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David F. Hales
President, College of the Atlantic

David F. Hales

David F. Hales is the president of the College of the Atlantic in Maine, which in 2007 became the first U.S. higher education institution to achieve carbon neutrality. ALL POSTS

It's time to pull the rope not push it

Q: As the prospects for a climate bill in the Senate get dimmer, some in Congress have said the solution is not to limit U.S. emissions but instead invest in green technology (wind, solar or earth's natural heat) that might be able to produce the same energy but with less pollution. Is this a good way to go, instead of setting a legal limit on emissions?

Any such proposal might be good congressional politics, but it is just plain stupid economics, flawed security policy, and lazy leadership.

To achieve energy independence and take advantage of a powerful driver of economic prosperity, emissions limits are essential. As long as the costs of carbon pollution are externalized - artificially kept out of free market dynamics - in the US market, we will be trying to strengthen our security and create jobs with two hands tied behind our backs.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) puts it this way, with unimpeachable common sense: The money to be made in solving the carbon pollution problem can only happen when you price carbon.

It is as simple as the difference between pulling a rope and trying to push one.

Legislation that limits carbon emissions will produce five times as many jobs as one that just tries to "promote" renewable energy. Carbon limits will free American entrepreneurs to compete in -- and dominate -- a global market of immense value. It will increase our reliance on our own resources, and decrease our dependence on other countries, right along with decreasing our balance of payments. It will give us a cleaner environment.

When you add the climate dimension, carbon limits enable the U.S. to again take a credible leadership position on a global challenge that will not be addressed until we lead.

This is not a difficult decision or -- for elected representatives -- a hard vote to cast.

By David F. Hales  |  February 3, 2010; 4:05 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Solar and wind can't replace conventional power generation | Next: Subsidies vs. market apporach

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Let me get this straight... if we limit ourselves and charge ourselves with more taxes in a fictional carbon market, it actually frees us to compete more.

Umm.

That's so ridiculous that even you don't believe that. You probably feel dirty inside writing such drivel.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 6, 2010 7:50 AM
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Lindsey Graham will not be elected again. I promise you. Cap and Trade is dead in the Senate. The American people do not want their electricity bills to sky rocket. You also forgot to mention the thousands of jobs that will be lost at fossil fuel plants. You must not care because YOU do not work at one. Man-Caused Global warming is a theory. The "science" behind it is junk! Glaciers, E-mails, Rainforest etc. etc. The level of corruption involved with Global Warming is unbelievable.

Posted by: Senator_Salesman | February 4, 2010 1:34 PM
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