Newly proposed carbon taxes would devastate the U.S. economy while doing nothing to reduce projected global warming, according to a new study published by scientists at the libertarian Cato Institute.
Researchers found that carbon taxes cause considerably more economic damage than generic taxes do and disproportionately target the poor, so even a revenue-neutral carbon tax would probably reduce economic growth while doing little to fix global warming.
“There are all sorts of things wrong with a carbon tax, but primarily, it does little to nothing to limit carbon dioxide [CO2] emissions to the extent necessary to have any appreciably [sic] impact on the future course of the earth’s climate, and it produces a net drag on the economy, ” Chip Knappenberger, a climate scientist at Cato who was involved in the study, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Only four nations — Ireland, Sweden, Chile, and Finland — actually have carbon taxation today. The largest economy to ever have a carbon tax, Australia, repealed it in 2014 over concerns it was harming the economy. No country taxes CO2 emissions at the levels deemed necessary to substantially mitigate global warming as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The study found that even the most well regarded carbon taxes haven’t done much to actually reduce CO2 emissions.
“When we look at conditions in the real world—including our existing tax structure—the imposition of a carbon tax will lead to higher costs and no climate gains,” Knappenberger continued. “A revenue-neutral carbon tax which replaces the myriad of federal regulations seeking to limit greenhouse gas emissions is sometimes pitched as a climate change mitigation policy that ‘conservatives’ can get behind. We show that it isn’t—either in theory or in practice.”