I watched the 60 Minutes piece on Carbon Sequestration on Sunday. It reminded me a bit of Douglas Adams description of creating invisibility, it is so expensive that 99% of the time it is easier and cheaper to do without the thing. But never mind, we are as or more addicted to coal as we are to oil. So we really need this technology. The guy (ok, I forget his name, the CEO of Duke electric or whatever) made it clear he wants to use the technology much like I want to drive a hybrid. Which is to say unless someone gives him money to build the technology (a large fraction of the cost) he is simply going to go on wanting it (which puts him ahead of everyone else, and matches my desire for a hybrid, but neither of us are doing all we could). This is where Cap and Trade could come in. A large part of the revenue generated could be set aside for sequestration technology, and a special credit, maybe two dollars credit for every dollar put in by the electric companies, could be set up for the electric companies. The whole issue of environment versus growth has gotten tricky. With the economy in the crapper, you don’t want to make things more expensive. Yet if you make coal powered electricity (and to a less degree natural gas powered electricity) more expensive, you give wind and solar that artificial leg up that they need to attain economies of scale. Sustainable solar and wind (and yes, perhaps nuclear) can help ensure that if our grandchildren need oil and coal for something, it will be there. But the problem for liberals is that now there is a chance they will be able to achieve some of their agenda now. But they (we?) need to be grown ups about it and try hard to strike that balance between just enough hardship to steer the market in a certain direction and too much hardship, stalling the market. Personally, I would be happy if all revenue from a cap and trade program went back to consumers, in the form of a tax credit. Of course, just to be mean, the credit could be for weatherization, home solar and/or wind power and energy efficiency measures (say 50% of cost, to discourage scammers). And maybe a small, manual transmission car credit, to help make up for the 100% gas tax (oops, didn’t we mention that?).
The problem with that is that plenty of renters pay utility bills but, of course, would not be putting money into improving their dwellings.
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