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Published: Saturday 21 September, 2013

shopping for clothes online shopping for clothes online ?Tax on Carbon Emissions Gains Support

Most legislators view advocating any tax increase as tantamount to political suicide. But a coalition of academics and polluters now argues that a simple tax on each ton of emissions would offer a more efficient and less bureaucratic way of curbing carbon dioxide buildup, which scientists have linked to climate change.

We want to do the least damage to the growth of GDP, said Michael Canes, a private consultant and former chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, who led a Capitol Hill briefing on the subject in late February sponsored by the conse shopping for clothes online rvative George C. Marshall Institute. Between a cap system and a carbon tax, a carbon tax will be the much more costeffective way to go, he said, though he added that there are other ways to reduce emissions.

Robert J. Shapiro, a private consultant who was a Commerce Department official in the Clinton administration, agrees. A capandtrade system involving plantby plantmeasurements would be difficult to administer, he said, and would provide incentives for cheating and evasion. And the revenue from a carbon tax could be used to reduce the deficit or finance offsetting cuts in payroll taxes or the alternative minimum tax.

A carbon tax offers certainty about the price of polluting, which appeals to many economists and businesses. William A. Pizer, a senior fellow at the centrist think tank Resources for the Future and a former senior economist for President Bushs Council of Economic Advisers, estimates that the benefittocost ratio of a taxbased system would be five times that of a capandtrade system.

Youre going to pay one way or another, whether its a tax or a permit program, Pizer said, adding that while a cap would provide more certainty on how much emissions would be cut, the consequences of being uncertain about emissions over any short period of time just arent that serious.

Under a capandtrade system, the government would set an overall limit on emissions and allocate permits to emitters. If one plant reduces its emissions more quickly than another, it can sell its credits to the other emitter. A carbon tax would simply increase the cost of emitting each ton of carbon, which could then be passed on to consumers.

While Democrats have vowed to push through some sort of carbon dioxide control in this Congress, Bush has consistently opposed mandatory limits, so it remains unclear whether the United States will adopt any system before the next election.

Moreover, the fact that many economists back the tax approach is no guarantee that it will prevail over the five capandtrade plans already proposed in the Senate.

The complexity of the capandtrade system is part of its virtue for some politicians, since it may mask the systems impact on prices. Such a system also appeals to conservative lawmakers who like the idea of letting the market determine the price of carbon, while keeping revenue out of the hands shopping for clothes online of government. S shopping for clothes online ome economists say it would channel capital to the most economically worthwhile projects first.

Environmentalists are split on a carbon tax. Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, which is handing out baseball caps emblazoned with the slogan Just Cap It on Capitol Hill, called such a tax an interesting distraction. shopping for clothes online