Katie Rose Levin: Costs of carbon

November 15, 2012 

Costs of carbon

The Nov. 6 editorial about Bill Johnson’s move to the TVA implies that under his leadership, the TVA may become less reliant on coal-burning power plants and shift towards more renewable – or at least less dirty– energy sources. North Carolina was one of the states suffering the health effects of the TVA’s dirty coal emissions, while our power companies were shifting towards renewables. Under Johnson’s leadership Progress Energy has shifted its focus on renewables, and unlike the TVA, it wasn’t on the receiving end of a lawsuit forcing it to clean up its act.

However, even after the lawsuit, the TVA still continues to rely on coal and other dirty forms of energy. Our air quality is better (at least it doesn’t rain acid anymore), but relying on carbon-based fuels is taking a toll on North Carolina. Not just because of the health effects of smog, but also because of the increasing chances that we will be hit by our own Sandy.

We should make the market reflect the reality: Carbon-based fuels cost society. Let’s put a tax on carbon at the source, then redistribute that fee to all Americans. It would send the correct market signal to power companies – that carbon fuels cost us in health care, and danger to our homes.

Katie Rose Levin

Durham

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