WSJ’s Environmental Capital, riffing on our earlier post on Exxon Mobil head Rex W. Tillerson, . If so many influential players support a carbon tax, can it be all bad?
A movement, like the call for a carbon tax, that can gather Al Gore, James Hansen, Rex Tillerson, Peter Orszag and Greg Mankiw under one roof must have something going for it.
One thing that a carbon tax has going for it: simplicity (though, again, Joe Romm at Climate Progress argues that is a fallacy). You need only look at the doorstops that are Waxman – Markey and Kerry – Boxer – which is amazingly vague, even at 800-plus pages – to see that cap-and-trade is not simple.
A particularly of the cap-and-trade v. carbon tax comes from, of all places, ESPN.com’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback column, which is written by policy wonk Gregg Easterbrook. It bears the catchy title, “Al Gore Heartbroken That World Refuses to End”, and please note, Easterbrook is, in most respects, not a conservative:
The current House-passed greenhouse gas bill, stalled in the Senate, is nightmarishly bad legislation – more than 1,400 pages of special-interest favors for political donors, command-and-control bureaucracy and handouts to the privileged. If enacted, it will do little to reduce greenhouse gases, while discrediting the notion of climate change legislation. Artificial global warming stands a better chance of being prevented if the House bill is mulched for recycling and a simple carbon tax enacted.
Which brings us back to Rex Tillerson, “that the American people want climate policy to be transparent, honest, and effective.” It’s certainly a fair point, but until Exxon starts lobbying (read: throwing lots of dollars around) for a viable carbon tax, it will be tough to believe that the company wants climate change legislation of any sort.