What are Carbon Taxes?

What are Carbon Taxes and how can they help our Environment?

I was just reading the Sustainability Hub blog on a new proposal for Chinese Carbon Taxes called…

No More Excuses America. China Has A Carbon Tax

This really is big news. The Sustainability Hub goes on to point out an Article in the Washington Post that tries to determine the effectiveness of that potential tax.  In that article they do point out three things;

1) China’s carbon tax is likely to be small at first.  Estimated to add only $1 to a ton of coal right now and increasing in the future.

2) Any carbon-tax regime in China would probably have loopholes.  Fees in many provinces tend to be waived by local governments.  This is being looked at by their government to enforce more strictly in the future. 

3) Much of the cost of China’s carbon tax would be borne by other countries.  Chinese officials have consistently argued that the end-consumer country, and not the producer country, should bear the burden of paying for carbon emissions.  This means a lot of the cost would be passed on to the U.S. and European Nations!

Nevertheless, the Post goes on to point out that this is a lot more than our Congress has proposed!

See the following link for the full article.


A Typical Bulk Coal Carrying Ship

A Typical Bulk Coal Carrying Ship

So What will Carbon Taxes be used for?

First you must understand what a carbon tax is. I’ve always kind of known subliminally.  But once you start reading about it, it gets more and more complicated.

Wikipedia has the following definition of a “Carbon Tax”.

A carbon tax is a Pigovian tax levied on the carbon content of fuels.[1] It is a form of carbon pricing.

What the hey is a Pigovian Tax you might ask!

A Pigovian tax (also spelled Pigouvian tax) is a tax applied to a market activity that generates negative externalities. The tax is intended to correct the market outcome. In the presence of negative externalities, the social cost of a market activity is not covered by the private cost of the activity. In such a case, the market outcome is not efficient and may lead to over-consumption of the product. A Pigovian tax equal to the negative externality is thought to correct the market outcome back to efficiency.

In other words the negative externality is CO2 emissions with the resulting climate changes.

They go on to note;   Carbon taxes offer a potentially cost-effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.[6] From an economic perspective, carbon taxes are a type of Pigovian tax.[7] They help to address the problem of emitters of greenhouse gases not facing the full (social) costs of their actions.

I believe this means they can use the Carbon Tax revenue to help fix things.  At least I hope they do!

Furthermore; A carbon tax is an indirect tax—a tax on a transaction—as opposed to a direct tax, which taxes income.

And of course the major issue here is this;  Many large users of carbon resources in electricity generation, such as the United States, Russia and China, are resisting carbon taxation.

Now with China proposing Carbon taxes…that leaves just two of the major users left to act!

For the full definition and citations go to the following link…


So Where Does This Leave Us?

Well nowhere actually.  Our government still is bogged down in agenda warfare and very little progress is being made in any area.  In the meantime, Carbon Dioxide generating businesses and producers continue adding CO2 to our atmosphere.  If you have been following any of the Climate Change issues this is not good.  Action needs to be taken to reduce these emissions now.  Even if all emissions were stopped now, CO2 can remain persistent in our atmosphere from 50-200 years.  Temperatures on our planet will continue to rise.

What Can We Do?

Like the saying goes “How do you eat an elephant…one bite at a time”.  So take one bite and write a letter to your congressman. Take two bites and send them two letters. Tell them you are tired of inaction toward the environment and ask them to support Carbon Taxes!  Without these taxes we have little ability to fund the necessary cleanup of our antiquated carbon spewing power plants and other CO2 generating enterprises.

One of many Coal Burning Power Plants!

One of many Coal Burning Power Plants!


About rsingram

Environmental Specialist, Disaster Reservist, Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, Para-Archeologist
This entry was posted in Climate Change, Economics, Education, Environment, Political Action, Pollution and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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