Luke S. Michigan

Carbon Tax

A proposal to put a tax on a carbon based fossil fuels that will drive up costs for polluters and encourage growth in green energy fields

 Everyone has had a moment when they are awed by the power of nature. This is not always a pleasant experience and can often be terrifying. Whether it is a massive storm or marveling at a mountain or a huge valley, nature finds a way to humble us. We can all agree that nature must be respected or we risk dire consequences. A big part of climate change is the increase of violent storms and extreme weather. An obstruction to new carbon regulations is the fact that a majority of congress simply does not believe in climate change. Now if you don’t believe that it exists here are some facts. According to NASA, the earth’s temp raised .87 degrees Celsius and we lose 281.0 Gigatonnes of land ice per year. Carbon dioxide levels are the highest in 650,000 years. Extraction of groundwater, fossil fuels, and sometimes simply generations of farming, are causing large metropolitan areas in coastal zones around the world to subside surprisingly quickly- making the relative rise of adjacent seas an even greater potential hazard. This will most likely not happen during our lifetime, but what about our children’s or their children’s lifetime. We only have one world could we please not ruin it?

One solution that has proposed to limit the burning of fossil fuel is a carbon tax. This would be enforced at the highest level so the companies producing gasoline and coal would pay the tax rather than the individuals actually burning the fuel. Some of the proposed start the tax as fifteen to twentyfive dollars per metric ton of carbon that will be released. This means that coal will be taxed at the highest rate while petroleum and natural gas will have the lowest rates under the tax. The price of gasoline and electricity will go up due to the tax but that is the entire point of the tax. In Alberta a twenty dollar a ton tax was put in place and the price of gas only went up by seven cents. Many plans also call for tax rebates to lower income families. The Alberta tax gives out two hundred dollars to low income singles and three hundred sixty dollars to poor families of four or more. The average cost to a citizen was only one hundred ninety one dollars so most poor citizens would come out ahead in the end. The rest of tax can be spent however you like Mr./Mrs. President. It could be used to invested in green energy or give further rebates to small businesses. The extra money could even be used to reduce our crushing national debt!

The other market based proposal to cut back on carbon emissions is to implement a cap and trade system. This is a complex system where the government gives permits to businesses that specify how much pollution they can be responsible for. The businesses can then trade or buy other’s credits to meet the requirements of the permits. This scheme falls apart due to the highly bureaucratic nature of the system. Government officials may favor some companies over others and separating business and government is quite tricky as evidenced by 3.22 billion dollars spent on lobbying last year alone. A carbon tax is a simple and elegant solution that is fairly simple when compared to the nightmare that is navigating the cap and trade situation.

In conclusion Mr./Mrs. President our planet is the most important resource we have. It has given us all it has and allowed humans to build the magnificent infrastructure that we see around us today. It is time for us to give back to the planet and for once in our species existence give and not only take.