Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Small State Thinks Big

Activists in Rhode Island, led by a student and a professor from Brown University, have proposed a comprehensive carbon tax, which will be the first such state-wide measure in the United States if it passes. Other jurisdictions, such as Boulder, Colorado, Montgomery County, Maryland,  and certain counties in California have introduced such measures, as has British Columbia. Internationally, various European countries impose carbon taxes on particular energy sectors, and China has recently begun to tax some inefficient coal-fired plants, but none of these is as comprehensive as Rhode Island's would be. Australia had one of the broader-based carbon-tax programs, but its current right-wing government repealed it last year.

As drafted by student Solomon Goldstein-Rose and professor Timmons Roberts, the Rhode Island bill would tax every form of fossil fuel entering the state at a standard rate of $15/ton of CO2 emissions. Some of the money collected would be returned to state residents and businesses to compensate for elevated energy prices, with the remainder dedicated to Governor Raimondo's green infrastructure fund. She has not indicated her support for the bill, which will be reviewed in legislative hearings starting next month. Numerous climate change advocates including NASA scientist James Hanson have long advocated for carbon taxes, rather than cap-and-trade schemes, as the most direct way to capture externalized costs of carbon pollution and use market forces to promote carbon-free energy.

No comments:

Post a Comment