The next step in Energy Innovation: Carbon Pricing

Of the four editorials in the New York Times this Sunday, two of them were about how the media is too focused on Trump, another was about how a sex scandal is better than obstruction of justice and the fourth about abstinence in the era of a cheating President.

So first of all, we need a way of pricing carbon so we can talk about something that we can do something about.


Second: Carbon output is great way to measure how efficiently a building is using energy.

As an example, imagine heating an apartment building with wood stoves. Very very high carbon, very very inefficient. Conversely, imagine using a geothermal system that quietly maintains 55 degree water flowing through the building so that it only requites 15 degrees to heat it to 70 degrees in the winter, and cooling is virtually free. Very very low carbon, very very efficient. 


Third: Monetizing carbon means that the costs of reducing pollution will fall on those emitting more carbon, not on those breathing it in. 

That is worrisome for some high emitting industries, and greatly relieving for those living near to high emitting industries.


Fourth: Monetizing carbon increases technology innovation.

One example of the downside of technology rules as opposed to incentives are the Sulfur and Nitrogen Oxide regulations, which demanded that certain industries install scrubbers to remove SOx and NOx from their stacks. Some companies found that source reduction was more economical and more efficient, but had to install the scrubbers anyway in order to meet the regulations.


Fifth: Pricing carbon provides money for a “zero sum” tax that would be returned to the tax payers,

... or a fund for research and development of new clean technologies, or a green bank to provide loans for installing energy and energy efficiency measures.


Sixth: It would create a national debate about energy and energy policy.

Such a debate would provide both the Republicans (who tend to like a carbon tax) and Democrats (who tend toward cap and trade) something to argue about that could have a positive national outcome that would benefit taxpayers, industry, innovation, national competitiveness and make the Green Economy very happy.