The 2014 UT Energy Forum is starting off strong with Bob Ingles of the Energy & Enterprise Institute. His history in politics and energy policy gives his words more weight than I would typically ascribe to a conservative politician talking about clean energy. The E&EI’s mission, to change the conservative mindset regarding energy policy and progress toward a sustainable future, is one that has the potential to unlock a government that is schizophrenic regarding energy policy and subsidies. Early on Ingles said, “The definition of sustainability is making a profit,” setting a conservative capitalist tone that was equal parts reassuring and provocative. The E&EI is urging a removal of subsidies that tip the scales in favor of wind, solar and other renewables, which predictably sent a shudder through the balance of attendees. Now that he had the room’s attention, Ingles let the other shoe fall: the most important subsidy for policy makers to target is the one that allows polluters to burn and dump carbon into the sky largely free of charge. Removing subsidies while holding polluters accountable levels the playing field far better for the entire range of clean energy technologies, encouraging greater use of nuclear power while allowing wind and solar to compete. The true cost of carbon may soon be revered as fact across the political spectrum.