Divestment vs. Pricing Carbon

Published in the Denver Post on December 24, 2016

If, as the Independent Petroleum Association of America insists, DU’s prospective divestment of its endowment fund from the top 200 fossil-fuel companies is only a “symbolic gesture” that would not affect the price of energy industry stocks, one might well wonder why the IPAA is expending so much effort and money to “launch a counter-attack” against students and others advocating for that divestment. Methinks they doth protest too much!

However, if we would simply put a price on carbon, which would begin to reflect the social and environmental costs of extracting, processing and burning fossil fuels, the divestment movement would be unnecessary; the market would quickly take care of it. One might think the IPAA and the companies they represent, if they are really interested in developing alternative, renewable energy sources, might welcome such a market solution, since it would greatly enhance incentives for them to do so.

Nelson Bock, Denver

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