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letters | politics and the carbon tax

Government mechanism needed to steer us toward sustainable future

It is heartening to see Scot Lehigh’s column on the subject of carbon pricing, because this is a powerful, though widely misunderstood, mechanism to combat climate change. In a world where market forces are held in reverence, we have to realize that the market has failed to capture the real cost of burning fossil fuels. And when markets fail, it’s up to governments to intervene. Even conservative economists, such as former Reagan administration Cabinet member George Shultz, embrace carbon pricing because it empowers businesses to adapt to changing market conditions by their own designs and not through government controls.

Political opposition to a carbon tax, in both parties, will persist until the public understands that the intent of carbon pricing is not to generate revenue for government programs, but to steer the energy economy toward a sustainable future.

Frederick Hewett, Cambridge