Back in May someone asked Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers what he thought about a carbon tax, and he answered, “Why would anyone want that?” The Economist answered his question, 29 June 2013, Tepid, timid: The world will one day adopt a carbon tax—but only after exhausting all the alternatives,
Winston Churchill famously said America would always do the right thing after exhausting the alternatives. The right thing in climate policy for all the big countries is a carbon tax, which is simpler and less vulnerable to fluctuations in emissions than cap-and-trade schemes. For years, such a tax has been a non-starter politically. But as the alternatives are tested to destruction, it deserves to be looked at again. Current environmental policies will not keep the rise in global temperatures to below 2°C—the maximum that most climate scientists think safe. A carbon tax, if stiff enough, could. Big polluters should assume that such a tax will one day arrive, and start planning for it now.
Dear Paul Bowers,
Stop being tepid and timid. Go beyond closing the dozen coal plants your company just proposed and GA PSC accepted, go beyond the additional 525 megawatts of solar power GA PSC just required Georgia Power to do, go beyond just capping Plant Vogtle cost overruns like Mississippi PSC required for Kemper Coal, go beyond misinformation about wind.
You know better than the rest of us that distributed solar power is already disrupting the century-old baseload business model and you can’t put that off but for a few years. Stop trying to stick to just copper circuit switching in a mobile smartphone Internet.
It’s time to get on with wind off the Georgia coast and enough solar power to bring Georgia up from an F to an A among solar states. You can make Georgia a net exporter of power from sun and wind, leading the southeast, the country, and the world.
You, sir, can make the sun rise on Georgia.