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A Smart Energy PolicyAn Economist's Rx for Balancing Cheap, Clean, and Secure Energy$
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James M. Griffin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780300149852

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300149852.001.0001

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Introduction: An Overview from 30,000 Feet

Introduction: An Overview from 30,000 Feet

(p.1) Introduction: An Overview from 30,000 Feet
A Smart Energy Policy

James M. Griffin

Yale University Press

This chapter outlines the best energy policy for balancing the often-competing goals of cheap, clean, and secure energy, and which would use the price system to fundamentally alter consumer behavior, business behavior, and the incentives to develop alternative-energy technologies. With the pressing problems of climate change and dirty air and water, clean energy is essential to the continued health and prosperity of all nations. Large energy price increases, such as could occur under a cap-and-trade system, basically punish consumers for their past decisions and achieve only small reductions in CO2 emissions. Under any energy-tax legislation adopted, the tax revenues should be earmarked for offsetting reductions in income and payroll taxes and increases in the earned income tax credit. This approach has an important advantage over cap-and-trade proposals because it allows for greater benefits to the public—through relief from income and other taxes—at the expense of carbon-emitting industries.

Keywords:   energy policy, consumer behavior, alternative-energy technologies, energy price, energy-tax legislation

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