The reform plan released this week by President Trump and congressional leaders doesn’t mention the highly controversial idea of a carbon tax, but analysts believe there’s a real opportunity for Democrats to push for fees on emissions as part of a broader, once-in-a-generation compromise on taxes.
Where can revenue scorers get the $1 trillion over 10 years the border tax was supposed to raise? Well, ahem, a carbon tax is also a consumption tax. To make it acceptable to free marketers, it would have to come with a full stop to all climate-related mandates and subsidies including fuel-mileage rules. It would also have to be clear that all carbon-tax proceeds are being used to cut payroll or income taxes.
If the president is open to taking the advice in Todd Stern’s Jan. 25 op-ed, “The deal of the century on climate,” he should do so by pursuing the one option that would also help him deliver on tax reform and infrastructure. That option is a carbon fee, which a large majority of economists (and our incoming secretary of state) say is the quickest, most efficient and most potent solution to climate change. If Congress finally puts a price on carbon emissions, the free market will drive down the use of carbon. That’s what Canada is doing
The paper is piling up at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is in the cross hairs of half the states, and judges are plowing through briefs filed by more than 1,000 trade associations, lawmakers, advocacy groups and others with a point of view.
Lawmakers who oppose taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions by putting a price on carbon often argue that doing so would hurt businesses and consumers. But the energy policies adopted by some American states and Canadian provinces demonstrate that those arguments are simply unfounded.
Having agreed to ambitious new targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in Paris, the world’s nations now need a way to hit those targets.