Ban Fossil Fuels? Readers Had Strong Thoughts.

February 21, 2024

I got a lot of responses to my Friday newsletter on restricting the supply of fossil fuels, one of which said “oof no” in the subject line. It was from an economist named Benjamin Ho, who wrote that he usually likes my newsletter, “But, oh boy, was today’s off track.”

I wrote that while a ban on production of fossil fuels would bring the economy to a halt if enforced right away, “a ban or severe restriction isn’t entirely crazy, either, if it’s phased in as part of a long-term plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to zero.”

Mark Paul, an economist at Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, wrote that he’s a “huge advocate” of putting a price on carbon, as Ho is, but “we simply need to consider a far broader swath of policy tools to facilitate rapid decarbonization.” He wrote that if the United States decreased its demand for fossil fuels but didn’t simultaneously curb its production of them, there would be an oversupply that would cause world prices to fall and foreign demand to rise.

The New York Times, February 21, 2024

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