A Tax By Any Other Name…

There has been an ongoing discussion about carbon tax and fee & dividend on the OB CASEJ discussion list. The acronym stands for Climate Action, Sustainability & Environmental Justice, so it comes as no surprise that most comments are in support. While many have brought up the national impact, the argument below addresses potential international consequences. It comes from Milton Takei an activist and scholar living in Eugene, Oregon:

I would like to make some comments on the need for the U.S. Congress to

put a price on carbon.  Under the Kyoto Accord, not all countries had the

same targets, with the poorer countries exempt.  In December 2011, the

poorer countries agreed to have their greenhouse gas emissions limited

under a new treaty, but the question still remains: what should be the

legally binding goals for each country?  For example, China is not as poor

as India, so the two countries should have different targets.

The international global warming negotiations seem to be deadlocked

because of the attitude of the United States, which is unwilling to make

enough concessions to India, China, and other poorer countries.  The

question is: what legally binding target would the U.S. be willing to

accept for itself?  If the U.S. Congress were to pass a carbon tax,

President Obama might have an indication that the U.S. Senate would ratify

a treaty that the poorer countries could accept, breaking the deadlock in

the negotiations.  Hence the need in the U.S. for action in the U.S.

Congress.  National regulation or action below the national level will not

provide the signal to President Obama that his hand are no longer tied.

                                          –Milton Takei

For more information on the international global warming negotiations:


In related news, the Boston Globe recently published Sage Radachowsky’s reasons for supporting carbon tax. It  was the product of persistent submissions, a good lesson for advocates. An excerpt:

 Phil Flynn suggests that renewable energy technologies are obsolete, and that “If they can’t compete, maybe they shouldn’t” (interview with Erin Ailworth, 30 December). A carbon tax would correct the price of fossil energy to account for the social and ecological costs, and would enable renewable energy and conservation to flourish, creating millions of jobs. The reason we don’t pass a carbon tax is because it would hurt the oil and gas companies who exert far too much control over our government. Fracking is toxic to the environment, and all fossil fuels accelerate global warming. We can let the market lead innovation, and avert the fiscal cliff, with a simple carbon tax, an idea favored by economists both left and right.


If you are looking for a local group working on these issues, check out the local chapter of Citizen’s Climate Lobby , check out 350MA‘s local campaign or bring up it up at the GA. You can also give a quick call to your congress people to find out where they stand on the issue.

To contact Boston CCL chapter email: ccl.boston@citizensclimatelobby.org

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~ Nuevaspora