According to the Sustainable Financial Markets, N.Y.-assembly members Kevin Cahill and Barbara Lifton introduced a carbon tax bill into the assembly this week. The bill would tax carbon emissions with the ultimate goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions in New York State. This is an ambitious effort that starts a discussion at the state level on what a market-based solution to climate change should look like.
The bill would implement a carbon tax that would start at $40 per metric ton of carbon dioxide and increase in $10 increments annually up to $180 per metric ton, which would entirely eliminate carbon dioxide emissions in New York State. The bill also proposes to refund 60% of its revenues to the poorest and lower middle income classes, and utilize the other 40% of revenues for supporting the transition to clean energy in New York State, augmenting mass transit to reduce carbon emissions, and improving climate change adaptation.
While few people agree on the exact amount of the carbon tax and how proceeds should be utilized, most economists, many environmentalist groups, citizens’ groups, and political leaders on both sides of the aisle agree that a carbon tax is the most efficient way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. New York State economists supporting a carbon tax for New York State in general include Mark Gertler (NYU), Thomas Sargent (NYU), Michael Grossman (CUNY), Raquel Fernandez (NYU), Graciela Chichilnisky, (Columbia University), Laura Veldkamp (NYU), Sean MacDonald (CUNY), Robert Frank (Cornell University), Marco Battaglini (Cornell University), Kaushik Basu (Cornell University), Ben Ho (Vassar College), Mona Ali (SUNY New Paltz), Gary Fields (Cornell University), Willi Semmler (New School), and Gerald Marschke (SUNY Albany).
“This legislation would reduce carbon emissions in New York State by making investments in cleaner, greener public transportation systems and by incentivizing the use of renewable fuel sources through tax credits,” said Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. “A market-based solution to climate change will drive consumers to make more environmentally conscious decisions when it comes to transportation and how they heat their homes, while inspiring commercial enterprises to invest in more sustainable and eco-friendly business models. Tax incentives, coupled with the growing availability of alternative energy options in the marketplace, such as solar power and fuel cell vehicles, provide a strong framework for New York State to do its part in making our air cleaner and ensuring a sustainable environment for generations to come.”
— Solar Builder magazine