Three Thursday Things

October 11, 2018

As Hurricane Michael heads toward the Carolinas after walloping the Florida panhandle, three big announcements raise the urgency level to code red for the need for climate action and highlight that a carbon tax can be an essential part of the solution.

IPCC Report warns of inaction: The most recent report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of catastrophic impacts if the world does not cut carbon emissions in half in the next 12 years. The report is based on more than 6,000 scientific references from 91 authors across 40 countries, including the United States. In response,House Climate Solutions Caucus co-founder and MARKET Choice Act sponsor Rep. Carlos Curbelo tweeted:

Stay tuned for more reactions from the EcoRight.

Nobel Prize in economic science awarded to carbon tax proponent: The Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to two Americans, including William D. Nordhaus of Yale University, who supports a carbon tax as the most efficient policy tool for lowering greenhouse gases.

Dive deeper in this piece from Forbes: "Nordhaus has been writing for four decades about climate change and the value of using prices to reduce carbon emissions. His research shows that raising prices through, say, a carbon tax, is a far more effective and efficient way to lower carbon emissions than direct government controls on the quantity of emissions through, say, regulatory limits on cars and power plants. Higher prices will encourage firms and consumers to find alternatives to carbon-based products as well as encourage new technologies that will make those substitutes competitive. This has become the mainstream view among economists."

And from the New York Times: "Economists have long been enthusiastic about carbon pricing because of the policy's efficiency. Give companies a financial incentive to reduce their fossil-fuel use, and they will find creative and cost-effective ways to do so without the need for heavy-handed government regulations."

And from our favorite climate scientist, Katharine Hayhoe:

ExxonMobil lobbying for carbon tax: Exxon Mobil, the largest oil company in the U.S., announced this week that it is investing $1 million toward a lobbying campaign to back a carbon tax. The money will fund the group Americans for Carbon Dividends, formed this summer to lobby for a carbon tax plan developed by elder statesmen, Republicans James Baker III and George Shultz. Fun fact: the $1 million investment is equivalent to the revenue the oil giant makes every two minutes (h/t Bloomberg).

Other contributors to the lobby effort include Exelon, First Solar, and the American Wind Energy Association.

Will one plus one plus one finally equal a carbon tax? Or will climate scientists remain invisible?