This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Kudos to Rep. Chris Stewart for chairing his first climate change hearing ("Utah's Stewart leads climate change hearing," Tribune, April 26).
Climate change is hard because emissions have time-delayed effects that won't be observable for decades. By the time we see and feel the effects, it will be too late to fix the problem.
Ronald Reagan believed government should take actions that serve as insurance against environmental catastrophe. If scientists tell Stewart's committee we will have problems, even if they are not exact about details and timetable, emissions must be reduced.
Stewart should seek the opinions of conservative economists (Greg Mankiw), legal scholars (Jonathan Adler) and politicians (George Schultz) who believe using a federal, revenue-neutral carbon tax to reduce emissions would be better for our economy than expensive regulations and subsidies. A carbon tax paid by energy producers and rebated to households would lower emissions, encourage investors to develop clean energy industries and protect folks from rising fuel prices.
Large fossil fuel companies expect Congress to pass a carbon tax because they understand the problem and know a carbon tax is the best solution. Stewart should ask them if they prefer government regulations, cap and trade or a carbon tax.