Global warming caps are just another energy tax


“A cap on America’s global warming pollution is nothing more than a disguised energy tax that will drive up the costs of energy, particularly among the poor.”

Various opponents of global warming action.


Put simply, a cap on global warming pollution is not a tax. In fact, the policy was designed specifically to not be a government run tax, but rather a way to create market incentives to efficiently cut global warming emissions, reward green energy innovation, and rebuild America’s energy infrastructure.

Every parent knows that to change your child’s behavior, you create a system of penalties for bad behavior and rewards for good behavior. If your teenager gets bad grades, you ground him or her. But, if your teenager buckles down and gets straight A’s, you offer a reward (a bigger allowance, a later curfew, cooking his or her favorite dinner).

That’s exactly what a cap on global warming pollution is – a carrot and a stick. It would set a national limit on global warming pollution and challenge industries to meet or exceed the limit. Those industries that innovate and cut their emissions are rewarded by having the opportunity to sell their pollution credits to industries that are not able to sufficiently cut emissions.

This makes a cap on global warming pollution the most efficient and effective policy for dealing with America’s global warming pollution.

A carbon tax, on the other hand, is strictly a punitive policy that would be administered by the government to establish a disincentive to use fossil fuels, but would not create the positive incentive to push the envelope of innovation and continue to cut emissions. It’s a stick with no carrot, and would fail to create the market we need to quickly innovate and bring the most efficient energy solutions to scale.

Whether you like the proposal for a cap on America’s global warming pollution or not, please don’t call it an energy tax.

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