California Leads with Proposed Carbon Fee!

02/10/2008 by Daniel Rosenblum

California, with a well-deserved reputation for leading the way on environmental protection, has done it again. Last week the Bay Area Air Quality Management District proposed a carbon fee that would apply to all Air District-permitted facilities emitting greenhouse gases. While the proposed fee is tiny — 4.2 cents per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent, versus the $10.00 per ton of CO2 tax we propose to be incremented each year — imposing the fee would lay a foundation for substantial carbon taxes in the future.

As proposed, the carbon fee is not revenue-neutral; it is designed to recover some costs associated with Climate Protection Program activities related to stationary sources. The small sums that would be collected don’t appear to warrant returning the money to Bay Area residents. If the fee is increased later on, the logic for making it revenue-neutral would be stronger.

According to a story in the Feb. 9 San Jose Mercury News, the proposal has elicited strong support from the Sierra Club. The Club’s executive director, Carl Pope, got it right when he stated, “There are costs associated with emitting carbon dioxide, and the people who emit it should pay the costs."

The Bay Area AQMD’s jurisdiction is all of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Napa Counties plus portions of Solano and Sonoma Counties. Click here to see the full proposal. Comments on the draft rule are due March 7.


  1. Junk science wins again!  How many new taxes have we had heaped upon us in the name of the environment or to save the children? Global warming is due to naturalcycles of the sun, nothing else. We do have a major energy crisis, and conservation and increased energy efficiency should be pushed to the hilt.  Creating yet another taxing agency with their forms, payroll and fees is a step backwards in solving a non-existent problem. Wake up California!  All you’re going to do is drive more jobs out of the state and the USA.

    Comment by Dave — February 17, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

  2. Dave, I agree completely — only by sticking our heads in the sand and saying "everything is fine, the free market will save us" will we be safe from these buzzkill scientists. 
    You, sir, are an idiot.

    Comment by steve — February 19, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

  3. It should be evident to the dullest among us that a carbon tax could help resolve the twofold problem we face: Deteriorating public services because of insufficient tax collections (particularly in California), and rampant carbon emissions that threaten climate stability. Americans do respond to market signals, and a higher effective price for fossil fuels will enable plenty of imaginative responses.BAAQMD’s response is only a tiny step, compared to what’s going in in Europe, but I for one salute their groundbreaking effort.

    Comment by John — February 21, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

  4. To Dave – from Feb. 17, 2008 @ 9:18 pm,

    Leaving aside the overwhelming concensus among climate scientists that we humans are driving the engine of climate change, there is another reason why I dispute the theory that global warming is caused by natural cycles of the sun. It is simply that I believe that my life, and everyone else’s life, makes a difference. What I do or choose not to do has an impact. The far-off hotter sun, theory, however, leaves us all as slaves and victims, who may as well keep driving the three blocks to and from the WalMart because none of our actions matter. No thanks.
    “In an avalanche, every snowflake pleads not guilty.” Stanison Lee

    Comment by Roger Gagne — February 22, 2008 @ 1:22 am

  5. Hi guys, Dave here again.  Solving the energy crisis requires the same things to be done as those who believe in green house effects minus the increased government.Right now, China and India are emitting more carbon than the USA and it’s increasing daily.  We’re all on the same planet folks.  The same money spent here to get that last 2% out here could reduce China’s and India’s emissions by 50%.Now how do we get our tax dollars over there and insure it’s really spent on emission control and energy and higher efficiency machines and appliances? 

    Comment by Dave — February 27, 2008 @ 9:41 pm

  6. Hi Dave, I thought for you-
    China and India do emit more carbon than the US, mainly because they have so many people living there.  The US still emits the most on a per capita basis.  That means that YOU could make a bigger difference by changing your own habits than could most people in the world. 
    And to put your worries to rest, China has made renewable/sustainable energy a top priority.  The government there has been bled dry from their energy imports (they have price ceilings for consumers, and the government/PUD eats the cost).  I suspect we’ll be seeing some huge alternative energy products occuring in China very soon.

    Comment by Nicko — June 27, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

  7. [...] some form of carbon tax, mostly in Scandinavia. On the sub-national level, British Columbia and the San Francisco Bay Area recently proposed some form of the tax tax. Costs for carbon taxes can be passed on to consumers [...]

    Pingback by Transition Times :: Transition Times » Blog Archive » The Next Decade’s Top Sustainability Trends — January 12, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

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