Here’s the latest opinion piece from Thomas Friedman on natural gas and America’s energy future.
I agree with most of this — up to his suggestion of a carbon tax. It’s a good idea in theory and in consequence, but, as I discussed in we need a knowledgeable nudge, there is an impossible question that impedes its success: where exactly should policymakers set the tax in order to accomplish Friedman’s extremely specific goals? The problem with setting taxes is that policymakers almost never have the information they need to get it right because of “proprietary information” rules. Businesses keep their internal workings private, and claim competitive advantage when regulators inquire about their specifics so to properly set the tax. So, congress would have to take a shot in the dark and hope it lands the first time, because we know how politically intractable tax reform can become. Better to use a free market mechanism like carbon cap and trade, and then as a secondary measure of the program, a sort of fail safe for both corporate freedom and environmental protection, put a tax on carbon emissions beyond those permitted by the carbon market.