Many a great idea has been deflated by a simple question: "That's nice, but who's going to pay for it?" That question hovered like a cloud over the international climate conference in Paris a week ago.
There is an old saying for people who are stuck in an unhealthy situation: If you want to get out of a hole, stop digging. There is a corollary for a world addicted to fossil fuels: If you want to cure the addiction, stop subsidizing the drug.
Like many things, there may be a time and a place for using subsidies. But they need to be better targeted. And, often, there will be better alternatives. Alternatives that do a better job of protecting the poor.