Letter: A conventional conservative approach to carbon emissions

FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 1, 2021 file photo, emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in Independence, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Environmental regulations that seek to reduce carbon emissions put the USA at a competitive disadvantage with respect to China and India. Furthermore, we have no influence on China or India to make them clean up their acts.

Charlie’s response: That’s true in today’s world, but it’s only half the picture. China and India exemplify a classic market distortion. China has a trade advantage from its use of cheap dirty energy. Nations with higher standards are punished, while polluters are rewarded. Wouldn’t it be great if we could align the right thing to do with what’s good for business? Well, we can if we have a price on carbon emissions and a border carbon adjustment that would account for the carbon emissions content of products from other countries. We get some immediate benefits:

1. Doing the right thing becomes good for business. If a study from the Climate Leadership Council entitled “America’s Carbon Advantage” is accurate, that means we can align doing the right thing with what’s good for business. Every time you put solar panels on your house or business, you’re cleaning up the pollution and bringing jobs back to America by making us a more carbon efficient economy.

2. A border carbon adjustment is a tool for influencing China and India to clean up their acts too.

3. For those who self-identify as conservative, we can truthfully say that this is a conservative alternative to regulatory authority. Or, if we’re seeking bipartisanship in order to have a more durable public policy, we can truthfully claim that this is a conservative complement to regulatory authority to get more bang for the buck.

Charles Ashurst, Logan

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