A carbon tax is a good idea but first things first. We need programs in place first. For example, credible alternatives like good electric vehicles with about 250 mile driving range plus many more parking lots with charging stations. All this to encourage switching to EVs from gas and diesel power. Obviously these solutions have to be cost efficient meaning the cost of owning and driving an EV should be equal or less than driving fossil fuels. We should ensure that incentive programs don’t sunset right when we need them most.

Second, we’re at a point when lowering emissions won’t be enough, we have to actively remove carbon from the environment. Unfortunately, too many people see this as a need for technology but that’s expensive. Also, sequestering carbon as compressed gas has the distinct possibility of leaking back into the environment. Additionally, the energy cost of capturing the carbon if using conventional electricity is prohibitive thanks to the second law of thermodynamics. Photosynthesis in the oceans through phytoplankton nurture is highly productive and low cost and we need to get that into the discussion.

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Finally, we need to expand our vision beyond solar and wind. They’re good but not enough. According to a report from MIT we can gain huge amounts of heat energy for generating electricity by tapping heat gradients under the Rocky Mountains. Follow the mountain ranges around the earth and you can see the same pattern under the Alps, Himalayas, the Pacific Rim and more. We need to start that discussion.

If we do these things the picture emerges of many possible solutions and that will have a positive effect on people’s minds. Right now, with few effective solutions in discussion, people get turned off by the whole discussion with the result that we do nothing. That’s the problem with only talking about a carbon tax. We need to answer the question of how this all fits together. I salute you and others for initiating discussions and hope you’ll continue.

Researcher, author of multiple books including “The Age of Sustainability” about solutions for climate change. Technology, business, economics.

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