A few days ago, Sean Hackbarth of the United States Chamber of Commerce wrote a blog post warning about increased electricity prices when the Obama administration creates new regulations that force outdated coal-fired power plants to close. Here’s a key line from the blog post:
“Since electricity is integral to our economy, these regulatory attacks on coal, a reliable energy source, will push business costs up.”
This is correct. If the federal government had enough support from the business community to implement a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme instead, the cost of mitigating climate change — a serious threat to both business and development — would be lower.
Since market-based instruments can achieve our environmental goals at a lower cost than traditional regulations, the business community should lobby aggressively for a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade scheme. Sadly, organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce are not doing so. Instead of complaining about regulations, they should adopt a proactive approach and help the Congress push through a carbon tax.