Choose One: 1. either Social cost of carbon tax. 2. or Nuclear energy? Bud Weinstein, @thehill



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Choose One: 1. either Social cost of carbon tax. 2. or Nuclear energy? Bud Weinstein, @thehill

“…Several weeks ago, a group of Republican elder statesmen calling themselves the Climate Leadership Council, including former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and former Treasury Secretary James A. Baker, endorsed the idea of a carbon tax that would start at $40 a ton and rise gradually over time. The Council claims that such a tax would send a powerful market signal to businesses that want certainty when planning for the future. The proceeds from the tax would be returned to households through carbon dividends, thus making the tax revenue neutral.

Another potential benefit of a carbon tax is that it would help secure the future of nuclear power as part of the nation’s energy mix. America today gets about 20 percent of its electricity from clean-burning, non carbon-emitting nuclear power plants. Ninety-nine generators are currently operating and four new reactors are under construction in Georgia and South Carolina. But since 2013, six plants have been shut down across the U.S. and another nine are scheduled to close in the near future, most notably the two Indian Point reactors north of New York that provide 25 percent of that city’s electricity.

Nuclear energy is also being challenged by cheap and abundant natural gas, which has become the preferred fuel for power generation and now accounts for nearly 35 percent of installed capacity nationwide. Indeed last year U.S. power plants burned more natural gas than coal for the first time. In short, nuclear energy can’t compete with natural gas (or coal, for that matter) at current prices. But to the extent a carbon tax increased the cost of generating electricity from natural gas and coal plants, the playing field for nuclear energy would be more even….”

Mar 12, 11:00 PM
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