The company helps consumers realize energy savings both through conservation measures and alternatives such as heat pumps and solar. Part of the way they do it is by helping them navigate the various subsidies including tax credits…
What was really ironic was that I was hanging with folks from a highly entrepreneurial company who are thinking that their type of capitalism might save the planet.
I spoke with the Geoff Chapin, the founder and CEO of Next Step Living. What Geoff thinks would really make things happen is a carbon tax.
The tax would be applied at the point of extraction or as the fuel is shipped into the country. It could be applied either to reduce other taxes or create a per capita rebate to help people to deal with the added cost of, well, just about everything. Probably the item that has the most emotional impact on a lot of us is the effect on the price of gassing up the car. According to Geoff a carbon tax that would provide a $1,600 per capita rebate would add twenty cents to a gallon of gas. OK. Here’s the deal. I don’t have the capacity to really check that out, so I’m not going to attempt it.
I do, however, think that even if, maybe especially if, you have strong free market views, the principle is sound. The free market does not work well when there are externalities – costs imposed on people who are not part of the deal. A carbon tax would force the externalities to be internalized and reflected in the price of goods and services based on the carbon effect of the various transactions as they percolate through the economy. If you believe that the burning of fossil fuels is doing bad things to the climate, the carbon tax is probably the best free market solution.