Tuesday, June 12, 2007

National Review Online weighs in on G-8

National Review Online: ...If the President really wants the nation to get serious about reducing gasoline and other fossil-fuel consumption, he also has better options than tightening CAFE standards on new automobiles. Federal fuel economy standards may sound nice in theory, but in practice they distort manufacturing decisions and lead automakers to produce smaller, less-safe vehicles than those desired by the public. A better — albeit more controversial — approach would be to replace corporate income taxes and excises with taxes on the carbon content of fuels. So long as such a tax shift does not increase the overall tax burden on the economy — and this is an essential condition — it could encourage innovation and conservation without costly mandates or wasteful subsidies.

If someone had predicted a month ago that President Bush would lead the way toward a meaningful global climate-change policy, they would have been labeled a loon, or worse. In the days leading up to the GU summit, policy mavens predicted the likelihood of a policy breakthrough was slim. But something funny happened on the way to Heiligendamm: The president proposed an alternative way to generate international agreement on climate policy, and now other nations are listening. If we see a climate policy breakthrough in the years ahead, it is possible President Bush will deserve much of the credit.

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