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March 2, 2020 by Karen Sokol

The Problem with the Climate Leadership Council's Carbon Tax Plan

Earlier this year, on the heels of the Earth's hottest decade on record, a coalition of former government officials, fossil fuel companies, car manufacturers, financial companies, and nonprofit organizations renewed their endorsement of a national carbon tax as "the most effective climate solution" (emphasis added). And by "the," it appears that they mean "the only." The catch is that the coalition's legislative plan also calls for preventing the federal government from regulating carbon emissions and from taking any other protective measures "that are no longer necessary upon the enactment of a rising carbon fee."

Given the scale and complexity of the planetary emergency that we face, it would certainly be nice if the solution were that simple. But that, of course, is too good to be true. A carbon tax may very well be one important component of the climate crisis toolbox, but complex, massive problems require a mix of policy solutions, and strengthening carbon emission regulations must be a central part of any plan that has a chance of being effective in addressing the climate emergency.

But that only scratches the surface of what is problematic about the coalition's plan. Massive deregulation of carbon emissions …

May 22, 2019 by Daniel Farber
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Originally published on Legal Planet.

To do its part in keeping climate change to tolerable levels, the United States needs to cut its carbon emissions at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. That’s not just a matter of decarbonizing the electricity sector; it means changes in everything from aviation to steel manufacture, and reducing not only CO2 but also other pollutants like HFCs and black carbon.

In a new book, Michael Gerrard and John Dernbach have assembled a team of authors to look at 35 different issue areas and figure out the legal actions that will be needed to drive this change. Their work builds on earlier planning efforts, particularly in California. The book runs more than 1100 pages and weighs in at over four pounds. Even the title has heft: Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States. I can’t claim …

Oct. 8, 2018 by Joseph Tomain
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This post is the second of a pair on the Trump administration's so-called "Affordable Clean Energy" (ACE) rule. You can read the first post here on CPRBlog. 

Industry Trends

In short, energy projections demonstrate a clear trend for clean energy and away from fossil fuels. These trends, directly and negatively, affect traditional electric utilities. About the time that rooftop solar financing was being consolidated by third parties such as SolarCity and Sunrun, utilities began to worry about a "death spiral." In such a scenario, customers would install solar rooftop panels, generate some or all of their electricity, and then either reduce their utility bills or, in some instances, sell their excess electricity back to the utility. To the extent that customers left the grid, the utility would have to recoup their fixed costs from a smaller customer base, thus increasing electricity prices and forcing more customers …

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More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
March 2, 2020

The Problem with the Climate Leadership Council's Carbon Tax Plan

May 22, 2019

Achieving an 80 Percent Emissions Cut by 2050

Oct. 8, 2018

The EPA's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule: Putting Money on ACE Is a Bad Bet -- Part I