Carbon Tax

Clean Free Market Policy Beats a Carbon Tax. Here's Why.

Clean technologies can compete (and win) if barriers to participation are removed.

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Roughly half of the Democratic presidential candidates believe a carbon tax "is the most straight-forward and efficient strategy for quickly reducing greenhouse gas emissions," in the words of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.). They claim a carbon tax will, as Sanders put it, "help give energy efficiency and renewable energy the level playing field they deserve, making these technologies even more affordable." 

This claim deserves scrutiny. First of all, the notion that a carbon tax will make renewable energy cheaper or more affordable is simply false. Instead, it will make fossil fuels more expensive, setting a higher benchmark price for renewable competitors, sending a weak signal to shift capital toward clean energy.

The second and more crucial issue is that a carbon tax does nothing to address the true culprits slowing deployment of clean energy solutions: the real-world monopoly barriers and technological constraints.

Carbon tax advocates believe fossil fuel penalties will force a shift to clean energy, but that shift is sometimes blocked by closed markets in which arcane rules protect incumbent monopolies. It's also sometimes blocked by the limitations of geography—solar energy thrives in Chile, for example, but it will be more expensive for fewer hours a day in Canada

Nor would a carbon tax make it easier for entrepreneurs to start auto companies, get vehicles through safety testing, or navigate complex Environmental Protection Agency rules on fuel diversity—the kinds of innovations that are crucial to confronting climate change. 

Given these real world constraints, to trigger a rapid shift from high to low carbon energy, we'd need a very high carbon price—one that would make energy prohibitively expensive, imposing crippling costs on both consumers and businesses. Fear of such high costs sparks opposition. Gridlock has made a carbon tax federally dead on arrival, and thus completely ineffective as a policy proposal.

There's a third problem, too: All of this is outdated and off-target. Clean energy technologies are now less expensive than fossil fuels. Price is no longer the critical barrier. Technology limitations and politically-imposed market barriers are what's slowing deployment.

Fortunately, new and better policy tools are at hand.

If clean technologies can now compete and win, then we need to open closed markets by removing barriers to participation. 

That's the core proposal of clean free market policy. Several free market think tanks (including the Reason Foundation, the nonprofit which publishes Reason) have distilled this insight into The Declaration on Energy Choice & Competition, which calls on government leaders to protect everyone's right to produce, buy, or trade the clean, reliable energy of their choice, and remove barriers to energy competition. The Declaration will be presented December 12 at the Climate & Freedom Colloquium, a side event at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, with hopes of reminding delegates that competitive power markets deliver more low- and zero-emission energy faster and cheaper than uncompetitive markets. 

That might even be an understatement. Worldwide, expensive, monopolistic utilities fail to deliver reliable, affordable energy. Globally, 2.5 billion people must cook, heat, and light their homes by burning dung, coal, and garbage. In too many nations, because there's no reliable power, there's no hope for development. Competition offers a solution to these issues and all the ills that follow. 

But more barriers loom beyond bureaucracy and monopoly privilege. Investment taxes present politically imposed barriers to capital and offer a new policy lever we can now pull. In order to directly target technology constraints and accelerate capital flows to clean innovations, clean free market policy pioneers propose tech- and pollutant-neutral Clean Tax Cuts (CTCs), which lower marginal tax rates on investments that significantly reduce or eliminate pollution.

Just like other investment tax rate cuts widely preferred by free market economists, CTCs reduce the investment disincentive distortion—but more so, by also reducing economic distortions caused by negative externalities. Unlike conventional subsidies, CTCs don't rob Peter to pay unprofitable Paul. CTCs expand freedom for Paul to deploy more of his own hard-earned profits. And unlike investment tax credits, CTCs don't constrict the market to a narrow niche of tax credit investors with huge incomes to shelter.

One kind of CTC expands investment opportunity to every class of investor. Tax-exempt private Clean Asset Bonds & Loans (CABLs) apply a supply-side tax cut directly to financial leverage. They would allow projects deploying qualifying pollution-reducing technologies to acquire tax-free debt. Tax-free interest would reduce the interest rate by about 30 percent.

CABLs also leverage up return on equity. They attract every kind of investor to both the tax-exempt debt and the taxable equity. Easier to use and more broadly attractive than tax equity, CABLs allow low cost innovators to expand faster. Far more cost effective than conventional subsidies, they give up tax revenue where it is low (the average return on debt in the U.S. is 4 percent) and harvest it where it is high (the average return on equity is 13.6 percent). If we assume those returns for a new business financed with 50 percent CABLs, 50 percent taxable equity, then the IRS would take in 340 percent more tax revenue on equity profits than they forgo on the tax-exempt debt.

Unlike conventional subsidies, CTCs (including CABLs) create incentives for competition, innovation, and popular participation. They give an advantage to competitive markets, increase the incentives to open markets, and let investment flow from all kinds of investors, large and small. 

Combined with clean free market policies, CTCs would beat a carbon tax. They correctly target key barriers to competition and innovation, and do so with no new taxes, direct government spending, or coercive regulation.

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  1. Has Reason gone full Green? Wind and solar cheaper than fossil fuel? I don’t think so – check out Germany, for instance….

    1. Expensive AND unreliable.

      1. Expensive, unreliable, more intrusive, AND more nepotistic.

        In IL, Exelon manages the nuclear power. They’re requesting the state fix nuclear prices so that they can afford to keep two plants operating to EOL. Of course, as an end around, a solar company, Sun Run is signing people up for solar panels to avert the coming electricity price hikes. Your bills drop and you don’t pay any maintenance. However, the panels, the roof they cover, and the extra electricity they generate all belong to Sun Run, of which Exelon is a shareholder. Also, no batteries included.

        Leaders who don’t know whether they’re coming or going with regard to carbon and energy are being played off each other by energy companies. TANSTAAFL

        1. They’re requesting the state fix nuclear prices so that they can afford to keep two plants operating to EOL.

          Being clear, by ‘fix’ I mean they want their licenses extended at a lower cost and/or they want the carbon-free nuclear power to be subsidized as being carbon-free too.

        2. Since Petr Beckmann published “The Health Hazards of NOT Going Nuclear” the power monopolies have struggled to conceal the fact that non-nuclear generation and power cutback BOTH constitute health hazards because they increase the death rate just as blackouts cause economic and financial losses. The utilities have a gentleman’s agreement to not rock the boat, and for monopolies with no competitors, that settles the matter. Beckmann served on the Reason board during the Cold War and is one of the scientists mentioned in “The Passion of Ayn Rand.”

    2. wonder why they leave out the price of storage?

      1. Storage has become a bit of a bogus scapegoat. Trotted out there in order to hint that solar/wind production is erratic when it is often the USAGE that is erratic. Solar/wind is used as the marginal source of supply because of its strengths not its weaknesses. Unlike nuclear which takes a few months to ramp back up, if you take wind/solar offline, you can bring it back online immediately. Unlike the fossil-based (coal/oil/gas), if you take wind/solar offline you don’t create a fuel/supply logistics problem.

        So wind/solar are turned into the last-on first-off source of supply. But that is NOT a cost of wind/solar supply. It is a cost of variable DEMAND for energy. SOMETHING is going to be the last-on and first-off source of supply if the grid views the demand as uncontrollable and also variable. But that is not a cost that you foist on one of those sources merely because you want to.

        Wind/solar production is certainly seasonal and often predictably variable – and it is not ‘dispatchable’. But that just means it needs to be managed differently and a management challenge for an entire grid is general overhead.


        1. Trotted out there in order to hint that solar/wind production is erratic when it is often the USAGE that is erratic.

          Umm…in the case of wind it’s highly erratic outside the coast and in the case of the sun you might simply note night exists.

        2. Wind and solar production are subject to the whims of nature. Energy consumption happens in spite of nature. If it’s dark out, you turn on the light. If it’s cold, you turn on the heat. If it’s hot, you turn on the A/C. Energy consumption is quite predictable. Energy production from wind and solar is quite unpredictable. Natural gas is the most flexible source of energy and is as close as instant on as can be on a consistent scale.

        3. Trotted out there in order to hint that solar/wind production is erratic when it is often the USAGE that is erratic.

          When you attempt to dispel a scapegoat and wind up reminding everyone that, economically, it’s not just one scapegoat but two.

          Not only is supply erratic but demand is as well. Our current grid manages to match supply to demand pretty efficiently and it’s pretty clear that solar/wind can’t.

    3. Clean energy technologies are now less expensive than fossil fuels.

      Sorry, but putting in a small percent of solar might be favorable because there is a ready backup system for night time and cloudy days. But going full on solar or wind would mean frequent unplanned blackouts,

      1. Actually, planned blackouts. All good citizens will be in bed when the sun goes down. Violators will be sent to the energy farm.

        1. And don’t forget that during natural disasters that knock out the power you will be expected to die for the good of everyone else. You won’t be charging your Tesla off your solar panels for an escape, you will burn to death in California.

    4. It depends on the market, but in many it is. Just look at East Texas. The marginal cost to produce an electron with wind/solar is zero, which can’t be said for fossil fuels. Deregulated markets support cheap clean energy unlike the regulated utilities where the cost is always incremental.

      1. That explains why every house Chip and Joanna redo has the obligatory “Texas solar roof”. Cheaper than shingles and saves on your power bill. Oh, wait. Not cheaper, very long ROI.

        And what a canard to say it’s cost effective but there are technology limitations. So, in other words, not cost effective.

    5. They’re not even close. Solar and wind are several times the cost per kilowatt hour? Only progtards assert otherwise.

  2. Price is no longer the critical barrier. Technology limitations and politically-imposed market barriers are what’s slowing deployment.

    Reason going full 2+2 = 5 on the economics. Each solar panel operates at a loss but the retards at Reason will make it up on volume!

    1. And not even at a citation or technical level. They didn’t just forget to carry a 1 or cite a $0.01 +/- $0.05 difference, flat out “Stand back while we science economics the shit out of this!”.

    2. I suppose it is possible that under optimum conditions a solar/wind watt hour or joule could be cheaper than the equivalent amount of gasoline or natural gas. The inconvenient truth is that the low cost claims are at the production site, not at the customer. We already have an amazing (and expensive) distribution system for fossil fuels, paid for by the users. I can fire up my stove and heat 24/7, and I can drive my car, which stores a significant amount of energy, any time day or night. The all-in price to achieve the same delivery from solar and wind will cost billions to trillions, and THAT is not cheaper than what we have.

      Also, that nightly dark thing.

      1. One might also wonder what they plan on doing with old panels or where they intend on strip mining the resources necessary to build them at all.

      2. “The inconvenient truth is that the low cost claims are at the production site, not at the customer.”

        They are also ignoring capital/plant costs. Which for wind and solar are higher than even nuclear on a per unit of capacity basis.

  3. How DARE you suggest that the elite are not choosing the best path for our futures?!!
    If all the dems say carbon is bad on it’s face, who are you to argue?
    You gonna let a few inconvenient truths get in the way of world domination?

    1. If carbon were that bad, then we’d be building nuke plants around the country, not choo choos in urban areas.

  4. Heh, doing nothing beats a carbon tax. Oh, you think all that money will be put into “green” energy? Bwahahaha so naive.

    1. Because the market won’t respond to people demanding lower carbon footprint products? Why? Evuulll?

  5. I seem to recall the supposedly “levelized cost” relied on here was found to be highly unrealistic.

    Ah, yes. Here it is.

    “Lazard mentions several factors that are not included in their cost analysis for wind power, including:

    Network upgrades, transmission additions, and congestion costs. These costs would all increase with wind and solar energy sources and the numbers are enormous. In fact, Minnesota has spent nearly $4 billion on transmission lines needed for wind power, alone.
    The capacity value of generation sources. Energy Information Administration defines capacity value as “the contribution of a power plant to reliably meet demand.” Wind energy sits below 20 percent.
    Stranded costs that ratepayers must still pay for. This includes capital costs on retired coal plants, which states are increasingly doing to make-way for renewables.
    Other “integrated-related costs,” such as load-balancing, necessary back-up sources, and other ancillary costs.

    In other words, the Lazard study shows you what it would take for wind turbines to be built without actually being able to provide power to consumers.”

    In short, “clean energy technologies” are only cost-effective if you ignore a lot of the costs.

  6. Taxes are inefficient.

  7. Clean technologies can compete (and win) if barriers to participation are removed.

    Probably not, which is why they keep losing which is why they keep getting subsidized.

    1. Subsidies are barriers? Who knew?

  8. I’ll get on the clean-energy bandwagon as soon as windmills stop killing so many birds, bats, and insects… And nuclear energy is included in “clean” energy!

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/01/17/if-progressive-democrats-care-so-much-about-the-climate-why-are-they-trying-to-kill-nuclear-power/#3e22e5a0588d If Progressive Democrats Care So Much About The Climate, Why Are They Trying to Kill Nuclear Power?

    Has good facts about low-low risks and deaths from nuclear power…

    1. Hi all: You do realize that clean energy in this proposal includes nuclear power, don’t you?

      1. That must be why the article doesn’t mention nuclear even once, and the graphic is solar panels and windmills. Because nuclear is such an important component and you really want to draw attention to it?

        1. Also, if I’m fundamentally opposed to the government picking winners and losers, my preferred choice being among the winners the government doesn’t and shouldn’t change my opinion. Choosing a winner, any winner, from a playing field that’s not level doesn’t fix the playing field.

  9. Investment taxes present politically imposed barriers to capital and offer a new policy lever we can now pull. In order to directly target technology constraints and accelerate capital flows to clean innovations, clean free market policy pioneers propose tech- and pollutant-neutral Clean Tax Cuts (CTCs), which lower marginal tax rates on investments that significantly reduce or eliminate pollution.

    Giving preferential treatment to one energy sector over another is a subsidy. How can anyone be so stupid or dishonest to claim otherwise? If you want to tax investment income, fine. But, the moment you start saying “if you make the investment the government likes you pay less in taxes” you are effectively subsidizing that industry and picking winners and losers.

    Beyond all that, how about we stop calling sources of energy that kill birds by the millions, create enormous streams of toxic waste and fill the landfills with used equipment “clean”? That might be a good start. No form of energy is “clean”. It all requires resources to produce and all produce some form of pollution.

    1. “investments that significantly reduce or eliminate pollution.”

      Energy sources that eliminate pollution? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  10. >>>This claim deserves scrutiny.

    this claim deserves mockery and disdain and maybe feathers and tar

  11. I’m in california where they turn of the power from the wind mills when its windy and even if you have a solar roof by legal aggrement between the state and energy suppliers it also goes off when the energy company decides to have a black out for fear of to much energy

    1. Your solar goes off if there’s a network outage because otherwise you can be dumping power into lines that are supposedly dead, causing a hazard for maintenance workers trying to restore power.

      But if you want your solar to stay on during an outage, it’s easy. Just get a smart inverter, which will detect the network outage and stop outputting power to the network.

      1. Just get a smart inverter, which will detect the network outage and stop outputting power to the network.

        Depending on the municipality and energy suppliers, this is a breach of contract and you’re liable for any damages or worse.

        1. as mad stated and as I state did is a law in kalifornia. you can’t even build off the grid without proof of hardship and the cost better be huge for that exemption.and to your point of inverter you also need a bank of batteries which is expensive

          1. Escher, you always have been full of shit.

        2. It’s possible you’re right, but California has actually been requiring smart inverters for new solar projects for a few years.

          That said, the shut-off requirement is based around preventing damage. So if you violate that requirement and cause damage, I’m not sure liability is unreasonable.

          1. So, just install a widget that you’ll then be prosecuted for installing if or when it causes damage to infrastructure that was paid for via your tax dollars. Specifically, infrastructure that isn’t good enough to provide consistent power to you specifically in that scenario.

            So, shorter version, you are expected to install supplementary equipment to make the infrastructure you already paid for solvent, but you will be prosecuted if you do it in such a way to be viable for your own needs.

            This seems accurate for California.

  12. Never met a government that didn’t like to tax everything under the sun. Carbon taxes are nothing more than an attempt to pay for the pensions that do not have enough money, somewhat due to interest rates being so low for so long. That and also controlling man so that he may be returned to the stone age. Hopefully, they bring back the dinosaurs too.

    1. Sorry, no dinosaurs. You think this is all fun and games? The best you can hope for is a negotiation between paleolithic and neolithic. Hold out for the latter.

  13. You talk about people burning coal, dung, and garbage, but present a solution for the American market by having tax cuts for preferred types of generation. That is known as a bait and switch.

    If you want to talk about replacing dung fires and raising the poorest of the poor from poverty by forcing them onto unreliable solar and wind systems, I would suggest reading Scientific American’s “Coal Trumps Solar in India”. The most quotable line is “We want real electricity, not fake electricity!”

  14. The entire idea of man-made climate change is a fraud. Even were it not, shifting to solar and wind power would not help, it would simply shift where the pollution takes place. The idea of storage batteries large enough to be a practical solution is an opium dream. Absent a huge shift in underlying scientific theory (possible, but unlikely, and impossible to predict) it simply will not happen.

    Finally (and I have been asking about this since the 1970’s, and have yet to receive a satisfactory answer) what happens if we use solar panels and wind turbines to remove vast quantities of energy from the environment? Is anybody even ASKING (other than me)? It won’t be free. It is already doing something, and when removed won’t be doing that any more.

    The ‘Crisis’ the Greens flog is nonsense, the solutions they propose are hogwash, and the fallout of their plans is too disastrous to tolerate.

  15. Is anybody even ASKING (other than me)?

    I’ve wondered about that myself. Haven’t asked any questions and certainly haven’t seen the issue addressed. Seems like a reasonable concern.

    1. He’s not the only one asking, it’s just that the people pushing the agenda don’t like the answers and so they don’t repeat them. Especially to people like him.

      1. So you’re telling me conservation of energy is a thing? When the fuck did they start doing this?!

      2. There’s a lot of assumed certainty in that article from a scientific community that has utterly failed to get any of its predictions right.

        1. There’s a lot of assumed certainty in that article from a scientific community that has utterly failed to get any of its predictions right.

          I wonder how much of it is a sort of crypto-environmentalism. Saying “It’s all bunk and the windmill efficiency models are shit.” won’t get you published and won’t get your message out. Saying, “Global warming is a problem or whatever, the windmill efficiency models need heavy tweaking and might not work.” will get you published and while it’s not a sledgehammer to the narrative, does chip away at it slightly. Certainly not the ideal way to publish science but we wouldn’t be having the discussion otherwise.

  16. Why the false alternative? Why not both free up “clean” energy and a revenue neutral tax on net emissions of CO2? And freeing up “clean” energy (including nuclear which was not mentioned) is enough to do the job, then the calculated tax rate will go to zero just as if some new technological breakthrough drove fossil fuel combustion and CO2 capture and sequestration out of business.

    And if allowing companies to borrow tax free is such a good idea, why restrict it to “clean:energy production?

  17. So they’re saying that a proper free market solution involves government dumping trillions of tax dollars and massive government political machinery into manipulating the market?

    1. Welcome to Reason “libertarianism”

    2. Exactly. “In order to have freer markets, we need more government interference”

  18. There’s a third problem, too: All of this is outdated and off-target. Clean energy technologies are now less expensive than fossil fuels.

    Not even close. First of all, solar and wind are not “clean” for the simple reason that manufacturing the necessary components itself is dirty; at best, you might call them “less polluting”. Second, they are not dispatchable, nor do they work 24/7, which means that the only way they can operate right now is by piggy-backing on a massive fossil fuel grid. That is, you may be able to get 10-20% of energy from solar and wind eventually, but the rest has to come from a mix of fossil fuels, hydro, and nuclear.

    1. “the only way they can operate right now is by piggy-backing on a massive fossil fuel grid”

      This is not true. Solar and wind can be used without connecting to a grid. And the grid is after all a legacy of the 20th century. If we are to take solar and wind seriously the grid will be replaced by something that will let us utilize the sunlight on the far side of the planet while we are plunged in darkness. High voltage DC is the technical term, I believe.

          1. Make an ass of yourself, shitstain. You’ve been doing so a LOOONG time

          2. What? Sir, you are an Edisonion!!!

      1. “This is not true. Solar and wind can be used without connecting to a grid.”

        Of, course they can! Just like light from candles; you just need to be right there!
        Do you post here to prove how fucking stupid you are? If so, you’re doing a good job.

        1. “Just like light from candles; you just need to be right there!”

          I’ve always thought this was the biggest drawback with candles. Needing to be right there.

          1. “I’ve always thought”

            Premise based on facts not in evidence.

      2. If we are to take solar and wind seriously the grid will be replaced by something that will let us utilize the sunlight on the far side of the planet while we are plunged in darkness. High voltage DC is the technical term, I believe.

        Yeah, because running a 12000 mile transmission line from Mongolia to Texas, through Russia, China, and Canada is going to be really easy and efficient.

        You can start off by realizing that about 80-90% of the energy is going to be lost just in transmission even with high voltage DC, plus trying to get the wires across the water, plus trying to get the communist nations in between to cooperate, plus making America’s energy supply entirely dependent on Mongolia, Russia, China, and Canada not cutting it off on a whim.

        How much of a fool can you actually be?

        1. “Yeah, because running a 12000 mile transmission line from Mongolia to Texas, through Russia, China, and Canada is going to be really easy and efficient.”

          It’s not going to be easy or cheap. But if Texans at night want to avail themselves of sunlight falling on Mongolia, I don’t see an alternative.

          And I promise you, it is possible to exploit wind and solar energy without connecting to a grid.

          1. Yeah….. you really know nothing about science.

      3. And the grid is after all a legacy of the 20th century.

        And the wheel is a legacy of the minus 150th century. Throw them out?

        1. “And the wheel is a legacy of the minus 150th century. Throw them out?”

          Watches used to be powered with wheels and springs. Until something else came along. We mustn’t fall victim to the temptation of clinging to the old and familiar while better alternatives await.

      4. “High voltage DC is the technical term, I believe.”

        You believe wrong…

        The *primary* reason that we use AC instead of DC is the ability for AC to transmit more efficiently over very long distances.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_currents

        1. Have you checked out the wikipedia article on high voltage direct current? It’ll blow your mind.

    2. First of all, solar and wind are not “clean” for the simple reason that manufacturing the necessary components itself is dirty; at best, you might call them “less polluting”.

      Good point and, as can be seen with nuclear, there is a significant bending and shifting of goalposts going on whereby carbon is a pollutant, unless the source is nuclear, then radiation and proliferation count and the fact that it produces no CO2 is immaterial.

  19. This article is horseshit from beginning to end.

  20. Temperatures recorded by thermometers for the past 119 years resolve into a decreasing trendline, despite the high temperatures of the 1930s. All claims that temperatures are increasing are based on faked, varnished, altered data doctored to support subsidized scientist impersonators eager to lend weight to Soviet predictions for the year 2017. (https://tinyurl.com/ycpxm9cb) The original data and software for downloading and graphing it are at realclimatescience.com courtesy of Tony Heller.

  21. SO how come these guys dont talk about all the subsidies to the fossil fuel industries? Can we kill those now??

    1. ^^ There AREN’T ANY “fossil fuel subsidies” as well founded in another thread.

      ECO-SCAM SCUM publish articles about “fossil fuel” subsidies on the basis that they can write-off deductibles on their tax forms JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE…. It’s deceptive B.S. propaganda.

      Their so addicted to their own B.S. they actually introduced legislation called “End subsidies” that basically stated all IRS exemptions and deductibles used by everyone would be denied ONLY to the fossil fuel industry.

      1. “would be denied ONLY to the fossil fuel industry”

        Time for all those corporate lawyers to put down their golf clubs and do some work.

        1. You might try growing a brain cell rather than posting bullshit, but I know that’s asking a lot.
          Fuck off, asshole.

            1. Is that supposed to suggest that you are other than a fucking ignoramus, mouse shit?

              1. That’s Premier Mousie Dung to you!

              2. No. But you’re free to take it as you wish!

                1. Trueman, you have done nothing but show complete ignorance of the subject matter and offered absurd ideas. The totality of your comments has only resulted in your own buffoonery.

    2. Spookk
      December.2.2019 at 8:06 pm
      “SO how come these guys dont talk about all the subsidies to the fossil fuel industries? Can we kill those now??”

      So, fucking watermelon, how about a cite to these subsidies?
      BTW, don’t waste you time. You quote that from some dim-bulb greenie site and it wasn’t true then and you’re entirely too stupid to doe the research and find it isn’t true now.
      Please, put your head in a PLASTIC bag and breathe deeply; make the world a better and smarter place.

      1. The subsidies are all those multimillion dollar payments to the government for drilling leases that the oil companies cough up. And the taxes on gasoline we all pay (larger than the profit to the oil companies, btw). Those subsidies.

        1. The US navy (an outfit funded solely by the public) protects shipping routes of the oil companies. I just read Moby Dick, and was surprised to see the whalers provided their own security. The US navy played no part in the whaling business.

    3. Hi all: You do realize that clean energy in this proposal includes nuclear power, don’t you?

      1. You do realize that nuclear is more expensive than CCGT, don’t you?

        As you’re from the technocrat wing of the progressive wokatarians in charge of Reason now, I understand why you have no problem with subsidies through the tax code for favored projects. Just be honest about it.

  22. Well one thing is certain.

    Republicans have been so steeped in denial for so long that the US is now the last place on Earth where a free market for clean energy can work. That is a good enough reason to oppose proposals for same cuz if it can’t work here anymore then its just gonna be cronyism of some sort which obviously can work here.

    Drill baby drill USAUSAUSA

    1. JFree
      December.2.2019 at 8:54 pm
      “Well one thing is certain.”

      Stupid, JFree, baby, STOOOOPID.

  23. My favorite part is where they tell me that the tax cuts given to one group but not another group don’t create any economic distortions.

    This is a few sentences after they claim it will be a great incentive to redirect capital flow.

    Which one is it????

  24. Let’s get those “barriers” REMOVED!!! Cancel the tax-credit (i.e. subsidies) that covers approximately 70% of ALL the cost for green energy!!!!!

    Pull the plug on all the commercial legislatively FORCED green-energy that has put CA at the highest in the nation at 25-cents per KWH….

    Ya — GET RID of ALL those barriers; Lets SEE them win without their 90% handicap.

  25. Sheesh, I can hardly remember the comment base being near unanimous like this. The sheer double think involved in saying that these large scale government controls are somehow free market have pushed off even most of the supporters

    1. Ben of Houstin – this truly does sort out the true libertarians who believe that Hayek had some valid points when talking about smoke from factories and the need for governments to act and create a framework for markets to function:
      “To create conditions in which competition will be as effective as possible, to supplement it where it cannot be made effective, to provide the services which, in the words of Adam Smith, ‘though they may be in the highest degree advantageous to a great society, are, however, of such a nature, that the profit could never repay the expense to any individual or small number of individuals’, these tasks provide indeed a wide and unquestioned field for state activity. In no system that could be rationally defended would the state just do nothing. An effective competitive system needs an intelligently designed and continuously adjusted legal framework as much as any other.”

  26. So nobody has mentioned that a carbon tax will make virtually everything more expensive. Ask yourself what you use that wasn’t shipped or involved energy use in it’s production. And the so called rebates won’t cover the resulting inflation. The whole point of nitwit greenies like McKibben is to make people poorer so they can’t afford anything that produces co2. Anyone really think when people figure out this bullshit will make their lives much, much worse they will put up with it? Didn’t think so unless you’re Hihntarded.

    1. We are not talking about any policy recommended by McKibben – a bit of baiting by Migrant Log Chipper to bring McKibben’s name into the discussion. Carbon pricing is supported by Greg Mankiw, Ed Lazear, Glenn Hubbard, Martin Feldstein, Alan Greenspan. When you return an equal dividend to all US households, most American’s get back more money than they see in increased costs. People who choose to emit more and have higher emissions are skewed. And it becomes a personal choice issue for individuals.

  27. Aim low.

    A carbon tax doesn’t affect the biggest polluters, the elite who already have far more than they need and won’t suffer at all from the meagre taxes and cost of living increases resulting from additional “carbon taxes”.

    Letting “the market” decide is what has brought us to this point. What market conditions actually raise the environment priority?

    1. “Letting “the market” decide is what has brought us to this point. What market conditions actually raise the environment priority?”

      Environmentalism is a luxury. When enough people in a society are rich enough to demand it, the market responds with efforts to protect the environment.

      See: The environmental state of the former Soviet Republics circa 1993 vs the environmental state of the USA/Canada/Germany

  28. Geez idiotic article.

    I am against a carbon tax . If you feel an industrial emission like CO2 is harmful make your case regarding the harm and then set a limit ,for example, a Carbon Intensity per Kilowatt (CIPK) is a typical measure of power plant CO2 emissions.

    This has been done for other types of emissions for example, Sulfur Dioxide etc.

    These advocates always bait and switch. The world is going to end therefore we must use all renewable power , which then translates to just wind and solar. Two weather driven unreliable sources whom they wish to subsidize and crony up with.

    By far the largest source of CO2 generation is nuclear power. Not mentioned. No mention of hydro power.

    Therefore these folks are completely not serious IF their goal is really to reduce CO2 emissions.

    But what better way to evaluate than to look at actual CO2 emission data.

    Go here
    https://www.electricitymap.org/?page=country&solar=false&remote=true&wind=false

    This provides real time CO2 emission data and guess what? Windmill enthusiasts Germany and Denmark are never the least CO2 emitter in Europe. France is.

    California is never he low CO2 emitter in North America, Ontario is.

    For both France and Ontario the reason is Nuclear.

    1. What makes you think hydro and nuclear are not supported by a price on emissions? A price on carbon lets all sources compete. Price carbon and stop arguing against wind and solar as if they are the only solution – let creative investment and creative individuals advance and bring on-line lower carbon energy sources.

    2. “By far the largest source of CO2 generation is nuclear power. Not mentioned. No mention of hydro power.”

      These sentences make no sense in context of the rest of your post. Do you mean “reduced-CO2 power generation” or some variant?

      1. “By far the largest source of CO2 FREE generation is nuclear power. Not mentioned. No mention of hydro power.”

        Missing a critical word

  29. The authors appear to think that regulatory barriers are the only obstacle. Most economists believe that the free and unlimited disposal of the waste CO2 in the air is also a hindrance to adopting alternate energy sources with lower emissions. If disposal is free and unlimited, that is a large incentive to use it. An incentive all of us and our children and future generations will pay for.
    The authors also appear to believe that the government will be best at sorting out who gets green tax credits – that is not my experience.
    Put a price on carbon and let markets work. Get the government out of deciding who get’s the tax credit, the bureaucratic government will simply reward people who lobby best. And stop free disposal of waste greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere that we all share.

    1. So let me get this straight you want to the government to impose another tax so that they stay out of the market?

      So lets see how that money travels now, from the CO2 emitter to the government oops I though they were not involved?

      So lets see how setting CO2 limits would work. Government sets limits and NO money travels to the government. I prefer the latter

    2. Remove all CO2 from the atmosphere and see what happens. Something has to actually cause harm in order to be considered waste. 400ppm (or 2000ppm) are not waste.

  30. …..And if we were all plants it would be, “emitting too much of that dangerous pure oxygen!!!!”

    Don’t they teach chemistry and botany in school anymore or did they turn those subjects into a communist advertisement too?

  31. I mean, this IS a shill piece. Not sure what people expected from a bunch of green industry CEOs other than propaganda and lies.

  32. The assertion that “clean energy alternatives are less expensive than fossil fuels” is a blatant lie of omission. Every single study making this assertion omits most of the costs of wind/solar. The perceived success of wind/solar is largely a function of cost shifting, low natural gas prices, subsidies, and mandates. The major costs of wind/solar are backup plant capacity (peaker plants) and far flung transmission capacity. These costs are not needed (or much less) in a grid with traditional power plants. Rather than attribute these costs to wind/solar, these costs are instead attributed to the grid. The failure of wind/solar is apparent when looking at energy production curves. The duck shape of these curves indicates that wind/solar hardly deliver when power is desperately needed. Texas with the largest amount of installed wind power among USA states is a prime example of the failure of wind power. The wind hardly blows on hot summer afternoons when demand peaks. Almost all power in Texas is provided by peaker plants on typical hot summer afternoons. The huge investment in wind power ($10B+ for turbines and transmission capacity) is a total bust. As the percentage of wind/solar (variable power) on a grid increases, the problems if wind/solar magnify. A new problem has developed known as negative energy pricing. As the share of wind/solar increase, the amount unusable power also increases more than linearly. Utilities must dump unneeded by paying other utilities to take the excess power. Thus, the vile term “negative energy pricing”. Essentially, negative energy pricing is a fuel charge. Although the wind and sun do not have meters, excess power must be consumed. Wind/solar can never (except perhaps at very high costs) dominate a grid.

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