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What Free Markets Can Do for the Energy Sector

Perspectives Summer 2022

As energy prices rise, some in Washington, D.C., are looking to renewable energy to soften price increases. President Biden signed an executive order to help the green economy, while many in Congress want to see more aggressive action taken to fight carbon emissions, like imposing carbon tariffs. Are green subsidies a good way to help the environment? Are carbon emissions worth taxing, as some believe? Here are some free-market perspectives on these issues:

  • Mark Mills touched on how carbon taxes will inevitably drive greater inflation and pain for consumers in a recent City Journal article. Mills argues that America’s “annoyingly chaotic but profoundly productive free-market system” should be trusted to provide the energy and innovation necessary to lower prices and decrease our carbon footprint.
  • The CATO Institute published a policy report on how carbon taxes could theoretically create a more efficient marketplace, though it was skeptical about the practical effects of implementation.
  • In an article for Commentary, James Meigs highlights the staggering quantities of rare earth metals needed to support a fleet of electric vehicles and the geopolitical difficulties associated with obtaining these metals from China. He also warns that the benefits of transitioning to EVs may be lower than expected.
  • A recent Los Angeles Times article sheds light on how California’s solar panel subsidies have contributed to a different (and unintended) environmental problem: toxic waste disposal.
  • Diana Furchtgott-Roth writes that the Biden Administration should reverse its current stance​ limiting America’s oil production. Beyond helping to lower prices, she argues that drilling would bolster America’s national security by reducing our depend​ence on countries like Russia.

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