The Carbon Tax Center was founded in 2007 on the belief that the most direct path to decarbonize the world economy lay in enacting a robust U.S. carbon tax and replicating this policy across the globe.
A dozen years on, we are expanding our program around a new synthesis: a Green New Deal funded by taxes on extreme wealth — “taxing inequality,” you could say — and supported by a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Here’s why:
After decades of denialism by the right and aversion from the right, we have reached a point where, standing alone, a carbon tax is too fraught politically and too weak economically to serve as the centerpiece of U.S. climate policy. We now believe that the path to decarbonizing the U.S. economy lies in a Green New Deal-inspired infrastructure and investment program funded by taxes on extreme wealth and supported by a carbon tax.
CTC envisions a three-part program to accomplish this:
- A Green New Deal plan investing 10 to 20 trillion dollars over a 10-year period to develop the infrastructure, industrial capability, and consumer incentives to decarbonize the U.S. energy system within several decades.
- New taxes on extreme wealth and financial transactions, supplemented by increases in estate taxes, marginal income tax rates, capital gains and corporate taxes, to generate, from the wealthiest American households, the estimated $10 trillion or more needed to pay for the Green New Deal energy programs.
- A rising charge on carbon emissions from fossil fuels that supports the Green New Deal energy programs by shortening payback periods for green investment and inculcating energy efficiency and conservation throughout American society.
In furtherance of this vision, CTC is developing a two-year program of research, writing and advocacy, with much of our findings and analysis published along the way in time to influence the 2020 Presidential and Congressional campaigns and elections. (Our two-year horizon builds in time to finalize the complex technical analysis and brief elected officials, other policymakers and advocacy groups beyond the Nov. 2020 election.)
This redirection is not an abandonment of carbon taxing. Far from it. Rather, we intend to situate carbon taxes in a broader framework that is suited to both the political dynamics and the climate emergency that will characterize the third decade of the 21st Century, and beyond.