It really makes me nervous when 40 out of 47 Wall Street Journal type economists agree on something. And it makes me really double super nervous when I agree with them.
Is It Time for a New Tax on Energy?
Wall Street Journal
Economists Say Government Should FosterAlternatives – But Not How Bush Proposes
February 9, 2007
The government should encourage development of alternatives to fossil fuels, economists said in a WSJ.com survey. But most say the best way to do that isn't in President Bush's energy proposals: a new tax on fossil fuels.
Forty of 47 economists who answered the question said the government should help champion alternative fuels. Economists generally are in favor of free-market solutions, but there are times when you need to intervene," said David Wyss at Standard & Poor's Corp. "We're already in the danger zone" because of the outlook for oil supplies and concerns about climate change, he said.
A majority of the economists said a tax on fossil fuels would be the most economically sound way to encourage alternatives. A tax would raise the price of fossil fuels and make alternatives, which today often are more costly to produce, more competitive in the consumer market. "A tax puts pressure on the market, rather than forcing an artificial solution on it," said Mr. Wyss. (clip)
In the survey, which was conducted Feb. 2-7, just two economists recommended regulations that require energy companies use more alternatives, one of the keys of the Bush plan, while six advised subsidies for producers of alternative fuels. "With subsidies, the government chooses the market solution," said Diane Swonk at Mesirow Financial. "I'd favor taxes in this area." (more)
Yesterday, I visited with some businessmen who were beginning to invest in clean energy rather than brown energy. From the high rise bank tower we were meeting in, we could see an "energy in transition" sculpture exhibit.
On the horizon, you could see our carbon nation's aging petrochemical towers rise from the coastal refineries.
But there below us, on the off loading areas of this seaport, we could see dozens of giant white glistening wind turbine blades, larger than any wing you would ever see at any international airport. On another dock, you could see the giant tubular towers that will hold these blades some 260 feet in the air.
We talked about how the scene below us was, yes, I think I even said it, "poetic".
Later in the conversation, I talked about the global move towards a global carbon fee or emission permit that actually puts the cost of carbon into the market and out of the hands of regulators.
I think they were nodding.
We talked about carbon and carbon dioxide and how one way to sequester the carbon from a 500 MW coal plant is to plant about 500 square miles of trees to absorb it.
I talked about how one train load of coal in,
Is 3 1/2 train loads of carbon dioxide out. (44/12)
We talked for about 3 hours.
My 450 mile trip put another 500 pounds of CO2
into the blanket of air we call the atmosphere.
I think it was worth it.
What it is About
Earthfamilyalpha Content III
Earthfamilyalpha Content II
art courtesy of John Clark and Jose Luis Di Gregorio
Labels: political philosophy