Will Energy Efficiency Ever Get Its Due?
Carbon Tax Center Blog
by Charles Komanoff
1w ago
After all these years and despite so many accomplishments, measures that save energy remain U.S. climate policy’s bastard child. Even defenders of energy efficiency sell it short. The latest instance was last Friday’s NY Times column, Give Me Laundry Liberty or Give Me Death!, by the paper’s resident polemicist, the economist Paul Krugman. Electricity Savings’ top role in reducing electric-sector emissions is especially critical because no other sector (transport, industry, etc.) cut emissions more than marginally. Krugman rightly savaged Congressional Republicans for contesting U.S. Energy ..read more
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Diary of a Transit Miracle
Carbon Tax Center Blog
by Charles Komanoff
3w ago
Over the weekend the Washington Spectator published my essay, Diary of a Transit Miracle, recounting the arduous march of NYC congestion pricing from a gleam in a trio of prominent New Yorkers’ eyes at the end of the 1960s, to the verge of startup at the upcoming stroke of midnight June 30, the startup time announced by the MTA last Friday. Landing page for this post’s original version. I’m cross-posting it here — the third post on the subject in this space in the past 12 months (following this in December and this post last June) — because the advent of congestion pricing in the U.S. i ..read more
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We have to change the laws and policies. We must stop subsidizing. We have to put a tax on carbon, as we have already put a tax on methane.”
Carbon Tax Center Blog
by Charles Komanoff
1M ago
Al Gore, in Al Gore Thinks Trump Will Lose and Climate Activists Will Triumph, NY Times, April 15.     ..read more
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A Tantalizing New Front in Externality Pricing: Taxing Helicopter Noise
Carbon Tax Center Blog
by Charles Komanoff
1M ago
The New York City Council today held a hearing on a suite of bills to limit noise from helicopter flights over New York City. The bill most pertinent to carbon taxing is a resolution supporting a proposed NY State $400 “noise tax” on flights taking off or landing at the city’s heliports. My testimony, presented below, situates the proposed noise tax in the context of social damage costing, also known as externality pricing. Previous CTC posts in this vein have covered NYC’s forthcoming congestion pricing plan, a California growers’ program that taxes excess withdrawals of groundwater for farmi ..read more
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The 2 Big Things Missing from Coverage of Nuke Plant Shutdowns
Carbon Tax Center Blog
by Charles Komanoff
2M ago
Next month will mark four years since the Indian Point nuclear power plant north of New York City began to be shut down. Indian Point 2 was closed on April 30, 2020. Indian Point 3’s closure followed a year later. The two units, rated at roughly 1,000 megawatts each, started operating in the mid-1970s. A half-century later, their reactor cores lie dismembered. Both units are irretrievably gone, for better or worse. I believe the closures are for the worse — and not by a little. The loss of Indian Point’s 2,000 MW of virtually carbon-free power has set back New York’s decarbonization efforts b ..read more
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Let Carbon Pricing Resolve Jevons Paradox
Carbon Tax Center Blog
by Charles Komanoff
3M ago
Nearly 15 years after journalist David Owen and I tangled — and then united — over Jevons Paradox, the New York Times today published a guest essay on that subject by a Murdoch-employed London journalist. David and I went deeper and did better, as you’ll see in a moment. Jevons Paradox denotes the tendency of economies to increase, not decrease, their use of something as they learn how to use that thing more efficiently. Its 19th-century archetype, observed by Britisher William Stanley Jevons, was that “as steam engines became ever more efficient, Britain’s appetite for coal [to power them] in ..read more
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Car Bloat and Carbon Pollution: It’s Both Better and Worse Than You Think
Carbon Tax Center Blog
by Charles Komanoff
4M ago
Streetsblog USA today published my essay, Get the Facts About ‘Car Bloat’ and Pollution. I’ve cross-posted it here to allow comments.  — C.K., Feb. 1, 2024 The increasing size of passenger vehicles has been catastrophic for road safety, traffic congestion, climate viability, and household budgets. Compared to sedans, brawnier sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks are far more likely to kill other road users, to clog urban streets and suburban roads, to guzzle fuel and emit particulates and carbon, and to keep their owners on a treadmill of car paymen ..read more
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Don’t Subsidize Super-Drivers, Soak Them
Carbon Tax Center Blog
by Charles Komanoff
4M ago
Streetsblog USA this morning published my essay, Instead of Subsidizing the ‘Super-Drivers,’ We Should Soak Them: Piling subsidies on subsidies, even if well-meaning, fails to rein in the full cost of driving. I’ve cross-posted it here to allow comments and add tables and graphics.  — C.K., Jan. 29, 2024 One-tenth of American motorists, we’ve just learned, consume more than a third of U.S. gasoline. This lead-footed cohort, dubbed “superusers” in a recent analysis, burn almost as much fuel — and, thus, spew nearly as much carbon dioxide — as all auto drivers in China. Or, reformulate ..read more
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What the Green Transition’s “Missing Profits” Really Mean
Carbon Tax Center Blog
by Charles Komanoff
4M ago
For a moment last week it looked like the New York Times was heeding CTC’s summons to tax carbon emissions as a way to make faltering clean-energy projects profitable. NY Times op-ed by David Wallace-Wells, Jan. 10, 2024. His “missing profits” aren’t the same as ours. The come-on appeared in the headline for an opinion piece, Missing Profits May Be a Problem for the Green Transition, by the Times’ climate columnist David Wallace-Wells. MISSING PROFITS! Was Wallace-Wells pursuing the idea I floated two months ago in a CTC blog, that a U.S. carbon tax could lift the prevailing price of grid po ..read more
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What’s Really Driving U.S. CO2 Reductions
Carbon Tax Center Blog
by Charles Komanoff
4M ago
The talented data analysts at Rhodium Corp. reported this week that U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases fell nearly two percent last year, even as national economic output rose by 2.4%. This was good news, further evidence of “decoupling” emissions from economic activity, but also bad news, because, says Rhodium, the 1.9% drop in GHG’s was woefully short of the 6.9% annual decrease required from now to 2030 to meet our Paris target of a 50-52% reduction in GHG emissions below 2005 levels. Here we examine the locus of the good news: the 8% drop in electricity generation in 2023 vs. 2022 that ena ..read more
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