A CHANGE is in the works that could go a long way toward making alternative energy less alternative, and more attractive to consumers and businesses.
It’s not a technological fix from some solar-cell laboratory in Silicon Valley or wind-turbine researcher in Colorado or the development of some superbug to turn wood waste into ethanol.
Rather, the change would come from Washington, if Congress does what it has talked about and puts a price tag on greenhouse-gas emissions. Suddenly the carbon content of fuel, or how much carbon dioxide is produced per unit of energy, would be as important as what the fuel costs. In fact, it might largely define what the fuel costs.
That could shake up the economics of energy, handicapping some fuels and favoring others. Those that produce hefty emissions, like coal and oil, would likely look much worse. And some — sunlight, wind, uranium, even corn stalks and trash as well as natural gas — would probably look much better. “Carbon-negative” fuels that take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as they are made, might even become feasible.
Carbon dioxide is what economists call an “externality,” something that imposes a cost on somebody other than the manufacturer. At some point, the thinking goes, Congress will force industries to pay those costs, either with a tax or a cap-and-trade system in which allowances will cost money. The consensus in the energy business is that lawmakers will come up with a charge that could start at $10 per metric ton or more.
On Thursday, a Senate subcommittee approved a bill to establish a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide, and the Democratic leadership is eager to have the Senate pass it by year’s end. But prospects in the House are less certain.
- THE LEFT IS ANTI-CO2 AND ANTI-CARBON FOR ONE REASON AND ONE REASON ALONE: THEY WANT TOP RAISE TAXES, ESPECIALLY ON INDUSTRY.
- IT'S ALL BASED ON A THE FALSE PREMISE THAT CO2 IS BAD.
- MAY I REMIND YOU OF THE FACTS: CO2 IS NON-TOXIC AND DOESN'T CAUSE GLOBAL WARMING; (IT'S A LAGGING INDICATOR).
- CARBON-TRADING SCHEMES ARE ALL FRAUDULENT.
THEY'D MIGHT AS WELL TAX TREES AND EXHALING.
IF WE ELECT A DEM TO THE WHITE HOUSE THEY JUST MIGHT!