. Unless we — industry and consumers — are made to pay a significant price for doing so, we will never get anywhere.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Joe Lieberman: Did Someone Say “High Gas Prices”?

|
How obsessed is Washington with gas prices? Acting on a Streetsblog post from last week, a reader wrote Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman urging him to support legislation that would bolster funding for Amtrak. In response, Lieberman’s office sent a long, long form letter outlining the many ways the senator is — you guessed it — […]

Climate Idealism Can’t Hold a Candle to Collective Action

|
Cross-posted from the Carbon Tax Center. Why do Copenhageners ride bicycles? The key reason, says Yale economist and bestselling author Robert J. Shiller, is that Danes are idealists who resolved, after the oil crisis of the 1970s, “to make a personal commitment to ride bicycles rather than drive, out of moral principle, even if that […]

Shoup to O’Toole: The Market for Parking Is Anything But Free

|
We’re reprinting this reply [PDF] from UCLA professor Donald Shoup, author of the High Cost of Free Parking, to Randal O’Toole, the libertarian Cato Institute senior fellow who refuses to acknowledge the role of massive government intervention in the market for parking, and the effect this has had on America’s car dependence. It’s an excellent […]