Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cato Institute energy forum splits on GOP carbon tax, emphasizes market forces, little attention to grid security


The Cato Institute held a forum today, February 22, “Trump’s Energy Policy Promise or Peril”,  with Peter Russo moderating, with Robert L. Bradley. CEO and founder, Institute for Energy Research; Adele Morris, Senior Fellow and Policy Director at the Brookings Institute, and Catrina Rorke, Senior Fellow and Policy Director, R Street Institute.


Bradley favored a free market approach to everything and argued against the carbon tax, in a manner similar to what is said in this paper from Cato in October 2016.

The paper tends to suggest that economic growth (using actuarial math and present values) even with expected global warming, will more than offset any savings from a carbon tax.  There is suspicion that carbon tax implementation wouldn’t be neutral.  There is little attention to catastrophic events (which are considered unpredictable from a policy viewpoint) or to the international political consequences in developing countries from global warming.

Adele Morris gave much more support to the idea of a carefully constructed carbon control policy, and emphasized that there was not enough demand for coal to continue developing it, the way Trump wants to.

Rorke seemed to express similar sentiments.

There was incidental support for renewable sources, but a general feeling that market forces won’t support them.  One speaker said that in time some wind turbines will be taken down, and than many landowners in western states don’t like them. 

There is no effective market mechanism to encourage utilities to decentralize their power grids, or to build many small reactors, even fission, as Taylor Wilson has proposed (my question).

“The Case Against a Carbon Tax”, policy paper by Robert F. Murphy, Patrick J. Michaels, and Pal C. “Chip” Knappenburger, link.

"A U.S   carbontax and Earned Income Tax Credit" by Adele Morris and Apama Mathur 

"James Hansen's Failed Ultimatums", Bradley paper for IER. 

Catrina Rorke, blog post for R Street Institute 

I have my own video on Wordpress here

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