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Tax on Carbon?

YES — You Read That Correctly!

A carbon tax, or a tax on fossil fuel emissions, should set off alarms in this day and age considering the effects fossil fuels have on the environment. The combustion of fossil fuels cause ground-level ozone levels to increase, acid rain, global climate change, and countless other negative impacts. The carbon tax is based on the economic principle of negative externalities, which are costs that are generated by the production of services that are not paid for.

The problem is when we burn coal, oil, and natural gas for fuel, the carbon produced is released into the atmosphere. Carbon combines with oxygen to form the gas, carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide is a Greenhouse Gas, meaning it traps the sun’s energy as it enters the earth’s atmosphere, generating a warming ‘greenhouse effect’. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, contribute to causing a global warming effect that scientists are able to calculate and attribute to human activity. Our dependence thus far on burning fossil fuels causes for the continual release of CO2 stored within the fuel. This means that we have been incessantly increasing the carbon ‘footprint’ since the beginning of the industrialized era of human history.

A carbon tax encourages utility companies, businesses, and individuals to reduce the consumption of “dirty” fuels and increase energy efficiency. It also inspires alternative energy by making it cost-competitive with cheaper fuels.


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Future Estimated Savings


Fossil Fuels/Dirty Fuels:

  • Oil
  • Coal
  • Natural Gas

Carbon tax is a form of pollution tax because the tax makes using dirty fuels more expensive. As a result, it will charge a fee on fossil fuels based on how much carbon they emit when burned. Ultimately there would be a guaranteed return on expensive efficiency investments since the tax sets definite prices on carbon.

Environmental Damage:

  • Emissions
  • Air Pollution
  • Land Degradation
  • Water Pollution
  • Global Warming
  • Ocean Acidification

Carbon tax would significantly limit the extent of future warming. This will only work with dedication from the countries with the most greenhouse gas emissions. The countries with the largest GHG Emissions are China, The United States, Europe, India, Russia, and Japan. The U.S efforts have been helpful however, these efforts haven’t allowed us to reach the major environmental impact needed. Recently, in New York City, aggressive action has been taken with the NYC Climate Mobilization Act and Governor Cuomo’s plan, OneNYC2050.

With bold actions to confront our climate crisis, achieve equity, and strengthen our democracy, we are building a strong and fair city. Created under the requirements of Local Law 84 of 2013, OneNYC 2050 is New York City’s long-term strategic plan.  It provides a blueprint for tackling the city’s most significant challenges— population growth, aging infrastructure, increasing inequality, evolving economy, and climate change.

New York isn’t the only state taking action to decrease emissions and improve environmental sustainability. The U.S isn’t the only country, a global effort has been initiated. In the fight against climate change and global warming, we as a human population need to unite if we are going to make a change.

Long-Term Health Issues:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Heart Attack
  • Neurological Deficits
  • Heart Disease
  • Immune Symptoms
  • Organ Damage
  • Upper Respiratory Issues
  • Eye Irritation

Carbon tax’s impact on the economy depends on how lawmakers would use revenues generated by the tax. Therefore, they will either tax the emissions directly or tax fuels that release the CO2 as they are burned. The worrying effects of climate change and the possibility that it could trigger catastrophic effects, causes lawmakers to view carbon tax as a reflection of society’s willingness to pay to reduce the risk of potentially very expensive damage in the future.

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