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Duke’s Anderson: Tax Carbon Emissions

Taxing carbon emissions will produce immediate, economywide gains in energy efficiency and new, carbon-free energy production, Duke Energy Chairman Paul Anderson said last week at a Sierra Club workshop in San Francisco on what to do about global warming.
“All the other approaches will take decades,” Anderson said, Inside Bay Area reports. “A carbon tax is immediate,” he said.

Anderson has been proposing such a tax since early this year.

He also said that governments could use the revenues to offset or refund other taxes, as well. “Assuming it’s a tax-neutral policy, it’s really no-regrets policy,” Anderson said, “because at the end of the day even if you don’t agree climate change is a serious problem, all you’ve done is create some energy efficiency out there and that’s not a bad thing.”

Debate in Congress has swung in the last year away from the administration policy of voluntary emission cuts to having government impose mandatory caps and allowing industry to trade emission rights under a ceiling that is lowered year by year.

But Anderson says the big selling points of cap-and-trade are the problem: It’s too flexible, too slow and too prone to “political mischief” in exempting one industry or another.

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