Glad to accept challenge
I gladly accept letter writer Larry Kirkland’s challenge (Dec. 29) to “inform us of the likely consequences of several of the proposed Biden policies,” especially regarding climate change. Kirkland feels that a carbon tax solution that would return money to taxpayers is not feasible. It is not only very feasible but more and more conservatives (Alliance for Market Solutions, Young Evangelicals for Climate Change, more than 3,500 economists including Nobel Laureate economists, etc.) are embracing such a revenue neutral plan. A fee imposed on carbon-dioxide-polluting energy producers at the source would be collected and then distributed as a dividend to consumers.
The government doesn’t keep any of the money. Although companies could pass on their increased costs to consumers, it is more likely that, in order to be competitive with non-carbon-dioxide-polluting energy producers, there would be an incentive to reduce carbon emissions through innovation.
Kirkland expressed concerns about environmental effects of “taking millions of acres of land for solar panels” and about birds and wind turbines. Community solar projects provide a revenue stream for farmers who have land that is unproductive and would otherwise lie fallow.
Solar panels on acres of bare land do no real harm. Aside from the fact that collisions from wind turbines on land kill a small fraction of birds compared to the damage that cats and glass buildings cause to the general bird population, recent innovations are reducing bird mortality: more careful siting, monitoring approach of large birds through radar warning systems, making blades more visible through redesign or changing blade color, redesigning turbines to use smaller, vertical-axis rotors posing almost no risk to flying animals, etc.
These are the kinds of innovations that result from companies that address their “external costs.” Fossil fuel power companies can do the same to address their carbon dioxide pollution.