It just occurred to me that there might be a way to both (a) spur the development of effective carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and (b) circumvent the apparent political impossibility of creating a carbon price. It involves treating tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution like soda cans.
Instead of charging people a fee based on their tonnes of emissions, as an incentive to use less, you could require everyone to pay a disposal fee for the carbon up front when they buy oil, gas, or coal. It’s possible to separate carbon dioxide (CO2) from air and to bury it underground. The cost of doing so could be built into the disposal fee. For instance, if it cost $600 to bury a tonne of carbon, there could be a $600 deposit required on that quantity of fossil fuel. If you burn it, capture the carbon, and sequester it then the deposit gets returned to you. If you just vent the CO2 into the air, then you lose the deposit. The effect is similar to a carbon tax, with an exemption for firms that demonstrably nullify their emissions. (Of course all the issues with safety and verification and CCS remain.)
A $600 carbon price would have a large and immediate effect on an economy like Canada’s, so this probably isn’t politically possible either. (Of course, it would be possible to start lower and scale up, giving people more time to adjust.) There may well be all sorts of other problems with it also, but I thought it was an idea worth contemplating.