Regarding “China must be a partner on green energy plan” (Nov. 3):
“Clean coal” doesn’t exist. All burned coal produces carbon dioxide (CO2). To quickly get CO2 emissions to below 350 parts per million (ppm) from the current 400 in order to stabilize our climate, we must phase out coal.
The most effective U.S. green energy plan would include a carbon tax and dividend with a border tax adjustment (see www.citizensclimatelobby.org for information). A carbon tax targets fossil fuels. The carbon content of coal, oil and natural gas is known. A tax based on the carbon content of fuels can be easily established, and it corrects the market failure when there’s a mismatch between the price of a commodity and its true cost, as reflected in the damage it causes.
A predictably increasing carbon price sends a clear market signal, unleashes entrepreneurs and investors and creates a clean-energy economy. We could have clean energy and lower our fossil fuel emissions within 20 to 30 years if we start now by instituting a carbon tax. All the money collected is returned to Americans equitably.
In 2012, China invested $65 billion to our $35 billion in renewables and will institute a carbon tax by 2016. We should, too.