Felix Salmon

The realistic and the optimal ways to overhaul energy taxes

Back in December, Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, came out with a pretty bold proposal to simplify America’s energy taxes, and to focus them on a simple goal: that the US should emit less carbon. That should be a pretty easy thing to do, in theory: you just raise taxes on the more carbon-intensive energy sources, while not raising them, or even cutting them, on sustainable energy sources. Except that’s not the way the US tax code works. America, it turns out, doesn’t really tax energy at all: instead, it subsidizes energy. And the amounts of money involved are very large:

How much carbon does bike-sharing save?

How should bike-share services pay for themselves? Up until now, the main model has been sponsorship and advertising. But CityRyde has a bright idea: why not sell carbon offsets?