You are hereTruthout: The Market Is Lying: Why We Must Tax Carbon, Not Subsidize It

Truthout: The Market Is Lying: Why We Must Tax Carbon, Not Subsidize It

-by Rinaldo Brutoco and Madeleine Austin

July 8, 2011- Remarkably diverse groups across the US political spectrum are calling for a high and rising price on carbon as part of their deficit-reduction strategies. Extremely conservative to very liberal groups are finding common cause. This is a potentially momentous development that could spark the end of the political logjam in the US over energy and climate change policy.

Agreeing to Disagree

Scientific truth does not depend on what the majority chooses to believe - not today and not in 1633 when Galileo was convicted of heresy for saying that the earth revolves around the sun. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest, but the earth continued in its orbit.

Let's face the facts: The earth is not flat. The sun does not revolve around the earth. Climate change is not something that can be altered by attacking those who report it. It's not something that should be swept under the rug for any reason - the survival of human civilization is at stake.

But it's also true that more focus on economic and national security issues that transcend political divisions will speed the day when countries around the world adopt smart carbon policies that will make them more globally competitive, revitalize their flagging economies and create jobs for the middle class.

An Unprecedented Opportunity for Clean Energy

The clean tech sector has an unprecedented market opportunity now that Germany and Switzerland have decided to phase out nuclear power, Italy has blocked its re-launch and Japan has announced plans to redo its energy policy "from scratch."

Germany's decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 means that the world's third-largest economy plans to replace 23 percent of its power in 11 years. Japan, the world's fourth-largest economy, which now gets 30 percent of its electricity from nuclear plants, plans to install solar panels on ten million homes, while cutting the cost of solar power by two-thirds by 2020. Its richest man, who broke open the country's telecommunications market years ago, is moving into solar power, tackling utility bottlenecks and eyeing the potential profits from more efficient solar cells.

Nuclear power's likely downward slope is just one of three critical energy developments this year, as Michael Klare vividly describes.

The second is the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, which could spread to Saudi Arabia and other major oil producers in the Gulf. Even if the Saudis' big spending on public handouts manages to keep the lid on popular protests, the government won't be able to ramp up oil production enough to make up for falling production elsewhere unless it spends hundreds of billions of dollars to build the infrastructure to get out the heavier, "tough oil" left in its reserves. Its "easy oil" is running out, although the precise degree of exhaustion of Saudi fields is a state secret.



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