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Robert Reich on Energy & Oil

Former Secretary of Labor; Democratic Challenger MA Governor


We should tax fossil fuels based on CO2 content

We should tax fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) based on how many tons of carbon dioxide such fuels contain. The tax should be collected at the mine or port of entry for each fossil fuel, and would gradually rise over time in order to push energy companies and users to spew less carbon into the atmosphere. (A yearly auction for the "right" to pollute under a certain maximum cap that tightened year by year would theoretically have the same effect and generate about the same amount of money--but only if permits were not handed out to politically powerful polluters free of charge or exchanged for imaginary and unverifiable "offsets" that a company might claim by, say, planting trees in Brazil).

A carbon tax would have two additional advantages. First, it would push energy companies and businesses to invest in new ways to reduce greenhouse gases & lead to the development of more efficient sources of energy. Second, by stimulating such investments, the carbon tax would also boost aggregate demand

Source: Aftershock, by Robert Reich, p.130-131 , Apr 5, 2011

$4 gas hurts, but we need long-term solution

Q: Whatís your reaction of the Saudiís decision to increase oil production?

A: Well, itís great but itís not going to solve the long-term problem because demand is outstripping supply when it comes to oil. Demand from developing countries, demand from developed countries and thereís a limited supply of oil. This is the whole point--to move the nation as rapidly as possible to wind and solar and other alternatives, renewable sources of energy, that are also not going to harm the environment.

Q: But thatís going to take a long time for all of those other sources of energy to really have an impact. People are suffering right now, $4 a gallon.

A: It is going to take some time, but even the Energy Department says that if we had more drilling here in the US, it wouldnít be until 2030 that you real saw the results.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jun 22, 2008

Encourage low-emissions and hybrid vehicles

Iím in favor of low-emissions rules for automobiles and encouraging hybrid vehicles and Iíll explore ways of economically encouraging the purchase by consumers and businesses of fuel efficient, low emission vehicles.
Source: Campaign site RobertReich.org, ďOur Environmental HeritageĒ , May 2, 2002

Jump-start renewable energy & reduce power-plant emissions

I want to jump-start renewable energy: I support vigorous expansion of the Renewable Energy Trust, and tough and timely regulations to accelerate the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.

As Governor Iíll also make sure we fully implement our power-plant emissions rules, requiring a 50 to 75 percent decline in emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide over the next few years, and reducing emissions of mercury and CO2.

Source: Campaign site RobertReich.org, ďOur Environmental HeritageĒ , May 2, 2002

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Page last updated: Jul 12, 2013