Q: Won't a carbon tax reduce CO2 emissions without hurting our economy?
A: No. A carbon tax would raise energy prices, make every American industry less competitive, and offshore our CO2 emissions to the countries that outcompete us.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration in its reference case projects an overall increase of CO2 emissions for the world while America continues to reduce emissions slightly. As of 2017 US CO2 emissions were less than 15% of the global total.
The largest increase in energy consumption is projected to come from non-OECD countries, but this might be underestimating future growth potential for the poorest regions in Africa.
U.S. EIA International Energy Outlook 2019 reference case
Nuclear energy is statistically the safest form of energy production by a wide margin, regardless of whether one takes into account speculative health impacts from air pollution, which nuclear technology does not create. No other relevant technologies cause so few casualties per unit of energy produced.
World Nuclear Association - Safety of Nuclear Power Reactors
Institute for Energy Research - Regulations Hurt Economics of Nuclear Power
Historical construction costs for nuclear reactors have escalated in the US in contradiction to the standard logic of a “learning curve” with declining unit cost over time as technology and industrial ability advances. Lovering et al. (2016) - Historical construction costs of global nuclear power reactors
Fossil fuel infrastructure like natural gas pipelines face increasing resistance from green activists and politicians who see this as an opportunity to attack the economic viability of fossil fuel production in the US.
Institute for Energy Research - While U.S. Pipelines Are Under Siege, China Streamlines Its Oil and Gas Network
Institute for Energy Research - Natural Gas Moratorium in New York Due to Lack of Gas Pipelines
California’s San Onofre nuclear power plant was shut down in 2013 despite only requiring the replacement of a steam generator for less than $700 million.
Mark Nelson and Minshu Deng - California Nuclear Closures Resulted in 250% Higher Emissions from Electricity
The state’s last remaining nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, will shut down by the mid 2020s.
Regulators vote to shut down Diablo Canyon, California’s last nuclear power plant - Los Angeles Times
Robert F. Kennedy jr. blamed all kinds of costs from war to respiratory illnesses on oil, arguing that these constitute negative externalities not included in the market price and concluding that “[i]f you did add all those costs of oil? Yeah, gasoline price at the pump would go up to $12 and 50 cents. What would happen? We'd all be driving electric cars.”
Fossil Fuels Debate - Alex Epstein vs Robert F Kennedy Jr (1:25:00)