Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Great NPR piece on how simple it would be for us to reduce carbon emissions

Posted 28 Jun 2013 / 0

NPR Planet MoneyEconomists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change

I love this piece because it effectively captures the importance of an across-the-board carbon solution. The carbon tax would be relatively easy to enforce, could be used to wean ourselves from carbon-based fuels in a calculated and deliberate manner, and would hurt only those people who stubbornly clung to fossil fuels (and why would you when every incentive was pushing you elsewhere?).

There’s only one problem with the carbon tax: it is a tax. Americans need to get realistic about the important role that taxes play in our society and economy, and grow up about having to pay in their share and pay out for bad behaviors. This is the way modern civilizations work: to go away from taxation is to relinquish a complex economy.

The only thing that this piece fails to address is the issue of international competitiveness. While it talks about how the carbon tax would not penalize us internally (thanks to redistributing revenue towards incentives for low-carbon energy sources), it does not really address the issue of whether or not we would be suffer internationally. If we adopted a carbon tax without coordination with other countries, wouldn’t this benefit them and hurt us?

A Minor Post, Climate Change, Economics, Political Science, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Resource Consumption, Sustainability, Sustainable Energy

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