by Sara Löwgren
It is a well-known and widely accepted fact that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion contribute to the greenhouse effect, which in turn leads to warming of the planet and a changing climate. While projects around the world continue to promote renewable energy, the US government spends $4.7 bn annually on fossil fuel subsidies.
Carbon tax is put forward as a solution to our destructive fossil fuel use by environmentalist groups such as Citizens’ Climate Lobby and the PutAPriceOnIt. Let’s have a look at the most compelling arguments.
Carbon taxes is not a new and untested concept. In most of the EU, in Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, South Africa, Chile, and Mexico systems for taxing carbon emissions are already in place. Canada and China are considering carbon tax.
It has proven itself to be successful for reducing emissions. Sweden implemented a carbon tax in the early 1990’s and it has been important to reducing the country’s emissions. Today, Sweden’s carbon emissions are 4.16 metric tons/capita, a third of the emissions in the 1970’s and a quarter of the emissions per capita in the US.
But isn’t it bad for the economy? Actually not. Some claim carbon tax would be bad for the economy. This is both predicted and already proven to be untrue. Germany adopted a carbon tax policy in 1999 and since then their GDP has grown by 64%. An extensive REMI study of the potential effects of carbon tax in the US predicted an increase of 2.1 million jobs by 2025, if carbon tax had been implemented in 2016.
Carbon taxes is a successful strategy to mitigate the destruction of a flawed economic system. Ideally, we would not be extracting fossil fuels, aiming for constant economic growth, increase production and consumption annually, and buying a clean conscience while polluting our planet. But as of now, that is the system we have and we need to work with it. Taxing carbon emissions seems to be one way to do this.
Will the US government even agree to this? Nah. While the Trump administration has appeared unpredictable, it is probably safe to say that the current government would be reluctant to introducing carbon tax on a national level. It could however be introduced on a state level, which Citizen’s Climate Lobby is advocating for.
Photo credit: photo CC by ribarnica on flickr.com