Steam is emitted from smoke stacks at a coal-fired power plant in Craig, Colo, Nov. 17, 2021.

Photo: Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Holman Jenkins, Jr. makes a good case for a carbon tax because of its economic efficiency (“Is a Carbon Tax the Only Way to Stop the Greens?” Business World, July 9). He suggests a compromise deal “that’s been on the table for decades”—a trade for pro-growth tax cuts “would be a tonic for the economy.”


Such a bargain could be an elixir, but environmentalists want a carbon tax not as a substitute but as an addition to command-and-control regulations. If a Pareto-optimal carbon tax could be determined, then vehicle fuel-economy standards should be scrapped along with whatever residual carbon-regulating authorities remain with the EPA after the recent Supreme Court decision filters through. Unfortunately, the inertia of government won’t let that happen.

Kevin Neyland

Falls Church, Va.

Mr. Jenkins is not correct that a carbon tax would “bring us all the energy we want . . . without running a gantlet of environmentalists trying to shut [fossil energy] down.” The opposition to oil and gas is fundamentally ideological, derived from opposition to modern industrial society, which would be impossible without fossil fuels. The left opposes a carbon tax because the revenues will expand the political coalition favoring robust fossil-fuel production and carbon-tax revenues over the long run.

Besides, a reduction in capital taxation financed with an increase in energy costs is not viable politically. Even a carbon tax adopted on an international basis would have an impact on climate phenomena close to zero. Efforts to minimize the adverse competitive effects of a carbon tax in the context of international trade would be hugely complex, and would engender a massive shift toward resource allocation driven by government.

Benjamin Zycher

American Enterprise Institute

Long Beach, Wash.