Wednesday, April 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Carbon tax makes business sense

In her recent op-ed piece in this newspaper (“Stop Oil Trains with Carbon Fees”), Elisabeth Robbins made the telling point that “98 percent of economists across the political spectrum support a carbon tax …”

A quick search of the Internet shows that leading economists, as well as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, have concluded that a carbon tax will be far more effective than other options in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and avoiding harm to the U.S. economy due to climate-related events.

For example, Greg Mankiw, economic advisor to George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, has said “a proposed carbon fee — or carbon tax, if you prefer — is more effective and less invasive than the regulatory approach that the federal government has traditionally pursued.”

And according to George Shultz, former secretary of state: “We have to have a system where all forms of energy bear their full costs … and to me the most appealing way is a revenue-neutral carbon tax.”

The price stability of a carbon tax enables businesses to make reliable long-term projections about their expenses, resulting in better planning.

Each year CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, administers a questionnaire to public companies on behalf of its signatories and makes the disclosure results public in annual reports. CDP signatories are banks, investors, wealth advisers, pension funds and other entities in the financial services sector.

According to findings from CDP’s annual disclosure process in 2013, many major publicly traded companies operating or based in the United States, from Exxon Mobil and ConAgra and Wells Fargo Bank and PG&E, have “integrated an “internal carbon price” as a core element in their ongoing business strategies.”

According to CDP’s most recent white paper: “Preparedness includes use of an internal carbon price, based on the business assumption that addressing climate change will be both a business cost and possible business opportunity, regardless of the regulatory environment.”

A revenue-neutral carbon tax and dividend harnesses the power of the free market to put a price on fossil fuel carbon and stimulate technological innovation.

That’s something all of us, regardless of our political leanings, should be able to agree on.

Mark Aulman
Woodland

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 3 comments

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  • February 14, 2014 - 10:19 am

    If the "carbon tax" would support practical energy sources like modern nuclear and natural gas power plants, then it might make a difference in slowing pollution. However, I think “technological innovation” really means more “green” energy boondoggles. I don’t trust the Gov. would spend the tax revenue wisely.

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  • Elisabeth RobbinsFebruary 14, 2014 - 3:03 pm

    In reference to the above comment, " I don’t trust the Gov. would spend the tax revenue wisely." You are not alone in that opinion. That's why all the revenue should be returned to households, not kept by government to spend promoting nuclear, natural gas, or green energy. Give people refunds to pay for the extra cost of the tax, and let the market (us) find ways to reduce our expenses even more through buying more energy efficient, and therefore less expensive, products.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • February 14, 2014 - 7:49 pm

    I’m sorry, but giving people refunds to pay for the extra cost of the tax makes as much sense as this vague article. Why tax people to begin with? The billions generated in carbon tax revenue will most likely be thrown at unproven, inefficient, “green” technologies. How exactly would the tax help curb pollution? It sounds like it would be just a cash grab for the environmentalists.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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