Monday, April 10, 2017

James Hansen, climate scientist, not worried about demise of Clean Power Plan

James Hansen, formerly with NASA and one of the first public officials to warn about climate change, isn't too concerned that Trump might scrap the Clean Power Plan. He's been pushing a different solution: fee and dividend. We would basically assign to fossil fuels the total cost to society (building up over time) and then return that money to citizens. Imagine what a barrel of oil would cost if the portion of the US Military charged with protecting oil-rich countries and sea lanes was assigned to it. What are the health costs associated with burning coal? Interestingly some members of the GOP have proposed a similar approach.

Money talks so if you get the "externalities" embedded in the price of the product, it will change people's behavior. Years ago Sweden shifted most homeowners to biofuel for heating in one weekend by assigning a tax that made fossil fuels more expensive. That approach wouldn't be popular with the GOP but it shows the power of pricing. Shouldn't a product have to cover the costs it pushes onto society?
Legendary Climate Scientist Likes a GOP Proposal on Global Warming - Scientific American - News

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