The Times West Virginian

Opinion

November 18, 2012

Carbon tax simply not realistic part of energy policy for United States

Barack Obama said last week that he wants a national “conversation” on climate change during his second term as president.

Obama, though, did not mention a possible carbon tax pushed by some groups, and a White House official said no such proposal is on the table.

“We would never propose a carbon tax and have no intention of proposing one,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a press briefing. “The point the president was making is that our focus right now is the same as the American people’s focus, which is on the need to extend economic growth, expand job creation.”

Obama said, “If the message is somehow we’re going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody’s going to go for that. I won’t go for that.”

It’s critical that the president be a man of his word.

As The Associated Press reported, the issue of climate change was revived when superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast, Obama won re-election and there were Democratic gains in Congress.

Realistically, a carbon tax has no chance of passage in a Congress that is divided along party and regional lines.

Last week, Brookings Institution released a “modest carbon tax” proposal that would raise $150 billion a year, with $30 billion annually earmarked for clean energy investments. Brookings senior policy fellow Mark Muro called it a “perfect storm” of science and politics.

A tax of $20 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions would add up to 9 to 10 percent to the price of gasoline and electric power, Muro said.

It’s an unaffordable price, particularly in a country still recovering from the effects of the recession.

We stand by our long-held position that the United States would be foolish to not explore the possibilities of “clean” or renewable energy, but not at the expense of coal, natural gas and oil — which will be a significant part of the energy portfolio domestically and worldwide for decades to come.

“As we work toward a cleaner environment, I believe we need to find a balance between the environment and our economy,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was quoted in The State Journal. “The president himself acknowledged this need for balance with jobs in his comments (last week) — and I believe our first steps must be to fix the finances of this country and create good jobs.”

Manchin added that given world population, “there’s no question that humans have an impact on our climate.”

“The real question is how we deal with it,” Manchin said. “The fact is, 8 billion tons of coal will be burned next year worldwide, according to the Department of Energy. China is burning half of that, while the United States is using only one-eighth. The Department of Energy also projects that the United States will continue to rely on coal for well over a third of our energy for decades to come. With that being the reality, our country also has a tremendous opportunity to develop technology that will help make coal generation cleaner — not only in America but all over the world.”

There are strong statements out there on both sides of the issue.

“If the EPA is allowed to continue its aggressive anti-coal agenda, the American economy will lose another 1.5 million jobs in the next four years,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. “The EPA does not consider the economic consequences of their actions, which in this case will not only erase American jobs; it will raise annual costs to families by hundreds of dollars, the equivalent of a monthly grocery bill.”

Brad Johnson, campaign manager for ClimateSilence.org, an environmental group, said, “While conventional D.C. wisdom is focused on the manufactured crisis of the ‘fiscal cliff,’ the truth is that the most urgent threat to our national safety and economic well-being is the climate cliff that we are already beginning to tumble over.”

Obama has said his approach will be “having a conversation, a wide-ranging conversation, with scientists, engineers and elected officials to find out what more can we do to make short-term progress in reducing carbon.”

That approach — combined with taking carbon tax off the table — are steps toward Obama being a more realistic and effective president when it comes to energy policy during his second term. If he follows through, we’ll be happy to lend our support.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads