I have rather belatedly succumbed to subscribing to Carbon Brief Daily (weekly is also an option) it is a very useful and free way to find out what is been reported about climate policy…….

Carbon Brief is a UK based website covering the latest developments in climate science, climate policy and energy policy. We specialise in clear, data-driven articles and graphics to help improve the understanding of climate change, both in terms of the science and the policy response. We publish a wide range of content, including science explainers, interviews, analysis and factchecks, as well as daily and weekly email summaries of newspaper and online coverage.

Amidst all the deservedly jubilant comments about Biden’s decisive U turn on Trump’s denialism, deregulation and support of fossil fuels there is a note of caution…..

Holman W Jenkins Jr, a Wall Street Journal columnist writing in an article titled “Biden’s age of climate decadence”, (26/01/21) takes a negative look at the president’s actions. He writes that “no ideas are present in the climate spasms of the Biden administration, just a doubled helping of patronage handouts to established interest groups”. He continues: “Suppose you actually cared about climate change. You would not throw episodic subsidies at things that can survive only as long as you are subsidising them. You would try to set in motion long-term trends that have the advantage of being in accordance with existing trends”. Central to his suggestions is a carbon tax which would “spread a low-carbon incentive through every transaction in the economy”.

Jenkins explains that Obama and Gore didn’t feel the need to use ‘unpopular’ carbon taxes as public opinion enabled the administration to support decarbonisation through subsidies and regulations. I would guess that had they gone down the carbon tax route and it had proved popular Trump wouldn’t have been able to have such a field day!

At the moment our Government also seems set on using subsidy and regulation despite acknowledging in The Future of Carbon Pricing in the UK that….

Placing a price on carbon creates the incentive for emissions to be reduced in a cost effective and technology-neutral way, while mobilising the private sector to invest in emissions reduction technologies and measures. While we recognise the merits of a Carbon Fee and Dividend policy, we do not propose to adopt it at this time.

CCL US is working hard to lobby the US government to see the benefits of carbon pricing with some regulations, lobbying for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Some regulation and subsidisation will be necessary where cost benefits of the greener option will not be adequate to encourage change (as with cars), but it works best in conjunction with carbon pricing.

So keep in mind that we are campaigning for a sensible and tested solution which does not require complete societal and economic overhaul, is well regarded by economists and that carbon pricing in general is the preferred solution of the IMF and UN!

PS On February 2nd an editorial in The Financial Times (paywall) reiterates this point: “conspicuous omissions that underline the vast political effort that will be required to turn policy into reality”. These include the order to pause new oil and gas leases that apply to federal land only, and his “failure to set out a detailed national plan for pricing carbon

It is encouraging that the most respected mainstream financial media are making the same point!