Climate: Upcoming IPCC reports highlights need for a global carbon tax

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Can we slow our greenhouse gas emissions? A global carbon tax could help.

Ending subsidies for fossil fuel companies also high on the list

Staff Report

FRISCO — A modest carbon tax of just $0.15 per kilo could lead the world down the path of meaningful action on global warming, says a Swedish researcher who was one of the coordinating lead authors of a new report that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will present next week.

“What we need to avoid dangerous climate change is the application of strong policy instruments,” said Thomas Sterner, professor of environmental economics at the University of Gothenburg. Continue reading

Pacific Coast region eyes new carbon policy

Oregon, Washington and British Columbia all support carbon pricing

New carbon policies on the West Coast could help push the rest of the country toward a more realistic stance on carbon pricing. Photo courtesy NASA.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The U.S. as a whole may still be a few years away from being ready to enact a carbon tax, but that isn’t stopping the Pacific Coast Collaborative from moving ahead with new ways of addressing the true cost of fossil fuels and accounting for the environmental impacts associated with using fossil fuels that are detrimental to the health and well-being of our communities — and future generations. 

For the first time, the Governors of California, Oregon and Washington, and the Premier of British Columbia, have collectively voiced support for pricing carbon, with a joint announcement coming just as California holds the first auction of its cap and trade program. Continue reading

‘Climate-smart’ diet could reduce greenhouse gases

Pound for pound, beef production accounts for a huge amount of greenhouse gas production. PHOTO USDA.

Swedish researchers propose climate tax on meat and milk; food production contributes 25 percent of global greenhouse gases

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With methane and nitrogen oxides from food production accounting for 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, there’s room to make some significant reductions. One way to influence the consumption of products that generate the highest amount of those gases could be to impose a climate tax on meat and milk, according to researchers at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg.

In a paper published in the journal Climate Change, Kristina Mohlin, Stefan Wirsenius and Fredrik Hedenus concluded that a €60 tax per ton of CO2 equivalent on meat and milk could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 7 percent. If the land were to be used for bioenergy production instead of dairy and meat, emissions could be cut sixfold, they said.

“Today we have taxes on petrol and a trading scheme for industrial plants and power generation, but no policy instruments at all for food-related greenhouse gas emissions. This means that we do not pay for the climate costs of our food,” said Hedenus. Continue reading

Commentary: Carbon tax needed to curb CO2 emissions

A map from the United Nations Environmental Programme shows relative CO2 production worldwide.

Leading climate economist argues that carbon tax would reflect true cost of global warming impacts

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The oft-discussed cap and trade model for limiting carbon greenhouse gas emissions is inefficient and ineffective, according to Yale climate economist William Nordhaus, who last week advocated for supplementing or replacing cap-and-trade with a flat carbon tax that reflects the true environmental and societal costs of global warming.

Writing in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Nordhaus describes carbon dioxide emissions externalities, with social consequences not accounted for in the market place. They are market failures because people do not pay for the current and future costs of their emissions, he wrote. A carbon tax could be a useful means to cut budget deficits while meeting environmental objectives, he said. Continue reading

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