Dr. Elaine C. Kamarck, former domestic policy advisor to Vice President Al Gore and co-founder of the U.S. Climate Task Force (CTF), has unveiled a new report that examines lessons learned from past efforts to legislate on climate change and how those precedents can be applied to help pass an emissions policy in the 111th Congress. Her expert analysis, featured in the report, “Addressing Climate Change: The Politics of the Policy Options“, breaks these lessons into five categories:
1. Cost – Extent of economic impact on U.S. families
2. Complexity – Scale of system; opportunity for evasion, manipulation and corruption
3. Fairness – Distribution of costs and benefits through all segments of society
4. Compatibility – Ease of integration of U.S. policy with international efforts
5. Effectiveness – Ability to efficiently curb emissions and mitigate climate change
“More than 30 years have passed since scientists introduced the notion of global warming into the American political dialogue. And now — with Congress considering a federal emissions bill and the White House preparing to negotiate a new U.N. agreement on climate change — the debate over policies to mitigate domestic greenhouse gas emissions has reached an entirely new level of importance, said Kamarck. “Many legislators are pushing for a U.S. cap-and-trade system. Though I share their strong resolve to address the risks of climate change, evidence shows that the problems implementing carbon trading measures are so complex that they may not allow Americans to meet our ‘green’ goals, ” she added.
According to Kamarck, the bottom line is we need to put a price on carbon. Using lessons learned from our past efforts to legislate on climate change, my new paper demonstrates how a carbon tax-shift would accomplish that goal.
In addition to rebating its revenues back to the people in ways that shift the burden of taxation from employment to pollution, a carbon tax has the advantage of being simple, transparent and easy to administer, said Kamarck.
You might also want to check out: Addressing Climate Change Without Impairing the U.S. Economy. The new study authored by Dr. Robert Shapiro, former Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, along with Drs. Nam Pham and Arun Malik, has analyzed the environmental and economic consequences of adopting a politically-acceptable approach to carbon-based taxes. By applying a new tax to the use of energy based on its carbon content and returning 90 percent of the revenues in tax relief for the people and businesses using the energy and paying the tax, the U.S. can reduce CO2 emissions to levels consistent with protecting the climate and offset the tax-related costs for most Americans. The remaining 10 percent of the revenues would be dedicated to accelerating climate-related research and development and support for the broad deployment of climate-friendly technologies. Click here to download the full report, Addressing Climate Change Without Impairing the U.S. Economy
© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.