Putting a Price on Carbon

Nicolas Loris /

During the 2009 Offshore Technology Conference yesterday a lengthy panel took place to discuss meeting America’s energy challenges in both the near and the long term. The list of the panelists can be found below. Although not everyone came out and said it, a number of the panelists concluded a price on carbon was necessary.

Marvin Odum, President of Shell Oil, was the first to come out and say it. While he acknowledged it will cost energy prices to rise, he supported cap-and-trade legislation that would reduce carbon dioxide reduction. He mentioned that the legislation must be done right and cannot hurt the economy, suggesting that a gradual phasing of reduction cuts would be ideal. Other members of the panel concurred.
But the reality is that any carbon reduction scheme (a carbon tax was also mentioned) will have significant economic consequences. Either way, it’s a tax on energy consumption. In fact, it would act as a huge tax. If enacted, cap-and-trade will be one of the government’s largest revenue sources within the next decade.