Home > AGW, carbon pricing, Cato, climate, Jerry Taylor, Pickens, wind > More carbon tax advocacy, this time from Jerry Taylor/Cato, in a piece criticizing Pickens’ plan

More carbon tax advocacy, this time from Jerry Taylor/Cato, in a piece criticizing Pickens’ plan

Jerry Taylor, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, published a pithy criticism in last week’s Financial Post of T. Boone Pickens’ plan to get wind subsidies and other favors from Congress;  said Taylor:  “Virtually every claim made by T. Boone Pickens to justify the lavish subsidies he is seeking for his wind energy investments is flat wrong.”

Jerry also had a few interesting things to say about about carbon taxes:

Fourth, if reducing our carbon footprint is the goal, then the most direct and efficient means of reducing that footprint is to impose a tax on carbon emissions and then leave it to the market to sort out how to most efficiently order affairs under those new prices. Maybe it will mean windmills and CNG [compressed natural gas], but maybe not. Perhaps it will mean more nuclear power, new hydrogen-powered fuel cells, “clean” coal, the emergence of cellulosic ethanol, battery-powered cars or hybrids — or a continuation of the existing energy base but less consumption as a consequence.

(emphasis added)

I agree with Jerry, but note that Jerry he has not explicitly accepted that reducing our carbon footprint SHOULD be a goal.  Rather, he has simply concluded that, should such a goal be adopted,  that carbon taxes are the best policy tool.  And that might be as much as we can expect, from the time being, from a long-time advocate of limited government such as Jerry.

Jerry Taylor joins Ron Bailey (Reason), George Will, AEI and a long list of others in favoring carbon taxes over any other AGW-directed policies.


  1. crf
    August 1st, 2008 at 02:57 | #1

    As you’ve mentioned, in Canada, the British Columbia Liberal party government (which is centre-right) has a carbon tax (at least a partial one). The leader of federal opposition Liberal party has also proposed a national carbon tax.

    One issue in a market with a carbon tax is how to deal fairly with imported goods that may have had no costs, or unequivalent costs, applied in their country of origin for the carbon dioxide emitted in their manufacture.

  2. TokyoTom
    July 31st, 2008 at 02:29 | #2

    Silas, I’m not as sure as you about the motives of “most” enviros. I think plenty just want to see effective action and, aware of the lack of stomach by Congresscritters for anything that says “tax”, favor cap and trade and legal mandates/technology forcing as a result. I think that most are aware that corporate interests are more adept than they at manipulating government, but since that is exactly the battle, it doesn’t occur to them NOT to try to use the government to micromanage.

    I understand the libertarian concern that resource taxes will end up being additional, but that’s why I favor creating popular support for the rebate side of the equation.

  3. July 30th, 2008 at 20:26 | #3

    Keeping in mind that most environmentalists have major left-wing or selfish goals alongside them, it’s no suprise that they’re going to reject a solution that doesn’t satisfy those goals, even if it is the most efficient.

    I don’t see any reason why a libertarian shouldn’t favor Pigouvian taxes over taxes on labor and investment, if it’s a simple replacement of one for the other, but then there’s always that nebulous fear that a “replacement” will be an “addition”.

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