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2016 has been the worst year for carbon emissions in 66 million years, and with Donald Trump
as the new president-elect, that may not get better anytime soon.
Such extreme pollution, has demanded a solution from world leaders.
One proposed idea is called a carbon tax, and is championed by environmentalists, and
even some conservatives.
But what exactly is a carbon tax and could it actually work?
Well, a carbon tax establishes a price on greenhouse gas emissions so companies are
charged for every ton of emissions they produce.
The idea is that the tax will incentivize companies to lower their carbon emissions
and find new technologies that decrease their carbon needs.
Aka empowering the marketplace to find solutions without adding more regulations.
It’s this last point that is particularly appealing to conservatives.
But, realistically, if companies have to pay an additional fee, chances are that energy
costs will rise.
One way to offset the increase in energy costs to the consumer is to make the tax, revenue-neutral.
This means that while energy costs would rise, people would see the money returned to them
instead of the government either via a reimbursement check or by a reduction in income taxes.
Carbon taxes already exist in Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia,
Switzerland, and Chile.
Sweden was the first country to institute a carbon tax and they did so back in 1991.
Currently, it’s a tax of $150 per ton and arguably it has been the most successful at
changing behaviors and reducing carbon emissions as it fueled new green heating technologies.
In 2008, British Columbia, Canada instituted a carbon tax with the intention of using the
revenue to reduce income taxes.
But whether or not it has been successful depends on who you ask.
Although it did appear to slightly reduce carbon emissions, critics say that the tax,
between $10 and $30 a ton, was too low to change industry behavior.
In fact, Oil company ExxonMobil supports a Carbon tax between $40 and $80 per ton, believing
that stability and a regulatory environment will help them in the long term.
So why are carbon taxes controversial?
Well, opponents of the tax say that it would hurt country GDPs, especially developing countries
that rely on high-emissions industries.
And others argue that any financial benefits from the tax being revenue-neutral could actually
benefit big business rather than low and middle class people.
Overall the environmental community is on board with a carbon tax but there’s a heated
debate about what to do with the tax revenues and whether they should go directly back to
the consumer or be used to help progress to a greener economy.
And as part of the Paris Climate Agreement, the United States has committed to reduce its
greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
But climate change legislation has seen little progress in Congress, and with the election
of Donald Trump, who has criticized the Paris Agreement, many are unsure the deal will remain
in place.
So where does that leave us?
Still needing to figure out how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As environmentalist Bill Mckibben says, “Carbon should not flow unpriced into the atmosphere,
any more than you should be allowed to toss your garbage in the street.”
We at Seeker are committed to bringing you stories that will inform and inspire you.
In this next episode, meet 24 year old Louis Bird, an inexperienced rower who embarked
on the journey of his life across the Pacific Ocean, all to connect with the memory of his father.
I'm coming to the place that ultimately ended my father's life.
I hadn't prepared for the fact that it would be as difficult as it has been.
But now, I've made a breakthrough and I feel a lot more comfortable on the boat.
We're over halfway, I'm enjoying myself.
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Does A Tax On Pollution Actually Work?

1107 Folder Collection
Sh, Gang (Aaron) published on December 4, 2016    Sh, Gang (Aaron) translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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