This article examines the economic, distributional and environmental impacts of the regulated early closure of coal-fired power plants in Portugal using a multi-sector and multi-household dynamic computable general equilibrium model. The closure of the power plants has positive and significant environmental effects. It results, however, in an increase in electricity prices, which, in turn, leads to detrimental macroeconomic and distrib utional effects. We argue that a carbon tax with the same environmental impact would have substantial conceptual, pragmatic and pedagogical advantages over regulated early plant closures. It would generate the tax revenues necessary to mitigate or reverse the adverse macroeconomic and distributional effects. Regulated early closures could be a good second best alternative if there is no political will for or consensus on the implementation of a proper carbon tax with adequate revenue recycling. In any case, these plant closures are far from leading to the reductions in emissions established by the IPCC and adopted by the Portuguese authorities.