Without a Price Signal...
While Washington was bailing out Detroit, President-elect Obama made two crucial appointments: he named Steve Chu as his secretary of Energy and Carol Browner as an energy coordinator or "czarina." It seems to me that the two posts neatly frame the two aspects of the effort to create a Clean Energy System—what we might call the clean energy predicament. Chu is a Nobel laureate in physics who has led a green-tech, clean-fuel effort that brings together scientists, the government, and BP; Browner's experience is with the Environmental Protection Agency, which she led during the Clinton Administration. Producing new energy, or protecting the environment—in the Energy-Climate era, which is more important? Is it possible to do both?
How we are going to do either without a price signal—i.e. gasoline or carbon tax—beats me. Consider this headline from CNNMoney.com on Dec. 22: "After nearly a year of flagging sales, low gas prices and fat incentives are reigniting America's taste for big vehicles. Trucks and SUVs will outsell cars in December, according to researchers at the automotive Website Edmunds.com, something that hasn't happened since February. Meanwhile the forecast finds that sales of hybrid vehicles are expected to be way down."
Have a nice day.