Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has a big, bold, multitrillion-dollar plan for addressing climate change. So does her rival, Joe Biden. Likewise, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke. And, of course, Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., whose entire campaign is structured around the climate crisis.
These candidates, to their credit, have offered thoughtful solutions for addressing the most pressing policy challenge of our time. Their proposals are highly detailed and thorough, often running to dozens of pages in length.
And it’s precisely because they’re so detailed and thorough that it’s so bizarre none of them explicitly mentions the obvious, no-brainer tool for curbing carbon emissions: putting a price on carbon.
A carbon tax – or its cousin, a cap-and-trade system – is almost universally embraced by economists on both the left and the right. With good reason, too. Taxing carbon means pricing in, upfront, the implicit costs that come from using fossil fuels – especially, though not exclusively, the cost of warming our planet.