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Climate policy myths

In This Series

  • Myth: Pricing carbon will destroy the economy

    Legislators from dirty-energy producing states, energy-intensive business lobbies, and conservative think tanks struggle to outdo one another with apocalyptic predictions about the effects of mandatory greenhouse gas emission reductions. See, for example, the Chamber of Commerce’s video showing children shivering in the cold (really). As climate legislation evolves this year, the rhetoric is ramping up […]

  • Myth: There is a “free market” in energy

    To hear some people talk, you’d think the greatest danger of government intervention in the energy sector is that it will “distort the market.” Poor, tender market. In fact, energy markets would give Adam Smith the screaming willies. The world’s biggest oil companies are state-owned members of anti-competitive cabals. Half the electric utilities in the […]

  • Myth: Climate policy is primarily about putting a price on carbon

    Environmentalists and economists alike are obsessed with putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions, and with good reason: climate pollution is a classic “externality,” a cost paid not by polluters but by society at large. Pricing carbon internalizes that cost. The policy is “market-based” because it is agnostic toward particular practices, products, or technologies; the […]