Sunday, June 26, 2016

What We’re Getting Wrong in the Carbon Tax Debate

What We’re Getting Wrong in the Carbon Tax Debate
Grist, 29 April 2016, by Clayton Aldern

This article speaks against recent “green infighting” in which major players and pundits, such as Paul Krugman, Bill Gates, and David Roberts [see below], have emphasized the downsides of a carbon tax.  This, Aldern argues, risks making the perfect the enemy of the good (as the saying goes), by failing to acknowledge both the power and the importance of carbon pricing.  Furthermore, it unwisely gives ammunition to climate denialists who oppose action of any kind on climate change.  The “infighters” argue that a carbon tax will be less effective than some expect, for both economic and political reasons, and that other policy action would therefore be needed even if a carbon tax were instituted.  Alpern concedes this point (perhaps too easily), but argues that a revenue-neutral carbon price is a climate change policy that both the left and the right could agree upon – unlike cap-and-trade, and unlike most subsidies and regulations – and that it is therefore unwise to undermine it with quibbles and nitpicks.

My take: I think Aldern is precisely right.  The bipartisan appeal of fee-and-dividend makes it our most viable policy option, and while fee-and-dividend is not a panacea, it is foolish and counterproductive for those who advocate action of climate change to undermine it.

No comments:

Post a Comment