Green the Market

Climate change is real and we need effective, efficient solutions fast. It’s unfortunate that what’s on offer is either inaction, non-solutions like banning fracking , counterproductive measures like closing existing nuclear plants, or phantasms like the Green New Deal, which is so tangled with other concerns that it will not result in action for years (if ever).

Fortunately there are measures we can take to cut emissions immediately, and which offer benefits even if you don’t believe in climate change, or believe we need a Green New Deal later.

No brainer 1: cut subsidies to all fossil fuel energy sources

No brainer 2: get rid of farm subsidies. Agriculture is a huge polluter

No brainer 3: drastically cut spending on the military, another huge polluter

No brainer 4: get rid of the Jones Act. The Jones Act makes most shipping between US ports cost prohibitive. Which means goods are shipping by dirty trucks, or on much longer routes from abroad.

No brainer 5: raises pollution taxes such as the gas tax. More expensive gas will lead to less gas consumption and pollution as it always does. It will also give zero-emissions energy sources an even greater price advantage, spurring more adoption.

Even if you don’t believe in climate change, pollution taxes have benefits which will pay for themselves. Carbon monooxide is real, as is nitrous oxide, sulfur oxide, and particulate matter. Would you rather pay a gas tax or for the healthcare associated with heart and pulmonary disease, especially when the patient might be you or a loved one?

Market-based pollution pricing in no way prevents additional environmental legislation later. So even if you believe something like a Green New Deal is the ultimate answer, pollution pricing buys more of the very limited time we have to consider those measures.