2012 NYT OpEd urges us to tax our way to the climate we want! A carbon tax would result in ‘climate stability’ & prevent an ‘end [to] life as we know it’ – Claimed big increase in gasoline prices “would eventually result in climate stability”


By: - Climate DepotAugust 26, 2012 1:15 PM

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Early studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that a carbon tax of up to $80 per metric ton of emissions — a tax that might raise gasoline prices by 70 cents a gallon — would eventually result in climate stability. But because recent estimates about global warming have become more pessimistic, stabilization may require a much higher tax. How hard would it be to live with a tax of, say, $300 a ton?

If such a tax were phased in, the prices of goods would rise gradually in proportion to the amount of carbon dioxide their production or use entailed. The price of gasoline, for example, would slowly rise by somewhat less than $3 a gallon. Motorists in many countries already pay that much more than Americans do, and they seem to have adapted by driving substantially more efficient vehicles.

A carbon tax would also serve two other goals. First, it would help balance future budgets. Tens of millions of Americans are set to retire in the next decades, and, as a result, many budget experts agree that federal budgets simply can’t be balanced with spending cuts alone. We’ll also need substantial additional revenue, most of which could be generated by a carbon tax.

Prof. Frank’s columns in the NY Times Sunday business section:

Reducing CO2 emissions would actually be surprisingly easy. The most effective remedy would be a carbon tax, which would raise the after-tax price of goods in rough proportion to the size of their carbon footprint. Gasoline would become more expensive, piano lessons would not. … [W]e could insulate ourselves from catastrophic [climate] risk at relatively modest cost by enacting a steep carbon tax. Early studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that a carbon tax of up to $80 per metric ton of emissions — a tax that might raise gasoline prices by 70 cents a gallon— would eventually result in climate stability. But because recent estimates about global warming have become more pessimistic, stabilization may require a much higher tax. How hard would it be to live with a tax of, say, $300 a ton? … Carbon Tax Silence, Overtaken by Events, Aug. 25, 2012)