A fine summary from Tina Rosenberg the New York Times, illustrating growing support for a carbon tax from oil executives (including the new CEO of Exxon after Rex Tillerson’s departure), as well as other conservatives.
Environmentalists have long pointed out the “market failure” or distortion created by all of us being able to dump, free of charge, our pollution into the atmosphere – in effect, we do not have a free market in the energy sector as long as there is no cost to the “dumper.” Today, pollution costs falls on the general public in a broad sense, and rarely are paid by the company causing the pollution.
This is a distortion, or even a longstanding hidden-subsidy for polluters.
But it now appears recent political changes in Washington, plus three record-breaking hot years in a row, have triggered common cause between free-market advocates and environmentalists: Conservative elder statesmen like Henry Poulson, James Baker III and George Schultz are leading a fresh conversation to add this to our civic discourse.
Oil executives agree for the reasons noted in Rosenberg’s piece…
In effect, these various groups are all saying that free market principles will work well to control pollution if, IF, we finally price “harm” correctly – and stop ignoring harm from our economy.
(Basically, this suggests a cost accounting question: We’ve long used flawed and incorrect Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), so why don’t we fix them? As a retired cost accounting manager, I find this argument compelling.)
Doing so would incentivize the free market to use resources wisely, by improving efficiency in thousands of micro-economic ways. I am gratified to see something growing numbers of conservatives agreeing with environmentalists in this civic conversation.
Add your voice, as well?
(Photo credit: Gerald Herbert, Associated Press)
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Not sure where to start saving the planet (civilization, really)? Our Thesis Statement is: “Start by deeply knowing your personal Superpowers: ”
3) Use Your Voice and take advocacy seriously! Never miss a chance to vote, and never ever stop influencing your government and all businesses locally, at the state level, and at the national level. It’s on you to lead the way with global warming solutions, (especially the high-payoff proposal of fully-refundable carbon tax).
And in all cases and at all times, cast aside the learned-helplessness that infects so much of modern life… the time is now for climate change solutions.
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