Northeastern states moving on carbon pricing

By December 18, 2017Local News, Research

Northeastern states moving on carbon pricing

Most of the New England states, plus New York, are moving toward a carbon pricing effort in light of increasing intransigence at the federal level.

The idea of putting a price on carbon to lower greenhouse gas emissions has been around for some years. Since the Trump administration took office in January, it’s actually been gaining traction, notwithstanding the administration’s aggressive efforts against addressing climate change concerns.

The idea is to impose a fee – a tax if you ask folks who don’t like it, and a regressive one at that – on the carbon-emitting items in all sectors of the economy, everything from the gasoline in cars to polluting industrial operations and power plants. And lots more.

The idea functions like a cigarette, alcohol, or any other “sin tax” – charge more for something you want people to do or use less of: In this case, emit less carbon. So you throw an extra charge on the activities and fuels that produce it. The effect theoretically is that everyone will buy and use less of the items that require those fuels and involve paying those higher costs. That, in turn, would lead to lower emissions, not to mention making or saving money for whomever gets the fees.

 

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