Gas Ads Revisited

Times conservative columnist David Brooks concurs on virtues of a carbon tax, with no special deals for industry groups

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David Brooks of The New York Times appears to be a moderate Republican of conservative bent. This blogger's personal politics are somewhat different, but he and I are in agreement on the virtues of a carbon tax without special deals for special interests.

In a column this Tuesday, Brooks conjures a modern-day Jeremy Bentham--that is to say, a utilitarian with a taste for social engineering--and a contemporary David Hume, a philosophical skeptic. Brooks's Bentham would attack global warming by gathering "the smartest people in the country and he'd figure out how to expand wind, biomass, solar, and geothermal sources to reduce CO2 emissions." Etc. Brooks's Hume  would say, "I don't know how to generate clean energy, and I don't know how technology will advance in the next 20 years. Why don't we just raise the price on carbon and let everybody else figure out how to innovate our way toward a solution?"

"The people on Mr. Hume's side believe," continues Brooks, "that government should actively tilt the playing field to promote social goods and set off decentralized networks of reform, but they don't think government knows enough to intimately organize dynamic innovation."

This is exactly what I think too. As for the alleged factual errors or misrepresentations in my previous post about natural gas ads, they are addressed separately.

The Conversation (0)
This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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