You think a carbon tax will necessarily be onerous, but that is just wishful thinking. A carbon tax is being tried in the USA, it works, it has negligible effect on the economy, electricity bills have come down for factories and home-owners relative to the rest of the USA which *doesn't* have a carbon tax. Look up the regional greenhouse gas initiatives annual reports.
The cost of pollution is already factored in by regulations limiting particular matter, sulfides, and other harmful chemicals. Nuclear energy costs are driven more by irrational fear than thoughtful policy, based on facts.
Yes and no. The cost of sulfide pollution is *partially* factored in -- enough to ameliorate acid rain. The cost of carbon pollution is *not* factored in, and big carbon does not want it factored in, for obvious reasons. It's free money to them, since they shift the burden of their activity onto others. Like if your neighbours dumped their garbage in your bins, and you end up paying for it.
This stuff about people wanting PURE this and that is a distraction. There are earth-is-holy-capitalism-bad nutcases who know more about their tree spirit, but that's not what scientists are talking about. So lets restrict the focus of attention to what serious scientists and economists have to say on the issue.
Carbon pollution refers to soot and/or CO2. Sure CO2 is essential to life (soot isn't), but that is another distraction. What is essential to life, but that doesn't mean you can't kill yourself with it.
The science says that if you dump lots of CO2 in the atmosphere, you'll change the biosphere of the earth, and that may not be pretty. The economists say that that is going to cost a lot of money.
Action on the issue is practically free in an aggregate sense, as evidenced in the USA (regional greenhouse gas initiative), Germany, Australia, UK, China, etc. Action does reduce the amount of carbon pollution, and also creates economic activity, and *lowers* peoples electricity bills fairly quickly. (Factor, business and consumer.) This experiment has been run for many years of a large part of the US economy. No eco-fascism emerged.
If we tax carbon, and put those funds directly towards offsetting the costs on consumers, then that drives innovation, and the market will work out the rest. It's been done. It works. If the US doesn't get serious, then they will fall behind the rest of the world in the emerging technology, just as M$ failed with the internet in the 90s.