- Term Papers and Free Essays

A Paper on Carbon Taxation

Essay by   •  October 17, 2018  •  Term Paper  •  1,591 Words (7 Pages)  •  878 Views

Essay Preview: A Paper on Carbon Taxation

Report this essay
Page 1 of 7

Student ID: 13092581

A Paper on Carbon Taxation

The “What in Tarnation” image macro, a meme about a dog expressing bewilderment, circulated the internet and popular culture in early 2017. The meme indicated common befuddlement by the ridiculousness of certain situations, from the actions of a certain Commander-in-chief to the reactions of a Southern family visiting Berkeley during the Milo riots. On a more serious note, however, as political debate on the solutions to climate change has consumed our government, citizens continue to be bewildered by the widespread denial of global warming. Consequently, politicians, business men and women, public policy analysts, students, and many more ponder about the answers to our species’ most pressing issue - climate change.

Climate change poses an incredible threat to the human species. Though its existence is widely disagreed upon among citizens and the politicians who represent them, experts across the world have no such doubts. According to Think Progress, an overwhelming “97% of climate scientists agree that human-based climate is happening.” Even the Pentagon, writes The Guardian, warns that global warming poses a “significant risk to national security.” The Pentagon explains that climate change brings with it extraordinary consequences, from “increased frequency of droughts, floods, and other extreme weather” to “rising sea levels and extinction threats to key species.” Such consequences pose threats to not only the environment but also to soldiers and civilians. For instance, increased droughts and floods would “exacerbate refugee crises” in Africa and the Middle East, and rising sea levels would “destroy property and displace families” for those who live in coastal regions. Clearly, climate change is a threat that must be addressed. Thankfully, one solution stands out among the rest: a carbon tax.

What exactly is a carbon tax? According to Merriam Webster, a carbon tax is “a tax on carbon emissions, encouraging people, businesses, and governments to produce less of them.” The goal of a carbon tax is to make carbon-based fuels - such as oil, coal, and natural gas - more expensive and therefore less desirable to consumers. In addition, to soften the impact of a carbon tax on lower-income, working class families, the United States should adopt a revenue neutral carbon tax. According to the Carbon Tax Center, a revenue-neutral carbon tax “preserves its price-incentive to reduce emissions but avoids the income effects that might drag down economic activity.” Essentially, it means that the revenue from the carbon tax is largely redistributed to American taxpayers. Working class families pay their share in carbon taxes and then are compensated with a dividend. Meanwhile, upper income families pay their portion in carbon taxes which are then used to subsidize and support renewable energy programs.

The carbon tax has been widely debated in the United States and worldwide. In 2015, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the “Climate Protection and Justice Act,” a bill that would impose a charge of fifteen dollars per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted. In that same year, Representative John Delaney proposed his “Tax Pollution, Not Profits Act” that would levy a tax of thirty dollars per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted. Though no carbon tax legislation has been passed by our states or the federal government, carbon taxes have been established in countries around the world. South Africa, Japan, India, and Sweden are such examples. And while Canada has not yet passed a federal carbon tax, multiple provinces - such as British Columbia and Quebec - have enacted carbon taxes of their own. In addition, exhaustive, peer-reviewed studies have assessed the positive impacts of a carbon tax; according to an article published by The Boston Globe, researchers at MIT’s Joint Program on Global Change concluded that a "$20 per-ton fee on the carbon content of fossil fuels, implemented in 2013 and increasing 4 percent a year, would cut emissions 20 percent below 2006 levels by 2050.”

The carbon tax may seem like a fantasy, a source of befuddlement to opposing politicians and figures who question its validity and fear its economic implications. However, the revenue neutral carbon tax is one of the most potent solutions to the pressing issues of climate change and pollution. More personally, a revenue neutral carbon tax is incredibly important because working class families like mine are hurt most by pollution and because a carbon based economy is a relic and needs to evolve if future generations are to compete and succeed.

First and foremost, pollution hurts working class families most; a revenue neutral carbon tax can help fix such a conundrum. Coming from the underbelly of San Francisco’s Chinatown, I know all too well how working class families struggle to make ends meet. Pollution is the last thing on their minds, yet it is pollution and climate change that hurt the working class the most. According to the Scientific American, air pollution particulates are more hazardous in non-white and low-income communities than those in affluent white ones. The Scientific American, writing on the data yielded by a peer reviewed study conducted by Yale University, further demonstrated that the greater the concentration of Hispanics, Asians, African Americans or poor residents in an area, the more likely it becomes that such residents breathe in incredibly dangerous, life-threatening compounds such as vanadium, nitrates and zinc. Low income, working class communities suffer the most from the effects of carbon pollution, but a carbon tax would help cut carbon emissions and make our air more healthy and breathable.

Furthermore, a peer-reviewed study issued by the United Nations Climate Vulnerable Forum found that the present carbon intensive economy is linked to over four million deaths worldwide each year due to air pollution and cancer. They further found that in America alone, 81,000 individuals



Download as:   txt (10 Kb)   pdf (54.4 Kb)   docx (14.1 Kb)  
Continue for 6 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2018, 10). A Paper on Carbon Taxation. Retrieved 10, 2018, from

"A Paper on Carbon Taxation" 10 2018. 2018. 10 2018 <>.

"A Paper on Carbon Taxation.", 10 2018. Web. 10 2018. <>.

"A Paper on Carbon Taxation." 10, 2018. Accessed 10, 2018.