According to the Wall Street Journal’s Monthly Economic Forecasting Survey; February 2007, 85% of the surveyed economists believe the government should encourage development of alternatives to fossil fuels. When asked "what is the most economically sound way for the government to encourage development of alternatives to fossil fuels," 54% responded with "taxes that raise the cost of purchasing fossil fuels." The next largest category was "other" at 28%, followed by "subsidies for producers of alternative fuels" at 13%.
According to former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, as quoted in the International Herald Tribune, taxes either on emissions or on petroleum could be effective in
reducing global warming, that it would be wiser to impose a tax on oil
than wait for the market to force prices up, that measures to reduce
global warming would not be economically devastating and, putting the
issue in perspective:
"What may happen to the dollar, and what may happen to
growth in China or whatever," he said, raising his voice, "pale into
insignificance compared with the question of what happens to this
planet over the next 30 or 40 years if no action is taken."