The PEW Charitable Trusts Environmental Initiatives Clean Energy Program released this infographic earlier this month that shows how the future of Clean Energy policy matters to the tune of $1.9 Trillion. The evidence for the continued need for a Clean Energy Action Plan builds. We thank PEW for this valuable insight and validation of some of the work we accomplish at CEA.
Last Wednesday, Independence Day, two authors, Yoram Bauman, an environmental economist and fellow at Sightline Institute in Seattle and Shi-Ling Hsu, a law professor at Florida State University who is the author of “The Case for a Carbon Tax” published an Op-Ed in the New York Times.
We question whether it is the most sensible tax because of our familiarity with James Hansen’s fee-and-dividend approach to reduce carbon emissions. While similar to Mr. Hansen’s concept, a carbon tax may be sensible, but it would be up to We the People to ensure that our citizen voices were heard as it was implemented and assessed in a way that achieved clean, renewable energy and carbon neutrality goals. A tax certainly seems to be a more transparent policy when compared and contrasted to a cap-and-trade model. However, is the fee-and-dividend action in the public interest the least opaque?
The authors highlight the following:
- The carbon tax in British Columbia is a substitute for other taxes.
- Takes the place of payroll, business, investment and employee taxes.
- Preliminary data show greenhouse gases have been reduced 4.5% in the four years since the inception of the tax.
- This despite increases in population and GDP.
- Gasoline sales down 2% since 2007.
- 5% increase over same time period across the rest of Canada.
- Non-partisan policy that has aspects that both Republicans and Democrats favor.
- Tax breaks for both high and low income populations.
- Families, businesses and industry could control the amount of carbon tax paid by reducing their carbon footprint.
- Promotes energy conservation and investment into productive economic activity.
- Moves economy away from consumption and borrowing toward saving and investment.
Mr. Hansen’s fee-and-dividend approach: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2010/20100112_PeopleVersusCap.pdf
The British Columbia Ministry of Finance Carbon Tax Review and Overview: http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/tbs/tp/climate/carbon_tax.htm