Brooke Rollins & Chip Roy discuss the idea of a carbon tax in Texas and nationally.

What is a carbon tax? It’s often pitched as an economically painless “market” mechanism for addressing a compelling public problem — in this case, climate change. It’s based on the notion that free markets fail to account for broader social costs. For example, this thinking goes, the price paid for a piece of fruit at the grocery store does not account for the carbon dioxide emissions involved in its growth, harvest, preservation, or transport — and the damage those emissions might have on society by, say, making a future hurricane more intense.

That’s why carbon tax-supporter Sen. Bernie Sanders calls his legislation the “Climate Protection and Justice Act.”

But supporters of a carbon tax are wrong. Carbon isn’t a commodity. And it’s not a form of injustice. It’s a building-block of life. Without it, plants, animals, and humans alike would not exist. Moreover, carbon-based fossil fuels have supported unmatched economic prosperity since the Industrial Revolution.

We know what the effects of a carbon tax would be in America because we can already see them happening from such destructive policies in Europe where outrageously high prices of basic goods are forcing people to choose between food on the table and heating in the home. Even more damning and ironic is the last resort to burn wood for fuel in places like Germany.

That’s because in its desperation to make these policies look as if they’re working, the European Union counts firewood as “biomass,” and considers it carbon-neutral. It’s not — indoor burning releases more carbon dioxide than burning coal and is bringing back the respiratory ailments of previous centuries. Taxes meant to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are, paradoxically, encouraging even more of its releases at the household level – in homes desperate to stay warm.

Something else to understand about the real effects of a carbon tax is the tremendous aid it will give to those seeking to crush competition and gain an unfair advantage in our marketplace. Big corporations and big industries can bear the costs — of accounting, compliance, diminished sales — imposed by a carbon tax, which they then pass along to consumers. Their smaller competitors, hit harder by the costs of compliance, might not.

Think of the carbon tax, then, as an energy-specific counterpart to Dodd-Frank, or ObamaCare: only the huge and politically connected survive. And the small businesses and consumers lose.

Learn more about the carbon tax here: