My head is about to explode from reading this newspaper article.

The article includes a lengthy “explanation” of climate fairness from Duke Energy. But it doesn’t bother to point out to readers that the reasoning is just, you know, completely false.

…[Duke Energy Chairman James Rogers] would oppose any effort to auction off carbon allowances… That could raise rates for Duke’s Indiana customers by 35 percent by 2012, Rogers said, and amounts to a tax.

“The whole point of cap-and-trade is to put a price on carbon so we can make good economic decisions in the future,” he said. “It’s not about punishing people for making decisions 40 years ago.”

Yep, that Duke Energy sure is looking out for the little guy.

Oh wait, what’s that?

Duke actually supports cap-and-trade? But they want carbon permits handed out to them for free?

And you say that handing out free carbon permits raises prices for consumers every bit as much as auctioning? But with free permits Duke would make gigantic windfall profits? And the windfall would be funded by consumers?

Say it ain’t so!

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  • Okay, I know this carbon pricing stuff is complicated. But it matters. A lot. So reporters need to get up to speed with a quickness.

    The impact on consumer prices is the same whether the permits are auctioned or handed out for free. The only difference is who benefits: the public or polluters. And Duke’s claim is so wildly misleading—and so baldly cynical—that it’s just bad journalism not to provide a counterpoint.

    But that wasn’t the only thing that made me crazy.

    All morning today, the Seattle Times’ front page teaser for the article (below) claimed that the Centralia coal plant emits 60 percent of Washington’s CO-2.

    sea times_200

    But this is not even close. Centrail’s emissions are only about 11 percent of Washington’s total. Data is here (pdf).