1Center or American Progress | A Progressive Carbon Tax Will Fight Climate Change and Stimulate the Economy
A Progressive Carbon Tax Will Fight ClimateChange and Stimulate the Economy
Richard W. Caperton December 6, 2012
Supersorm Sandy. Massive droughs. Devasaing ornadoes. Horric wildres. TeUnied Saes has cerainly seen he dramaic weaher-relaed eecs o climae changein 2012, and every American has in some way been negaively impaced.
Unorunaely,unless we sar aking acion now o curb he greenhouse gas polluion ha’s causinghis exreme weaher, hings are only going o ge worse. Depending on which acions we choose o ake, his year will eiher be he new normal or i will be a glimpse ino auure where condiions are much, much worse.Progressive leaders across he counry are beginning o ake acion and look or ways o ghclimae change. Presiden Barack Obama is using provisions o he Clean Air Ac o reducepolluion rom new power plans.
Caliornia and some Norheasern saes—Connecicu,Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusets, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermon—have regional programs ha pu a price on carbon dioxide and oher greenhousegas polluans in he hope o reducing heir usage.
Tese are powerul seps in he righdirecion, bu hey alone canno solve he challenge o climae change. Avoiding he moscaasrophic consequences o global warming will require much broader acion.Tere are several ways ha he Unied Saes could make a signican conribuion o heglobal gh agains climae change. We could ake Presiden Obama’s acion on new powerplans o he nex level and use he Clean Air Ac o reduce polluion rom exising powerplans and oher major sources o emissions. Te exising regional programs ha chargea ee or polluion could be srenghened and broadened o cover more o he counry, orCongress could ge involved and pu a naionwide price on carbon by creaing a carbon ax.Beore diving ino specics on a naional carbon ax, i’s imporan o recognize hahere are counless ways o pu a price on carbon. A cap-and-rade sysem is one suchmehod, and i’s cerainly possible o design a progressive cap-and-rade sysem. In sucha sysem, a sric cap is se on naional polluion, and polluers mus have permis or allo heir polluion.
Tese permis are reely raded so ha companies can reduce heirpolluion pro by selling permis o oher companies ha may need more polluionallowances. Analysis showed ha he cap-and-rade bill passed in he U.S. House o Represenaives in 2009 would have beneed low-income people, reduced he deci,