A while back we talked about the carbon tax in British Columbia and how it resulted in a dramatic reduction in carbon fuel use without any harm to the local economy. Many economists believe that carbon taxes are one of the best ways to promote lower greenhouse gas emissions.
That idea is going to at least get some serious discussion in New York where Assembly members Kevin Cahill and Barbara Lifton introduced a bill in August to tax carbon dioxide emissions at $40 a metric ton increasing by $10 each year until it reaches $180 a metric ton. Sixty percent of the proceeds would be refunded to the lowest income earners in the state and the rest would help support the transition to clean energy in New York by supporting mass transit and other initiatives.
Sara Hsu is an economics professor at SUNY New Paltz.
“Climate change must be addressed through energy policy, since it is mainly through the burning of fossil fuels that we generate greenhouse gases. The proposed New York state-level carbon tax introduced into the state legislature in August would reduce use of carbon-intensive fuels by levying a tax on gas, oil, coal, and natural gas. This in turn would help to reduce state emissions and improve the state’s adaptation to climate change.”
A market-based solution of one sort or another is likely to be the most effective way to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. New York is exploring both taxes and cap-and-trade systems, both of which have pros and cons. It remains to be seen what the state will end up doing.
Photo, posted July 30, 2012, courtesy of Greg Goebel via Flickr.
Earth Wise is a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.