The debate over reducing carbon dioxide emissions to combat global warming brings us to the truth: Saving money is more important than saving the planet. In its shortsightedness, big business — led by the
Global warming naysayers ignore rising sea levels, drowning islands, higher pollution levels and increases in pulmonary disease. One day there will be money in the pockets of dead people lying on the surface of a dead planet that is no longer able to provide sustenance to the inheritors of our world.
I am deeply concerned about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed regulations that would, in effect, increase electricity prices.
California has some of the country's highest electricity rates, which already impose a heavy burden on residents and businesses. Across the nation, people in the lowest fifth of income distribution already spend up to 24% of their income on energy.
New regulations that would further increase energy prices will have a disproportionate impact on minorities and the poor. Worse, the engine of economic growth — small businesses — will be further damaged by increased costs.
Forcing power plants to undergo costly retrofits or shut down entirely will increase the price of electricity, slow economic and employment growth and result in consumers having less disposable income. The regulations would result in a very slight reduction in carbon emissions.
Policymakers need to preserve low-cost electricity, advancing technology and protecting vulnerable citizens and businesses. The current EPA proposal fails these fundamental tests.
Aubry L. Stone
The writer is president and chief executive of the California Black Chamber of Commerce.
The Obama administration's proposed rules for power plants are a start in addressing the global warming emergency, but regulations alone aren't enough. To address the most comprehensive threat the human race has ever faced, we need a more comprehensive approach.
A revenue-neutral carbon tax would correct the greatest market failure in history. Currently, fossil fuel producers and consumers dump emissions into the atmosphere for free, "externalizing" the massive cost of global warming.
A price per ton on emissions would correct this failure. The price would increase gradually over time, stimulating investment and jobs as industries, utilities and consumers switch to ever-more-affordable renewable energy alternatives. Yes, this would gradually raise the price at the pump, but 100% of the collected money would be returned to Americans. Those who burn less would put more money in the bank.
The sooner we get off fossil fuels, the better off we'll be.