NYT: The Real Cost of Coal

“This failure by the government to collect fair value for taxpayer coal is made more troubling by the climate-change implications of burning this fossil fuel. Taxpayers are already incurring major costs in responding to the effects of global warming. Coastal infrastructure is being battered by sea rise and storm surges; forests are being devastated by climate-aided pest infestations; and studies are suggesting that temperature rises have increased the likelihood of devastating droughts in California.

Moreover, as the Council of Economic Advisers documented in a report last July because of the long-lived nature of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, these costs will continue to rise.”

The cost of government coal should reflect the climate-change impact of burning it to generate electricity.
nytimes.com|By David J. Hayes and James H. Stock

ExxonMobil and others are practicing Carbon pricing, quietly– Mark Hertsgaard

This is some of the best writing I’ve ever seen on climate change issues. Mark Hertsgaard in Businessweek:

“Pricing carbon would address what economist Sir Nicholas Stern in a 2006 report called “the greatest market failure in history.” Greenhouse gas emissions cause profound damage—drought slashes crop yields; hurricanes flood subways; rising seas inundate property—but that damage is not reflected in the emissions’ market price. Indeed, the market price is zero: The costs of climate impacts are shouldered by third parties or society as a whole.

Economists from right to left agree that taxing carbon is the most efficient way to cut emissions. A rising, predictable carbon price would unleash the power of the market against climate change, giving both producers and consumers an incentive to shift to lower-carbon energy choices.

ExxonMobil’s approach to carbon pricing was revealed in a September report in the online magazine Yale Environment 360 by Mark Schapiro, author of the book Carbon Shock. Alan Jeffers, ExxonMobil’s media officer, told Schapiro the company has been applying a proxy price to carbon since 2007. The price is different for different countries, and it goes up or down according to how likely ExxonMobil thinks a given country’s government is to regulate carbon.”

I  recommend you take the link below and read the whole article.

Carbon pricing may be the fastest way to cut climate-changing emissions. And ExxonMobil, among others, is already practicing it. Will the politicians follow?
bloomberg.com|By Mark Hertsgaard

To divest, or not to divest, that is the question? Or is it?

This writer thinks divestment is not a useful tool. Only a carbon tax will change behaviors, which is what is needed.
Apparently, I am not alone. Although 300 professors at Stanford have just called for divestment, there are dissenters.
“But Harvard rejected a campaign by students and 100 faculty to remove fossil fuel holdings from its $32bn endowment, claiming such a move would have only a negligible financial impact.

George Shultz, secretary of state under Ronald Reagan and a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution who has tried to push fellow Republicans to act on climate, said the university should think instead about imposing a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

“I am very much on the side of worrying about climate issues,” he said. But he did not support the divestment campaign, adding: “It’s mainly to make people here feel good.” ”

Professors call on university to recognise urgency of climate change and divest from all oil, coal and gas companies
theguardian.com|By Suzanne Goldenberg
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Why isn’t a Carbon Tax on the Table?

Eduardo Porto: “If a carbon tax were to be imposed next year, starting at $25 and rising by 5 percent a year, the Energy Information Administration estimates, carbon dioxide emissions from American power plants would fall to only 419 million tons by 2040, about one-fifth of where they are today. Total carbon dioxide emissions from energy in the United States would fall to 3.6 billion tons — 1.8 billion tons less than today. By providing a monetary incentive, economists say, such a tax would offer by far the most effective way to encourage business and individuals to reduce their use of fossil fuels and invest in alternatives.”   NYT 11/18/14 Economy