NEW YORK (MainStreet) Climate change is making headlines in the United States again after the release of the White House's Third U.S. National Climate Assessment in May, which reported its impacts are already rippling through American life and negatively impacting our agriculture, infrastructure, and economy.
This resurgence in the national discourse on climate change has also reinvigorated the debate about how to address it on a policy level, with many now calling for a federal carbon tax. For instance, a New York Times article stated in April that "...putting a price on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases...is a fundamental approach that could help redirect investment toward climate-friendly technologies."
Just as there is an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists that the globe is warming and that the warming is due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels, there is also an impressively large consensus among economists that a carbon tax would be the most efficient and effective method for addressing climate change.
If done correctly, a carbon tax also has the potential to stimulate the national economy, especially for the people of MainStreet.
A recent study from the environmental think tank Resources for the Future found that a carbon tax of $30 per ton would yield $226 billion a year in revenue while cutting carbon emissions by 15%.
This $30-per-ton price tag is the Canadian equivalent of what the government of British Columbia currently imposes.
After the BC carbon tax law passed in 2008, sales of motor fuels and other petro-products declined by 15%, while raising approximately $5 billion in revenue. Of that figure, $3 billion was returned as business tax breaks, $1 billion as personal tax breaks and the remaining $1 billion as low-income tax credits.