A reader writes:
I'm fine with a modestly increasing carbon tax over time, if it's well-structured. Simply keeping up with gas and oil productivity gains in tax form is long overdue. However, I think it's worth exploring what the unintended consequences of a carbon tax would be, and to try and take them into account. For example ... coal - which is still our largest source of electricity - has a much higher carbon footprint than oil does. Therefore, a carbon tax that doesn't take this into account would move us towards more oil, not less. If "defund[ing] some of our enemies" is a primary goal, then a flat carbon tax is a terrible idea.
I'd phase it in gradually and place the bulk of it on oil for long-term national security reasons. But coal needs to be priced upward too. Look: I'm not a technical expert on these matters. The point is to begin to use taxation to help advance our energy and national security needs. I'm not a fan usually of using the tax code to get preferred results. But this is close to a global emergency; and the only way to get beyond carbon is to give the market real incentives to create new energy technologies.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.