Energy is ‘cheap’ only if you ignore the environmental costs

Re: Feb. 12 letter to the editor, “Liberals’ goal of implementing deal would drive up energy costs.”

The Texas Railroad Commission’s chair refers to Texas’ oil and gas as “cheap and reliable energy.” Leaving aside his claim of reliability, he can call Texas petroleum “cheap” only by ignoring the immense cost of its contributions to air pollution and climate degradation.

This is a classic market failure. Markets work properly only if prices reflect costs, and petroleum prices that omit its environmental costs amount to an enormous subsidy, giving fossil fuels an unfair advantage over clean energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear.

To correct the market failure, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would correct the market failure by imposing a fee on fossil fuels. To avoid shocking the economy, the fee begins small and rises on a predictable schedule. To prevent hardship for low-income families, the fee’s proceeds are returned to American families, giving the plan its nickname, “Carbon Cashback.”

Hamilton Richards

Austin American-Statesman

February 18, 2022

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