The Energy-Only Mirage

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My colleague Dan Weiss did an excellent column yesterday on the false promise of an “energy only” bill as an alternative to carbon pricing. The crux of the matter is that doing anything that actually makes a difference entails some financial costs. So you need some kind of source of revenue. And no source of revenue is politically popular or easy, so the mere fact that obtaining revenue through carbon pricing isn’t politically easy doesn’t cut one way or the other.

There’s just no way around the fact that the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is going to be a policy centered on making polluters pay money. Lots of politicians don’t want to hear that. But it is what it is. They need to decide whether they’re bad people who want to do the wrong thing, or good people who want to do the right thing. Most of them seem to think of themselves as good people who want to do the right thing, but the right thing isn’t something they want to do. So they’re trying to pretend there’s some other way. But there isn’t.