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One Comment

  1. James Handley
    October 18, 2018 @ 4:36 am

    Hi Sarah,

    I applaud your call for boldly embracing potent economic tools to steer away from impending climate breakdown. The economic consensus is robust: A briskly-rising carbon tax would provide the needed price incentives to spur decision-makers, including both investors and consumers, to shift rapidly to renewable energy and efficiency.

    But there is no economic reason that a carbon tax should be “revenue-neutral.” Revenue options are political choices. Polls show voters prefer carbon taxes that fund the transition to renewable energy, for example by funding energy research & development and assisting low-and moderate-income households as well as displaced workers. And mounting evidence from numerous attempts to enact carbon taxes (some successful and durable, some not) suggests that legislators tend to be more interested in spending revenue in ways that improve the lives of their constituents than returning revenue in lump sum or via offsetting tax cuts.

    I recommend “Can We Price Carbon?” a new book by U of Michigan political science professor Barry Rabe which examines carbon pricing attempts through a political science lens. I’ve reviewed it here: https://carbontaxnetwork.org/2018/05/15/book-review-can-we-price-carbon/

    We have no time to lose; a carbon tax is essential to put us on track to a carbon-neutral economy. Revenue choices should offer political attractiveness that enables enactment and helps assure durable political support. There are many good options.

    James Handley


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