Author: sarahwornow7

The United States Federal Government Should Adopt a Nationwide Carbon Tax


PRO (4 arguments)

A carbon tax is a specific price the government charges for carbon content per ton in fuels (most proposals range from $15 to $30 per ton). Where the raised revenue would go depends on the various proposals that have been put forward—to fund R&D for green energy technologies, to help lower-income families pay for increases in electricity prices dues to the tax, and, in light of the current situation, to pay down the national debt. Supporters say that the tax would incentivize companies to limit greenhouse gas pollution and is an important step in addressing climate change. Furthermore, they say it would boost the green energy industry, creating jobs.

1. A nationwide Carbon Tax will help conserve the environment.
Warrant:

The main purpose of carbon tax is to ensure that companies or organizations that emit huge amounts of CO2, cut down if not eliminate their emissions, minimizing pollution and the effects of global warming in the process. When everyone takes part in this noble cause, whatever damage the environment is experiencing at the moment can be lessened and pave the way for possible healing. Maybe then, the environment would last longer and people would still have a planet to live in for the next millennia. 

In 2008, British Columbia implemented the first comprehensive and substantial carbon tax in North America. By 2012, the tax had covered approximately three-quarters of all greenhouse gas emissions in the province. This carbon tax has reduced emissions in the province by 5–15%.  Polling data show that the public initially opposed the tax but now generally supports it. At the same time, models show that the tax has had very small negative effects on the economy. British Columbia now has the lowest personal income tax rate in Canada and one of the lowest corporate rates in North America, too. British Columbia’s fuel consumption is also down. Over the past six years, the per-person consumption of fuels has dropped by 16%. During that same period, per-person consumption in the rest of Canada rose by 3%. “Each year the evidence becomes stronger and stronger that the carbon tax is driving environmental gains,” says Stewart Elgie, an economics professor at University of Ottawa and head of Sustainable Prosperity, a pro-green think-tank. At the same time, BC’s economy has kept pace with the rest of the country.

Impact:

This is an actual place where the carbon tax has been tested and PROVEN to work - not a hypothetical, but real results.

Sources:

Duke University Institute for Environmental Policy and The Economist magazine

2. A carbon tax would raise revenue for government use in areas beneficial to all of society.
Warrant:

Money paid by polluting corporations could be used to pay down government debt, lower taxes or fund green energy research and development. According to the Congressional Budget Office “A 20 dollar per ton carbon tax would raise nearly 1.2 trillion dollars over the next decade.”  This money can be used to fund government programs, green energy research and development, or for the military, for example.

Impact:

Our country is over $19 trillion in debt so more money can help pull us out of debt. People like the idea of using a carbon tax to find a carbon-less energy source to sustain our planet.  It’s the same idea as using a soda tax to pay for diabetes medicine research, or a tobacco tax to pay for lung cancer research.  

 

3. The American people support a carbon tax.
Warrant:

It is very unusual for people to WANT government to tax them, but Americans see how important it is to save our environment and are willing to pay more to pollute less. According to a 2014 University of Michigan poll, 60% of Americans agree that the revenues raised by a federal carbon tax should be used to fund renewable energy programs. That's the highest level of support among tax options presented and one that crossed the political divide with majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents saying they would support the tax, according to the National Surveys on Energy and Environment.

Impact:

According to New York Times, “revenue generated by carbon tax could be used for a variety of purposes.” For example, after phasing in a carbon tax in 2008 in British Columbia, the tax collected is used to lower income taxes for their people. Their economy is now prevailing and having a carbon tax has benefitted their society.

Sources:

The Congressional Budget Office, University of Michigan, New York Times

 

4. A carbon tax is better than other similar policies like cap and trade.
Warrant:

The carbon tax imposes a tax on each unit of greenhouse gas emissions and gives firms an incentive to reduce pollution whenever doing so would cost less than paying the tax.

According to Yale University, proponents of a carbon tax say their plan has one overriding benefit: Its simplicity. They contend that by imposing a predictable and steadily increasing levy on fossil fuels, the carbon tax will also drive development of alternative sources of energy. Additionally, countries that use a cap and trade system haven’t made a dent in carbon emission. According to MIT Technology Review, the European cap-and-trade system, is the world’s largest pollution market, hasn’t made much of a change in CO2 levels because the caps are not low enough and politicians don’t have the stomach to lower caps to a level that would actually decrease CO2 levels.

Sources:

MIT