The Most Effective Tool to Cut Carbon Emissions

Eduardo Porter argues that despite advances in promising technologies designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions “civilization is mostly not yet on such a low carbon path. While promising technologies to get there have been developed, it is unclear whether nations will muster the political will and mobilize the needed investments to deploy them.”

“There is one tool available to trim carbon emissions on a relevant scale: a carbon tax. That solution, however, remains off the table.”

“If a carbon tax were to be imposed next year, starting at $25 and rising by 5 percent a year, the Energy Information Administration estimates, carbon dioxide emissions from American power plants would fall to only 419 million tons by 2040, about one-fifth of where they are today. Total carbon dioxide emissions from energy in the United States would fall to 3.6 billion tons — 1.8 billion tons less than today. By providing a monetary incentive, economists say, such a tax would offer by far the most effective way to encourage business and individuals to reduce their use of fossil fuels and invest in alternatives.”

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