A Convenient Tax – Issue #1

(Note: We’ve changed the newsletter’s name. While the “truth” about global climate change may have been inconvenient, the carbon tax for combating it is straightforward, transparent and simple to administer — in a word, convenient! — CK & DR)

Welcome to the first issue of A Convenient Tax, the Carbon Tax Center’s newsletter. It’s been a very successful initial two months. Here are highlights.

Our Successful Launch

In just two short months the Carbon Tax Center (“CTC”) has established a strong presence in Washington DC, New York City, within the environmental community and throughout the Blogosphere. Here’s a quick snapshot of what CTC has accomplished since our Jan. 22 start.

  • Created the first Web site (www.carbontax.org ) devoted to taxing carbon emissions.
  • Formed a working partnership with veteran Washington (DC) environmental advocates who are committed to advancing a carbon tax in the current (110th) Congress and enacting one as soon as possible.
  • Provided technical assistance to legislative staff of a senior House Ways & Means Committee member (and gained a higher tax level in his anticipated carbon tax bill).
  • Raised probing questions about the “cap-and-trade” approach advocated by some large environmental groups and corporations, while maintaining a united front on the necessity of putting a price on carbon emissions,
  • Presented the case for “Carbon Taxes First” to an overflow Capitol Hill briefing organized by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), and at other meetings in New York, Washington and Westchester County (NY).
  • Developed a preliminary analysis suggesting that CTC’s proposed 10-year phased-in $370/ton carbon tax (ramped up by $37/ton, the equivalent of a 10c/gallon addition to petroleum prices, each year) could reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide by at least one-third.
  • Shared information and strategy with carbon tax advocates in several dozen states, including developers of carbon tax proposals for Colorado, New York and Washington, DC.

CTC Media Highlights

  • CTC’s comprehensive, accessible web site attracts 100-150 visits a day from across the USA as well as Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia, making www.carbontax.org the #2-ranked site on Google for those searching “carbon tax,” surpassed only by Wikipedia. Note: On April 12 we leapfrogged Wikipedia, making us #1 on Google.
  • Prominent and complimentary coverage of CTC’s launch in the online version of the New York Times in late January, in Times columnist John Tierney’s Science Blog.
  • Time Magazine‘s use of CTC’s estimate of the carbon-reduction impact of a carbon tax in its Global Warming Survival Guide (under solution #5: Pay The Carbon Tax ).
  • Strong presence in online discussions of carbon taxes and cap-and-trade, including repeated mentions of CTC in Gristmill and Slate.
  • Attack on carbon taxing and CTC by climate deniers at Accuracy In Media.

Going Forward

The climate debate “has shifted incredibly quickly,” wrote New York Times economics columnist David Leonhardt this week, and “the political debate now revolves around what … action should be [taken].” The next two years are the crucial period during which competing policies to reduce carbon emissions will be examined for their effectiveness, cost and political viability. CTC’s strategic goals focus on shaping that debate and properly framing the issues by:

  • Working with environmental organizations and other allies to solidify support for the concept of “putting a price on carbon.”
  • Gradually educating opinion leaders, grassroots organizations and decision-makers that while cap-and-trade is also a vehicle to put a price on carbon, carbon taxes are far superior because they provide a more predictable and less volatile price and are transparent, immediate, universal and equitable.

While CTC’s action plan will necessarily remain flexible, we anticipate engaging in the following activities during the next one to two years:

  • Continuing to develop intellectual ammunition on key issues including revenue recycling, tax equity, “co-benefits” of a carbon tax (e.g., for national security), and the potential “bang” for each carbon tax “buck.”
  • Providing technical assistance to opinion leaders, grassroots organizations and decision-makers, including responding to requests for technical information from political campaigns.
  • Assisting local and state-level carbon tax initiatives seeking to build on Boulder’s partial carbon tax adopted last November.
  • Spearheading a sign-on statement by economists and other experts calling a tax on carbon emissions more effective, transparent and equitable than a carbon cap-and-trade regime.
  • Working with a broad coalition of interest groups (labor, environmental, economic justice, national security, etc.) to support carbon taxes through a national sign-on statement and other actions.

That’s how things look at this juncture (April 1, 2007). It’s clear to us that CTC is proving its effectiveness every day. But we can’t continue to play our essential role without your financial help. We heartily thank all of you who have already donated to CTC. We ask carbon tax supporters who are not yet CTC contributors to become so today.

You can contribute to CTC in three ways, of which two are tax-deductible:

  • Tax-deductible: Write a check or money order to ELPC (Environmental Law & Policy Center), writing Carbon Tax Center in the memo line; mail it to ELPC at 35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60601. ELPC is CTC’s fiscal sponsor.
  • Tax-deductible : Make an on-line contribution via Groundspring by clicking on the DONATE NOW box on our website, www.carbontax.org.
  • Not deductible: Write a check or money order to Carbon Tax Center and send it to our New York City mailing address: CTC, 636 Broadway, Room 602, New York, NY 10012.

Just as a carbon tax now will send climate-appropriate price signals to businesses and individuals and help lock in low-carbon investment for the long haul, your financial support today will enable CTC to build on our current successes and chart a growth trajectory. Please be as generous as you can, and please donate today. Thank you.


Charles Komanoff
Daniel W. Rosenblum



  1. evanthomaspaul@gmail.com' says

    Hi guys,  Another group you might want to connect with is Redefining Progress.  They did some work on "Tax Waste, Not Work" a while back (summary here) and their ED is on the board of lots of different environmental initiatives.  They’ve got a lot of smart people working for them and could be helpful in your research, policy development, message development, etc.

  2. steveninness@yahoo.com'Steve says

    I fully support a carbon tax. However, carbon is not the problem. Carbon dioxide, methane, and so forth are. As you are likely aware, methane is a 21 times more potent "greenhouse gas" than carbon dioxide. If the tax is determined by the amount of carbon emitted (CO2 is 27.29% carbon, for example), we will be missing the real culprit. I say, let’s have a CARBON DIOXIDE tax and a METHANE tax and so forth which will be based upon how much each gas contributes to global warming. For example, if carbon dioxide wre to be taxed at $1/kilogram, methane should be taxed at $21/kilogram. This way we can accurately reflect these externalities.

Last modified: April 4, 2007