Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) recently tried to focus on what's at issue by proposing a carbon tax to tackle climate change. "I sincerely doubt that the American people are willing to pay what this is really going to cost them," Rep. Dingell said at the time. And so he called for the tax "just to sort of see how people really feel about this."
We know how Congress feels about it at the moment. There is little enthusiasm for an explicit carbon tax, even though this is the simplest and most transparent way to begin reducing greenhouse emissions. It's this simplicity and transparency that makes it less palatable in Washington than the cap-and-trade alternative. But if there are environmental costs to energy use, Americans should be told what those costs are. And a tax will do just that.