Carbon taxes and cap and trade both seek to accomplish their objectives by utilizing market forces to reduce emissions. Instead of mandating certain measures, companies are free to comply with the regulations in the most cost effective way. Economists have long advocated for market based measures, as they provide companies with a maximum amount of latitude in the decision making process. This allows the reduction in emissions to occur at the lowest possible cost to energy producers and consumers, a vital consideration for any piece of environmental regulation (Stavins).
The first utilization of economic incentives as a tool of environmen...
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...Issue 732 ultimately led to the failure of the measure on election day.
It is likely that no matter the scope of the proposal, a carbon tax or cap and trade initiative in the United States would likely face significant opposition. Whether it is implemented at the state or national level, proponents of the measure will almost certainly have to contend with those who believe that the tax will cause unnecessary economic harm. Economists, though, are nearly unanimous in their belief that pricing carbon is the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is that climate change is a critical danger, and that we must act to reverse it. It seems clear that some sort of carbon pricing policy is needed, but given the challenges that such a proposal faces, how can we best go about implementing such a policy?
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