Three Must Reads on Energy and Climate

1. Al Gore’s terrific speech at New York University on what this country must do now to avert catastrophic global warming. Gore offers the key starting point that has so far eluded our President and the conservative Congress: “We should start by immediately freezing CO2 emissions and then beginning sharp reductions.”

2. A new report, “American Energy: The Renewable Path to Energy Security,” by the Center for American Progress and the Worldwatch Institute. The authors notes, “If the U.S. is to join the world leaders in renewable energy — among them Germany, Spain, and Japan — it will need world-class energy policies based on a sustained and consistent policy framework at the local, state, and national levels.”

3. An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, “Evaluating the Role of Prices and R&D in Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions,” that concludes “Relying exclusively on R&D funding in the near term… does not appear likely to be consistent with the goal of balancing costs and maximizing benefits or the goal of minimizing the costs of meeting an emissions reduction target.”

What an amazing world we live in that you actually need a CBO report to make the case that the only plausible climate strategy for the country must include both R&D and a carbon price.

    One Response to Three Must Reads on Energy and Climate

    1. Albert says:

      Am I more radical than Al Gore?

      First a note on Al’s (may I call him Al?) proposal to replace payroll taxes with carbon taxes – it would be hard to make it revenue neutral because you cannot project how strongly the economy will react to the change, so it is hard to set the carbon tax levels in such a way that they will equal the revenue lost.

      Here are my first thoughts on a counter proposal to Gore’s plan:

      Cap carbon emissions and institute a carbon tax. When the coal power companies protest and shut down their plants (trying to get the people against reform by holding them hostage to blackouts – this would be the dangerous period in the plan) appropriate them using eminent domain laws (or whatever other laws may apply), paying them as little as possible because the plants are no longer profitable. Then either nationalize them or hand them over to non-profits, either way with mandates for all revenue to go into reducing carbon emissions from the plants in the near term and replacing them with carbon neutral renewables in the long term – and exempt them from the carbon tax so they can out-compete the remaining plants so they will become unprofitable and be appropriated as well. How do the oil companies work into this?

      Tax oil and coal industries on profits already made from damaging the environment?