Two trade press reports today make clear how difficult it will be to put a price on carbon in the U.S. any time soon. First, today’s ClimateWire reported that climate skeptics are trying to preempt any effort by conservative budget-balancers to use a carbon tax to accomplish budget goals while still cutting income taxes. ClimateWire quotes Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute as saying that
We have to make the idea of a carbon tax toxic.
Then, GreenWire reported that the American Enterprise Institute (a more old-line conservative think tank) announced that it would hold a forum on the economics of a carbon tax on November 13. While AEI stated that it wasn’t necessarily supporting imposition of a carbon tax, climate skeptics aren’t waiting to find out. Marlo Lewis, also of the CEI, gave some indication of how entrenched opponents are:
Carbon dioxide emissions come from energy use, and energy is the key factor that makes modern economies so much more productive than preindustrial societies.
Although it’s not in quotes in Greenwire, the story itself goes on to report that “carbon is therefore good, [Lewis] argued.”
Take that, all you Nobel Prize winners who think carbon emissions represent a negative externality. Perhaps we should subsidize carbon emissions, rather than tax them.