An emissions charge is not a radical idea; making people pay for the harm they cause lies at the heart of property rights… the main goal is not to raise revenue. It is to create a powerful incentive for a gradual but steady shift toward clean and sustainable energy sources…The calculus for investments would immediately change. Anyone pursuing an energy-consuming project, like a power plant, would factor in the rising long-term charge into their choice of technology. People buying new cars would have an added incentive to think about fuel economy.
Entrepreneurial spirit would be unleashed in companies from multinational enterprises to back-of-the-garage inventors. By stimulating major gains in energy productivity and renewable energy, our approach would help stimulate global growth and free up resources to meet other pressing needs.
In tackling our trade imbalance, budget deficit, competitiveness challenges and oil-related vulnerability — not to mention climate change — our plan has a powerful logic. And because it harnesses our capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship, it could attract broad support, and a bipartisan majority in Congress.