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The economic impacts of carbon pricing

What the science says...

Select a level... Basic Intermediate Advanced

The costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of mitigation.

Climate Myth...

CO2 limits will harm the economy

"Legally mandated measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are likely to have significant adverse impacts on GDP growth of developing countries [...] This in turn will have serious implications for our poverty alleviation programs." (Pradipto Ghosh)

If climate change proceeds without any efforts to reduce it, we can expect to incur serious economic costs. In fact, it's not unreasonable to expect that the effects of climate change will create greater economic instability worldwide.The solution is, of course, to reduce fossil fuel use. One way to do this is to shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources. The other way is to reduce energy demands through increased efficiency.

Both mechanisms have economic implications. In order to stimulate the private sector’s investment in renewables, governments can put a levy on fuels, which may be used to fund or subsidise new initiatives.

To reduce demand, there are a number of solutions available, but most seek to raise the cost of carbon through taxes. Such increased costs give rise to concerns that change underwritten by taxes or levies will damage economic prospects, particularly in developing countries.  However, there is a consensus among economists with expertise in climate that we should put a price on carbon emissions.

NYU Fig 9 

2015 New York University survey results of economists with climate expertise when asked under what circumstances the USA should reduce its emissions

The Representative Picture

In the Fifth IPCC Assessment Report (AR5), a new set of scenarios called Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) will be used. The four RCPs replace the previous scenarios from the "Special Report on Emissions Scenarios" (SRES). Each RCP represents a set of initial conditions and projections to year 2100, based on a synthesis of the peer-reviewed literature.

The graphs below show the predicted RCP trajectories for economic performance:


GDP projections of the four scenarios underlying the RCPs (van Vuuren 2011). Grey area for income indicates the 98th and 90th percentiles (light/dark grey) of the IPCC AR4 database (Hanaoka et al. 2006). The dotted lines indicate four of the SRES marker scenarios.

The number of each RCP is the forcing (in watts per square metre) associated with a specific amount of emissions for each scenario, up to the year 2100. The graph of GDP clearly shows that the pathways that reduce emissions the most in that time frame (2.6 - green, and 4.5 - red) are those with the best long-term economic performance. In other words, the investment required to reduce emissions is repaid by increased economic performance. Business as usual strategies (high-emission scenarios RCP 6 and 8.5) are the least profitable; the money saved early on is dwarfed by the costs of damage and disruption done in the longer term.

Putting a Price on Carbon

There are a number of schemes under consideration, and a number already implemented. According to the article Pollution Economics in the New York Times, more than 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are now subject to carbon pricing systems. About 60 other states, provinces or countries are considering similar approaches, according to a recent World Bank report.

It’s too early to judge long-term economic performance of the early adopters, but Canada’s province of British Columbia serves as a good example of how carbon pricing can reduce fuel use - in their case through a revenue-neutral scheme. A recent study found that since 1st July 2008, when the tax was introduced:

  • BC’s fuel consumption has fallen by 17.4% per capita (and fallen by 18.8% relative to the rest of Canada).
  • These reductions have occurred across all the fuel types covered by the tax (not just vehicle fuel)
  • BC’s GDP kept pace with the rest of Canada’s over that time
  • The tax shift has enabled BC to have Canada’s lowest income tax rates (as of 2012).
  • The tax shift has benefited taxpayers; cuts to income and other taxes have exceeded carbon tax revenues by $500 million from 2008-12.

Source: BC’s Carbon Tax Shift After Five Years: Results, Elgie & McClay 2013

In a separate report, the British Columbia Department of Finance found that in 2012, BC's taxes were among the lowest corporate tax rates in North America and the G7 nations. 


There is a consensus among expert climate economists that carbon pollution limits are needed to prevent climate change from badly damaging the global economy.  

A number of economic incentives are being tried with varying degrees of success. Regional schemes are already proving effective, flexible and popular. An important ingredient seems to be an accompanying tax reduction that makes the carbon tax revenue-neutral.

In the long term, unless we drastically reduce the rate at which we are still emitting greenhouse gases, we are very likely to incur huge costs as a result of climate change. Part of these costs will be in adaptation, and the inevitable disruption. In part costs will escalate due to turmoil and uncertainty throughout the economic world. There will also be costs that cannot be quantified, particularly when we try to value a human life and its loss.

We have to reduce our emissions. If we are to avoid draconian government intervention, carbon pricing schemes are a viable method of encouraging us to reduce fossil fuel use. Coupled with other measures to stimulate renewable energy development, putting a price on carbon may help us make the transition away from fossil fuels. And from our experience to date, it seems likely  that carbon taxes, instead of bringing an economy to its knees, may well help transform an outdated system into one fitting for a sustainable century.

Basic Rebuttal written by GPWayne and dana1981

Further Reading: The Intermediate and Advanced rebuttals contain detailed information about carbon pricing and tax schemes. Skeptical Science contributor Andy Skuce has also written an article about British Columbia’s experience here, with an update here describing the findings of the Elgie & McClay paper.

Last updated on 2 January 2016 by dana1981. View Archives

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Further reading

Only tangentially relevant but a nifty java animation at the Quaker Economist projects the world's future energy production and when it's expected to peak.


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Comments 51 to 75 out of 116:

  1. Jigoro @48> "And as I also said, NYC is the only area in the US which could possibly make the numbers work." New York heavy rail generates on average 0.20 pounds of CO2 per passenger mile. That's even lower than a Toyota Prius which generates 0.26. It might be helpful if you actually read these reports instead of just making things up as you go.
  2. From this thread: Eric (skeptic) - I don't often comment on politics here (I prefer to stick to the science), but I cannot let that last howler go by without a reply. "If I lived in Haiti I would be stripped of my land by the authoritarian government who would then pretend to mitigate climate change using proceeds from a carbon tax that would actually just be squirreled away in Swiss bank accounts." Haiti has less than 1% of it's forest cover remaining, because there has been no regulation of forestry use whatsoever. Individuals (who do not directly get assessed the full costs of their actions) cut down the trees for charcoal and land clearing. That's the "libertarian free market" in action. By contrast, consider the neighboring Dominican Republic, which shares a border with Haiti. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has rated the DR forestry programs as exemplary, with the government run conservation resulting in some of the best woodlands in the region. Libertarianism is an interesting extreme societal model, like a pure dictatorship, direct democracy, anarchy, true communism, etc. All of these have some benefits, and overcome some social issues - and all of them as pure systems have been failures. I believe a realistic view requires a mix of approaches, not extreme social experiments.
  3. KR, part of the answer is that the Dominican Republic has a "moderately free" society while Haiti is mostly unfree Haiti is pretty much bottom of the barrel for property rights, and if there are no property rights, then forests won't be protected. The other part of the answer is that the Dominican Republic enacted some market-value-oriented policies (scroll down this page: Their policy is comparable to the efforts by developed countries and has an emphasis on private ownership.
  4. My statement holds, Eric - a reasonable amount of regulation makes for a much improved situation. From your reference, "Inadequate regulatory and legal frameworks hamper private-sector development." Yet you claim that the "authoritarian government" of Haiti would prevent you from using your property as you wish? This is a very contradictory statement. Again, as I stated, a mix of approaches seems to work best. I would personally prefer a straight carbon tax to direct external costs to those causing them, and let the market decide from there, with reasonable regulation and administration to ensure that this actually occurs.
  5. KR, I agree with regards to Haiti. I disagree with regards to other economic modes. Most alternative modes--various forms of socialism, modern feudalism, and totalitarianisms--have occurred within the context of the dominant mode--capitalism. Capitalism is extremely aggressive, and the reasons for some of the failures of these alternatives has been the corrupting force of capital. A pure experiment is where all other variables are controlled. That would not be the case for Cuba, USSR, Nazi regime, Venezuela, various African experiments, China, etc. etc. All were (and are) heavily influenced by the forces of capital. I imagine that were we living in a socialist world, you would call capitalism an "extreme social experiment." As far as Haiti is concerned, one also has to take into account U.S. interference (and here. And, of course, Baby Doc and his compadres. Eric, Haiti is a study in disaster capitalism. The country was pillaged by non-Haitians, then pillaged by Haitians (with the help of non-Haitians), then repeatedly kicked in the gut by nature, and then descended on by thousands of NGOs, the IMF, and a whole slew of companies looking to make a buck in the labor market and the pool of NGO dough. What the Heritage folks want is an unfettered (and desperate) Haitian labor market. What the Heritage Foundation calls "freedom" is usually the opposite of social and environmental justice.
  6. DSL, I think we will always differ on what Heritage wants for Haitians, but you are correct that the country has been exploited. A lot of the deforestation came from plantations, see and continues with poor farming practices. The authors of this study on protection of the commons seem surprised that: Indicators of wealth were not significantly correlated with landholder cooperation or defection in three out of four measures. Thus, wealth does not apparently reduce the incentive to cooperate. Rather, relative wealth corresponds to a greater ability to contribute, and such contributions might be an act of "leadership" I am not surprised since that is how I act. KR, my point from the other thread was that wealth leads to environmental protection. The title of this thread is somewhat backwards. It is not that "CO2 limits will harm the economy" but that strengthening the economic security of all people on the planet will inevitably result in the luxury of conservation. I with you agree a reasonable amount of regulation is always needed and best performed by government (e.g. contract law enforcement). My statement about authoritarianism was too general. I was referring to the fact that I know how to manage my land better than any government agency be they Haitian or not and that Haiti had an index of respect for property rights equal to Cuba. I connected those two, probably incorrectly as the study I linked above suggests.
  7. Eric, wealth obviously corresponds to a greater ability to cooperate, but relative wealth is an important idea to consider, as is the source of the wealth--the relationship between the origin of the wealth and who controls that wealth. I don't think it's at all valid to take the quoted finding and apply it to the banking industry in the US. It applies to Haitian farmers, who, as the report notes, don't always see "wealth" as money. They often see it as labor: time and energy to engage in some of the target practices. There is a fundamentally different human response when wealth is perceived as labor (an individual's time and energy) and when wealth is perceived as capital. Strengthening the economic security of everyone is a noble goal, Eric, but it is only coincidental to the central goal of capitalism (Heritage's interest)--to generate capital. The system requires poverty, desperation, and unemployment. It requires taxation without representation (capital is a tax imposed by property owners on "their" laborers). It lifts all boats, but it requires the water to rise faster and faster, but the boats are chained to the dock of material and historical reality--some with longer chains than others. When some of the boats disappear beneath the water, we are asked to ignore them (original American landowners), appreciate their noble sacrifice (late 19th century labor), or turn them into a historical oddity that has no economic bearing on the present (US and European slavery and imperialism). You may know how to manage your land best according to your own interests, but what are those interests? There are a range of responses between the well-being of all humans and individual collection of capital. As the Haitian study notes, "The finding that cooperation is conditional on the expected behaviour of others contradicts a strong individualist assumption made by conventional policy and project interventions in Haiti (and other places)."
  8. By the way, and someone may have already posted this, but here's some grain for the mill. The argument is that the carbon tax debate is a sort of "middle-class" solution: we see the problem, but we don't want fundamental change, so let's try a carbon tax.
  9. DSL - I tend to agree with their overview of the changes in politics and economics for the last few decades. However, let's not get too precious about the dreaded middle classes. The education and the economic freedom of the middle class has driven most important social changes of the last couple of centuries. In the current circumstances, giving this group a real financial push in the direction of say, solar PV and electric cars is one way to kickstart growth in these sectors. The financial push happens to be coming from a carbon tax under the current proposals. So that's the way to go. (And far better than the opportunities for backroom deals, or worse, in establishing a cap and trade system. In my view anyway.) I might prefer a decisive government program to 'get it done', but I'm unlikely to see my general political preferences come to pass any time soon anyway. So I'll take the best I can get for the time being.
  10. I agree, to an extent, Adelady, but only with the recognition that, in addition to being the best target for bloodless fundamental change, the middle class is also the flywheel of "business as usual." Advocates for social change have been trying to resolve that contradiction for over a century with little success. I'm still mostly of the mind that it's going to take two boots to the head to get anything of significant consequence done.
  11. So I gotta ask, if a carbon tax/cap and trade scheme is supposed to fight global warming... why is it that since Kyoto was introduced in 1998, global GGE have soared in the 13 years since? Can you explain why it doesn't simply cause industry and capital to flock to non-annex 1 nations, and increase industrialization of larger population masses? (preempting the expected, US being non signatory is obviously not a factor: )
  12. batvette Because most countries just sat on their hands and waited for someone else to get the ball rolling. Kyoto was, like many international agreements, fine in theory but patchy in practice.
  13. DSL 'two boots to the head' - never forget the sacred mantra of property values. When people start realising that the value of their prized McMansion is declining relative to all the others with PV they'll be lining up to get in on the act. It's already happened in my family, with the older generation living in a retirement village. Don't want to leave you with property less valuable than all the others round here - was what my mum said.
  14. DSL, thanks for your thoughtful response (#57). I must point out in response that capital is most useful and grows when it is invested, accumulation of capital for only consumption purposes is not unusual but is useless and counterproductive for that individual. BIll Gates, as one example, is not a mere accumulator of capital, but a shrewd businessman who reinvested nearly all the capital that he had and then ended up with a lot more falling into his lap. But his investment could have gone the other way. I realize that has nothing to do with CC mitigation, but need to point out my alternative view of what capitalism is. Its history has some activities not considered moral today as you point out. I probably should not have used the ill-defined term wealth, but pointed out that particular amount of savings beyond immediate needs and long term savings can be spent on environment improvements and CC mitigation if one chooses to. If those savings aren't available they cannot be spent. It may well be that CC mitigation is an urgent need for Haitian farmers, but their worst problems often come from the weaker type of tropical storm that just sits and dumps rain as opposed to the hypothesized stronger (but perhaps fewer) storms. The question of costs is important for them as the rest of us. Better erosion control is vital with or without CC. Their extra money whether from reduced demands for physical labor (thanks to capitalism) or from capitalism itself, helps. It is a very valid point that I manage my land according to my best interests. Some of mine are stabilizing the slope (being on an outside curve on the river means constant natural erosion), promoting native plants and wildlife (mild competition with friends who do the same), but also putting in a supply of wood for the winter, converting an area from almost useless fire hazard cedar to hardwood and native understory, and a little bit of gardening/farming. Some of the latter could conflict with the broader environmental good at least in the short run. I could also sell and let the next guy clear cut But I recognize the need for local environmental protection that dovetails with CC mitigation. I could probably afford the luxury of an electric car (with my present commute) if it were reasonable and had other benefits (not having to fill it up with gas). I already bought 4 decent sized solar panels in 2004 and have about 300 pounds of lead batteries in the crawl space and that was simply as a hobby. I did a lot of work with south facing windows and black paint including a solar-driven solar heat collector mounted on the foundation. There are probably a few other things I don't remember at the moment. But the point is that all this was possible because I had the extra money to spend on it and would not have been without it.
  15. Adelady, "fine in theory and patchy in practice" is a rather nonchalant and casual attitude to take considering this is the only "cure" for the patient implemented, the only type up for the future, and yet the patient's symptoms are ever worsening. So what were the failures in Kyoto's implementatation that were not in its underlying plan, which is providing restrictions against industrialized nations, little or none in "non-annex 1" nations, which invites industrial development and capital flow to third world countries which increases their GGE?
  16. actaully thoughtful... You took the subway everywhere because the streets were jammed with cars and there was nowhere to park when you got there anyway- additionally you had surface mass transit to complete the route to your destination. I've lived in the SF Bay Area and other parts of California, rail transit is not simply a matter of "if we want it to, it can work". It only works in areas of extreme population density where other factors work toward making people want to use it, like "why drive when youy have to spend an hour looking for a parking place and it's $5 an hour to park?". Furthermore having the surface transportation to transfer to is the deal breaker. San Diego has been implementing light rail with its Metro Trolley system since the '80', and it works okay if you live AND work AND only travel to destinations along its lines, which don't cover the city that well. Problem is providing the surface transit coverage for enough hours and distance to make trolley line travel appeal to people, has the city running a LOT of empty or near empty buses. Pollution aside, the city looks at this and cuts their bus coverage down by both times and routes. Now people get back in their cars.... In the end, hey you have the NY Subway System. Whoopee! Now how about the rest of us....
  17. In a recent press release, Lord Monckton claimed:- "Forestalling all of the 0.24 C° global warming predicted by 2020 would demand almost $60,000 from every man, woman and child on the planet. That cost is equivalent to almost 60% of global GDP to 2020. He repeated these figures at his National Press Club debate. Treasury modelling states that the carbon tax will reduce Australian GDP by 0.3% in 2020 ($171 per head per annum)and reduce our CO2 equivalent emissions by 25% over business as usual. Why should a global solution cost 60% of GDP? Not surprisingly, Monckton employs a number of "tricks" to exaggerate the cost of a climate change solution. Firstly he calculates the cost of implementing a solution with NO manmade CO2 emissions. This raises the cost to 0.3%*4 =1.2% of GDP. Next he uses the reduction from 2000 levels (5%) instead of the reduction from business as usual 2020 levels(25%). That multiplies the result by another factor of 5 to get to 6% of GDP. This is still not large enough, so Monckton calculates the gross value of the tax rather than the impact on GDP. Even when calculating the gross value of the scheme, he adds both the tax received and the expenditures from the tax (such as administration, renewable energy support and coal and steel support). By this means, Monckton estimates the net cost of the current scheme as $13 billion per annum or 1% of GDP instead of Treasury's figure of 0.3% This calculation brings Monckton's calculation of the global abatement cost up to 20% of GDP but Monckton has a few more "tricks" up his sleeve. Monckton assumes that the carbon pollution measures only the impact of CO2 - 51% of manmade forcings. He therefore doubles the cost again to allow for eliminating all the other manmade forcings such as methane - bringing us up to 40% of GDP. Of course the Australian carbon tax does tax methane emissions ( as the coal industry will attest to ). Monckton understands that Australia has 2% of global GDP but contributes only 1.2% of global CO2 because we have high energy efficiency. He therefore implicitly assumes that the cost of abatement in countries with low energy efficiency would be the same as Australia's. Multiplying 40% by 2%/1.2% brings Monckton up to his 60% of GDP. Just in case all the tricks haven't been enough to scare the public, Monckton has one last card to play. He calculates the cost per head over a 10 yesr period rather than a cost per year. The cost per head becomes $59,000 instead of $5,900 per head per annum. The bottom line is that Australia will reduce its emissions by 25% over business as usual levels at a cost of 0.3% of GDP per annum or $172 per head per annum. I could only conclude that Lord Monckton deliberately set out to deceive his audiences with a patently ridiculous cost for tackling climate change.
  18. Two things: 1. I have a very high level of confidence in climate models, and am not the least but skeptical about AGW. You folks do a bang-up job of demolishing every quibble put into your path. Forgive me if I do not have the same confidence in economic models ... all the whizziest of the math whiz kids out of MIT didn't go into climate science when they could make ten times as much working on Wall Street, and not a one of them managed to predict our current economic debacle. 2. So far, I haven't seen a single mention of just how much good any of the proposed laws would do in terms of reducing the effects of global warming ... to me, a furry-minded layman, they all seemed much too little, and much too late. I would love to see comment on this. P.S. I realize politics are verboten on this thread (although that seems to be subject to considerable wiggle room). What bothers me most of all is that real live scientists are winning the arguments here, and on sites like it, but losing dismally outside them ... the 3% of GW skeptics seem to have swayed more than half the population with garbage arguments. I think we really do need to take a somewhat different approach to the problem if any public action is to be taken.
  19. Well this site mostly deals with the science. Climate Progress is one place to discuss the political solutions.
  20. Sphaerica and scaddenp: From the Heritage report (link in the OP):
    It is no surprise that the economy responds to cap and trade as it would to an energy crisis. The price on carbon emissions forces energy cuts across the economy, since non-carbon energy sources cannot replace fossil fuels quickly enough. Energy prices rise; income and employment drop....As the economy recovers and the caps tighten, the detrimental effect of cap and trade gets more and more severe. In the worst years, GDP losses exceed $500 billion per year.
    As DSL said above: "The system [capitalism] requires poverty, desperation, and unemployment. It requires taxation without representation (capital is a tax imposed by property owners on "their" laborers). It lifts all boats, but it requires the water to rise faster and faster, but the boats are chained to the dock of material and historical reality--some with longer chains than others." The system of capitalism does have those features that DSL points out. It has one more, relevant to the discussion on the other threads which should be on this thread. Namely that the externalities of burning fossil fuel are not currently priced into the fossil fuel. The increase in those prices from any of the proposals listed in the OP will (to borrow DSL's phrasing) keep some boats tied to the dock as temperatures rise and the consequences arise. An example of a boat tied to the dock is a small pizza place. The current propane bill to run the ovens is $1000 / month and will rise under the proposals to where the business will probably shut down. Another boat tied to the dock is the long distance commuter, common in my area. I pay $250 / month to ride in the van and that would likely be at least $350 using the Heritage gas price rise of 75%. I don't have a problem with that but other people will. In the sensitivity thread Sphaerica said "40% chance of a cost of $1 trillion to $2 trillion per year for decades to centuries (or more, with higher sensitivity)." I don't think centuries is realistic, that would assume practically static technology. But Heritage points out the GDP loss of $500 billion per year which is guaranteed unlike the 40% chance of the higher cost. The biggest difference between the two types of expenditures are that the cap and trade money goes into offsetting emissions whereas the 1-2 trillion that I proposed goes straight into infrastructure (mainly better water retention systems to prevent floods and alleviate drought). With that infrastructure we all benefit from more water resources for public and farming uses. Note that I do not propose doing "nothing" but put forth solutions here. Some of those would in fact require a modicum of cap and trade, but many would be implemented by policy changes (e.g. we pay farmers and tell them what to do already).
  21. Eric, you quote from the Heritage report, but miss the following passage in the OP:
    The reason the Heritage estimate was so high is that it evaluated the costs of a carbon cap, and then ignored the distribution of those funds. ... The Heritage Foundation report effectively assumed that the generated funds would disappear into a black hole. Their analysis was the equivalent of doing your household finances by adding up your expenditures while ignoring your income. It sure looks bad, but tells you nothing about your overall finances.
    The economic cost of acting now is incorrectly represented in the Heritage report, which smacks of a scare tactic. Yes, there will be a cost to mitigation and everyone will share the burden, but there will be a greater societal and personal cost to be borne if we delay.
  22. Doug H, I think they were assuming that all the proceeds would be used for emission mitigation and they did not count any economic benefits from that mitigation since they would presumably come much later.
  23. Some points. Firstly, expect fuel price to go up anyway. Look at IEA reports on effects of delayed investment in MENA. Combatting climate change is really about coal. Does your cap-trade money also pay for infrastructure improvements to ameliorate climate change effects in countries that have negligible contribution to global warming? And what is your geoengineering solution to ocean acidification? I would be rather surprized if the cost of effective geoengineering was cheaper than moving to non-carbon generation.
  24. scaddenp, I have not thought about how to mitigate ocean acidification, but other people have. The problem with applying a technological fix there is that the ocean are vast and neutralizing processes are bulk (e.g. liming, iron seeding, etc). Despite that problem there will be ways to apply technology to apply some sort of micro scale processing. I essentially agree with sphaerica that paying for ways to avoid turning solid or liquid carbon into gaseous carbon (e.g. alt energy) is much cheaper than processes to turn the gaseous carbon back into solid or liquid or otherwise sequester it. I don't think that is static though, the sequestration will get cheaper with nano-tech and other technology cross fertilized from commercial uses. I think geoengineering will come down in price as well, but not as much as sequestration (e.g artificial photosynthesis). I am only favoring a 1/4 to 1/3 cap and trade solution because paying for other infrastructure (e.g. dams in poor countries) has other benefits along with ameliorating the droughts and floods. It seems a lot simpler to pay for those with some sort of general fund than to try to estimate the costs of droughts and floods and apply that to the external costs of creating CO2.
  25. Eric (skeptic) - "...the sequestration will get cheaper with nano-tech and other technology cross fertilized from commercial uses..." You will still have the energy requirement to bind carbon again, reversing at least in part (depending on the final chemical makeup of the binding) the exothermic reaction of burning the fossil fuel in the first place. That's going to require at least as much energy as releasing it in the first place obtained - again. And where will you get that energy? I don't consider nanotech (having argued these issues with Eric Drexler at one point) a panacea, nor any other technical development. Such developments are just not predictable (otherwise I would have a flying car right now, next to my jet-pack), and every advance comes with tradeoffs of some sort. Personal opinion - we should do what we can with current approaches (renewables, minimum carbon energy sources, conservation), tax carbon usage to include external costs with the monies going towards both those externals (health care, pollution mitigation) and increasing less expensive supplies (renewables again). If future technical advances are helpful, by all means, we should use them. But we cannot depend on inventing ourselves out of the hole...

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