Paul L. Caron

Monday, May 20, 2024

A Future for Carbon Taxation?

Myanna Dellinger (EinStrong Foundation),  A Future for Carbon Taxation?, 46 Fordham Int'l L.J. 659 (2023): 

Fordham international law journalCarbon taxation has been the topic of academic and political discussions for quite some time. With the exception of some Northern European countries, far too few states or nations have adopted taxation in amounts likely to impact climate change mitigation positively. However, simply writing off a potential governmentally imposed price on carbon as not feasible is not warranted. First, in a world where we need urgent action from all angles, a carbon tax could prove to be one of several inroads on climate change. There is no one “silver bullet” in this area. Second, since the mere phrasing of the issue as one of “taxation” nearly always elicits negativity in the United States, something as simple as reframing the issue in ways palatable to a broader political spectrum could garner more support. Third, as a younger and more environmentally conscious generation comes into voting age and power, opinions about carbon pricing are shifting. 

This Essay will briefly examine how a carbon tax could be imposed, the tax amounts now required after years of inaction, and how carbon tax revenue could be distributed equitably. The latter enjoys support among voters. Carbon taxation could thus still be a two-fold success: while it could help mitigate or pay for climate change, it could also help redistribute income to the people who need it the most. This redistribution could boost the global economy as exceptionally high profits have concentrated wealth in the oil and gas industry while people around the world are suffering from the damage from climate change caused by the wealthiest nations on earth.

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