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John Delaney: ‘Nice Thing’ About Carbon Tax Is It Makes Energy From Fossil Fuels ‘A Lot More Expensive’

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Craig Millward
By Craig Millward | August 23, 2019 | 2:35 PM EDT

John Delaney
(Getty Images/Scott Olson)

(CNSNews.com)- Speaking at a climate and agriculture forum in Londonderry, New Hampshire on Thursday night, former Maryland congressman and 2020 presidential contender John Delaney (D) said “the nice thing about a carbon tax is it fundamentally makes energy from fossil fuels a lot more expensive.”

Delaney predicted that, one day, energy will “basically be free,” because "every surface" on the planet will be covered with solar absorption technology:

 

“I think we’re going to live in a world in the future where every surface, is covered with some kind of solar absorption technology, literally. And it’ll basically be free. It’ll be built in to every surface, all the roads, everything.”

Delaney was joined by fellow 2020 presidential contender Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) at the forum hosted by Stonyfield Organic, New Hampshire Young Democrats, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility and the New England Farmers Union.

One audience member asked Delaney how he would achieve “mass adoption” of solar energy, given its high cost:

“The carbon tax is a start, but how are you going to incentivize mass adoption of sustainable solutions and organic foods and energy efficient solutions like solar shingles? Those things are, honestly, too expensive for most Americans to afford. How do you get that mass adoption?”

That’s “the nice thing about a carbon tax,” since it would make fossil fuels unaffordable, Delaney responded:

“So solar- you know what’s interesting with solar is, you know, the price of solar has been cut by 25 percent, every time we’ve doubled the installed base. And that’s the beauty of innovation. And the nice thing about a carbon tax is it fundamentally makes energy from fossil fuels a lot more expensive. Because, the way it works right now is fossil fuels have a huge social cost. I think it's $100 a metric ton. At least. We don't price any of that in.

“And, so, what we do is we subsidize renewables to try to make them competitive. But you can’t just- you can’t actually subsidize them enough, you actually have to put a price on carbon so that people really understand what it costs.”

“So everything you just talked about, which is making solar- I mean I think we’re going to live in a world in the future where every surface, is covered with some kind of solar absorption technology, literally. And it’ll be basically free. It’ll be built in to every surface, all the roads, everything. And we’ll just-they’ll hook up little wires and collect the energy. That’s where this is going to go.”

Delaney, then, singled out one of the event’s hosts to use as an example of how his carbon tax plan would work:

“But, you know, what you need is you need someone who’s got a really good idea to go to this gentleman (pointing to Gary Hirshberg, Co-Founder, Stonyfield Yogurt) and say 'I want you to invest in my idea.' And he’s going to say, ‘Well, how are you going to sell it?’ And you’re going to say, ‘Well, they just put a price on carbon. So, that’s going to actually cause a huge shift because that’s going to make that energy more expensive and we think our market is going to grow ten-fold.’ And he’s going to invest in it, as a result. He’d do it, anyhow, because he’s a good-minded citizen. But, when he puts on his investor hat, he’d want to see that there’s a market.”

Delaney laid out his plan to combat climate change as president, saying the goal is to get the “world to the point where we’re net-zero by 2050, meaning we’re putting no additional CO2 in the atmosphere by 2050. That is the clear goal we have to achieve so that the world doesn’t warm by more than two degrees.”

His proposals include:

  • Institute a carbon tax, which could be used to give money back to Americans “in a dividend,”
  • Extend and expand the renewable tax credits,
  • Increase the Department of Energy research budget five-fold from $6 billion to $30 billion a year, and
  • Create a “global coalition around innovation,” to come up with new energy technologies.

 

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