The Oct. 17 column on climate change by Robert Samuelson is overly pessimistic. First, we do have the technologies to almost eliminate the use of fossil fuels for all types of energy use. The cost of renewable electric power and electric cars is decreasing. For example, the cost of electricity from new wind power is now less than that of coal-fired power plants.
It will take some time to turn over the stock of autos and power plants, but it is doable.
Samuelson favors a “stiff fossil fuel tax” where some of the proceeds could be used to reduce deficits and simplify income taxes. A better approach is to give the proceeds on a per-capita basis to all households to alleviate the impact of likely higher prices for electricity and gasoline. More jobs will be created by switching to renewable energy than with fossil fuels.
This type of carbon tax is favored by a majority of economists and a growing number of politicians on both sides of the aisle. The bipartisan Citizens Climate Lobby favors a plan that would increase the carbon tax over time and return all proceeds in a per-capita dividend.
This is the road to encourage Congress to travel.