Reduce Global Warming With a Carbon Tax

The author of the economy page column "A Different View Of Global Warming," May 21, rightly concludes that we should "pursue policies and actions that make sense even if the enhanced greenhouse effect does not exist." But he then endorses the old short-run business solution of tax credits.

One must ask: Who finances the investment tax credits? Tax credits, including those that inspire more energy efficient production, reduce the tax revenue from investors but necessarily increase the revenue that must come from others.

More important, this policy reinforces the view that carbon-dioxide emissions leading to global warming are acceptable and the atmosphere is a "free good" available for the taking.

Alternatively, a carbon tax reaffirms that a clean atmosphere is an increasingly scarce common good critical to our long-run survival. Those that produce and use products creating the carbon emissions must pay the full cost of such products, including the atmospheric damages.

The carbon tax will both inspire investment in energy-efficient production and reduction in the use of products creating the emissions. William F. Stolte, Berea, Ky. Praise for Vaclav Havel

Regarding the editorial "The Second `Velvet Revolution'," May 22: Let's hear it for Vaclav Havel. How refreshing to hear a "politician" argue that "prosperity will mean little until acrimonious relationships within the community are improved." What wisdom from an outsider. Who wouldn't want to vote for an individual who recognizes that money is not the answer to healing divisiveness? Ruth M. Engelmann, Tinley Park, Ill. Overpopulation and the water supply

The special report "The World's Water," May 27, should be read by all. What needs to be done to have enough water for our future?

One article in the report, "Let's Develop Wells and Educate Third-World Women," by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, says that today "1.7 million human beings have no access to potable water," due to overpopulation. Such problems can only multiply until we level off population. William B. Martin Jr., Enfield, N.H.

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