Times science blogger John Tierney beamed the spotlight on CTC big-time in his front-page blog today:
If you thought there was something missing in the energy section of the State of the Union Address, there’s a new Web site to fill in the gap.
President Bush last night dutifully mentioned the "serious challenge of global climate change" and reeled off ways to address it – burn less gasoline, subsidize other forms of energy. In the Democrats’ response, Sen. James Webb of Virginia dutifully talked of "affirmative solutions" and "a wave of entrepreneurial growth in the form of alternate energy programs." But neither he nor Mr. Bush went anywhere near economists’ favorite prescription for slowing global warming: a carbon tax.
The tax is taboo in Washington, but now there’s a place it dares speak its name: the Carbon Tax Center,
which opened this week with the aim of becoming "the village square for civic and political conversations about the why, who, and how of taxing CO2 emissions in the U.S. and, eventually, the world."
Tierney notes that taxing carbon is an uphill fight. Okay, carbon taxers, let’s start evening the odds. Post a comment on his blog and let the fur fly!
Jonathan Banks says
You could make an argument about a carbon tax being a good way to deal with stationary sources such as power plants (there are more effective ways). However, using a carbon tax to tackle the entire economy’s emissions is a really bad idea. For example, if Congress decided to immediately impose a CO2e tax of $30, that would, after being passed down from the refinery, end up being .30$ on a gallon of gas. We aren’t going to change the automotive sector or the automotive consumer on .30$ a gallon. We have to deal with the auto sector in a separate fashion than the way we deal with stationary sources.
I’m all for the carbon tax and do hope policians step up to the plate sooner rather than later with implementing it. I’m just wondering how dietary choices would be handled since eating meat contributes more to GHG than transportation: "According
to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas
emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent — 18 percent — than transport.
It is also a major source of land and water degradation." (http://www.wellfedworld.org/globalwarming.htm) This was conveniently left out of An Inconvenient Truth and doesn’t seem to be addressed anywhere on your website, either.
Nancy Anderson says
Are carbon taxes and cap & trade schemes mutually exclusive in all domains? Since cap & trade is currently the hot paradigm, I hope to see you address this.
Jonathan — A 30 cent a gallon gas tax would indeed reduce use of gasoline and the associated CO2 emissions — by around 5%, based on the long-term price-elasticity of 40% we assume. More importantly, repeating this step multiple times would have a multiple impact. This isn’t to say that a gas or carbon tax alone is the solution, rather that a carbon tax is essential to support sector-specific initiatives as well as to reach into all of the economy’s nooks and crannies that can’t be reached by efficiency standards alone.
Allison — I agree that livestock are an important source of global-warming gases. However, I’m a little wary of the conclusions being drawn from the FAO report. Since transport — not just passenger cars but air travel as well (but excluding freight movement) — accounts for around 25% of CO2 emissions, its share would seem to exceed the 18% that FAO evidently ascribes to livestock. But we at CTC would be thrilled if you could help get us up to speed. Please send us the link to the FAO report itself? And perhaps you can let us know if there are low-emission ways to raise livestock? Thanks.
Nancy — Carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes do seem to be alternative rather than complementary. As for the latter being the hot paradigm, I’d simply say that cap-and-trade is the star to which some big wagons have been hitched, perhaps prematurely, on the premise that taxing carbon was too heavy a lift. CTC aims to disprove that. What did you think of our pro-con essay on this on our Issues Page?
Beatriz Cruz says
I am against the carbon tax , we are taxed to the gills already and the Glibal Warming is a hoax and this tax won’t change the weather but it will sure make a lot of already rich people a whole lot richer like Al Gore!