Big Oil gave initial "cap and trade" legislation an icy reception. Now, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have a new proposal that's being called climate change's "Hail Mary": To place a "carbon tax" on gasoline. Likely to be passed on to drivers at the pump, the tax would start at 10 cents per gallon, rising to 20 cents after 10 years — with the revenue funnelled into clean-energy research or subsidies for hybrid cars. Will oil companies, not to mention drivers, buy it?
The senators' plan is too weak to work: The oil industry needs real incentive to cut down on pollution, says Tom Fowler in The Houston Chronicle, and a tax of a dime or two a gallon doesn't cut it. Recent history has shown that Americans won't cut back on driving until the price of gas reaches $4 a gallon. This plan will merely help oil companies blame the government whenever consumers complain about expensive gas.
"Climate bill watered down to gas tax?"
Big Oil may like it, but consumers sure won't: Oil companies may well prefer this to a cap-and-trade bill, says Susan Ferrechio in The Washington Examiner, but a new gas tax still will face plenty of opposition. Senators from both parties will fight to kill "any bill that threatens to raise prices or impose a fuel tax" on consumers and businesses that are already struggling to get by.
"A gas tax to cure global warming? Compromise looks to revive stalled plan"
It's time to stop arguing and do something: Of course it would be better if Congress would just pass a straightforward bill, says Bill Snape in National Journal, that imposes the same burdens on everybody. But it's time to get past the "hot air" and show some "true leadership." Congress just needs to settle on some real targets for cutting emissions and preventing "unprecedented harm to humans and the natural world."
"Let's just get started"