Launching the Campaign for Carbon Taxes

Streetsblog contributor Charles Komanoff, along with Daniel Rosenblum, today announce the foundation of their new organization, the Carbon Tax Center. The Center’s mission is "to educate and inform policymakers, opinion leaders and the public, including grassroots organizations, about the benefits of and critical need for significant, rising and equitable taxes on carbon emissions from fossil fuels." My favorite part so far? The title of their e-newsletter, "An Inconvenient Tax." Check out their presentation above.

Why carbon taxes? Why a Carbon Tax Center?
Charging American businesses and individuals a price to emit carbon dioxide (CO2) is essential to reduce U.S. emissions quickly and steeply enough to prevent atmospheric concentrations of CO2 from reaching an irreversible tipping point. It’s a basic economic principle that prices of goods and services should reflect ("internalize" as the economists say) all of the societal costs (such as pollution) that production of the goods or services imposes on society. Yet the prices of gasoline, electricity and other fossil fuels don’t include many of these societal costs, particularly their impact on global warming. The necessary transformation of our fossil fuels-based energy system to reliance on energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable fuels simply won’t happen without carbon taxes sending accurate and powerful price signals into every corner of the economy and every aspect of life.

  • Bob

    Slide 23 is confusing.
    Slide 24 needs a label. Is this $ per ton of carbon?

    What is a ton of carbon? Maybe you can show equivalents: How many gallons of gasoline equals one ton? Barrels of oil? Tons of coal? Volume of natural gas.

  • Shameless plug: Pigou Club has been fighting for carbon taxation for a while now. We have a lot of heavyweight members (professors of economics).

  • ddartley

    Great work in any case. Will forward to friends.

  • Dear Bob —

    You’re right about both slides and I’ll get to work fixing them.

    FYI, Slide 23 is designed to show that the subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry are dwarfed by the implicit subsidy from not taxing carbon emissions. It assumes that $1/gallon of gasoline is a good proxy for the subsidy, though in reality it’s almost certainly a good deal higher. See FAQ #9.

    Slide 24 should be labeled as $ per ton of carbon emitted. Slide 18 gives some sense of the equivalences you’re looking for.

    Dear Pigou Club —

    We know you guys well. We plug you at under
    Economists. Take a look. Thanks.


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