Obama Says a New Tax Is ‘The Most Elegant Way’ to Stop Climate Change


OBAMAAt a news conference in Paris on Tuesday, President Obama said “the most elegant way” to reduce carbon emissions is “to put a price on it.”

He was responding to a reporter who asked Obama, “I wonder if you see any political path back home toward putting a price on carbon?”

“I have long believed that the most elegant way to drive innovation and to reduce carbon emissions is to put a price on it. This is a classic market failure,” Obama replied.

“If you open up an Econ 101 textbook, it will say the market’s very good about determining prices and allocating capital towards its most productive use, except there’s certain externalities, there’s certain things that the market just doesn’t count, it doesn’t price, at least not on its own. Clean air is an example; clean water — or the converse, dirty water, dirty air.

“In this case, the carbons that are being sent up that, ah — originally we didn’t have the science to fully understand, we do now. And if that’s the case, if you put a price on it, then the entire market would respond.

“And the best investments and the smartest technologies will begin scrubbing, effectively, our entire economy.

“But it’s difficult, and so I think that, as the science around climate change is more accepted, as people start realizing that even today, you can put a price on the damage that climate change is doing.

“You go down to Miami, and when it’s flooding at high tide on a sunny day and fish are swimming through the middle of the streets, you know, there’s a cost to that. And insurance companies are beginning to realize that in terms of how they price risk.

“And the more the market on its own starts putting a price on it, because of risk — it may be that the politics around setting up a cap and trade system, for example, shifts as well.”




  1. #1 Daren,

    No, he took economics in college and remembers it. Obviously you don’t.

    #2 TKDPINK

    Actually, we aren’t taxed enough in that the amount of spending that people demand is less than the amount of taxes we have been willing to pay. We are going to have to increase taxes to fight Daesh and to repair our infrastructure before it collapses; do you have another revenue source to suggest?

  2. Hey Charlie – Maybe #1’s point was that by taxing economic activity you reduce it. Hooray for reducing carbon emissions but standards of living will plummet and whether or not that will have any impact on the climate is far from established.
    Also #2 is right, we are taxed enough. The only ones demanding more spending are those who DONT pay their “fair share” of taxes. And we all know that the reason why we don’t “fight Daesh” has nothing to do with tax revenue! That’s an intellectually dishonest red herring. Even with all the money in the world Obama wouldn’t “fight”.