Humans will die! Have you wondered what the world would be like without the ecosystem? That’s what climate change will lead humans to; oceans are becoming warmer and sea levels are rising. The question that however remains is what are we doing with the knowledge? The responsibility of protecting our environment lies upon each one of us given that global climate change poses a major risk to the well-being of human beings, economic affluence and on our sanctuary–the earth. Carbon tax is one of the methods that can be used to effectively reduce and regulate the emission of greenhouse gases. Placing a price on the use of carbon is a rational environmental policy as it steers the society towards the protection of the environment and enhances accountability of carbon pollution.
If climate change can be thought as an isolated problem for which a technological solution can be found, the minds of policy makers and economist can continue to graze in similar pastures. Carbon tax therefore, is a form of carbon pricing where a fee is imposed on the damage released by carbon based fuels. Among the greatest advantages of carbon tax is the reduction of greenhouse gases as the society bears the full cost of pollution; and as such use carbon based fuels more responsibly. The implementation of a carbon tax policy reduces environmental costs that are associated with extreme carbon pollution and such costs can be used practically in other avenues. Today, I would like to inform you about the need for a carbon tax policy in the United States to facilitate the reduction of greenhouse gases. I will discuss the current state of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and present an example of a successful implementation of carbon tax policy in Sweden.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, by 2014 the United States was the largest emitter of atmospheric carbon dioxide resulting from human activities. The agency has additionally recorded an increase in the emission of greenhouse gases from the year 1990 to 2014, in the US alone. As a world leader, the high rates of emission are getting out of hand as other countries are expected to model productive climate change improvements from the US. We have definitely felt the impacts of climate change from increased forest fires, disastrous hurricanes and migration of animals.
Sweden has effectively implemented carbon tax policies. Hellsmark and Soderholm p.30 gives an account of the implementation of the carbon tax, its exemptions and innovative practices that have improved climate change in Sweden. There are substantive results in Sweden including social responsibility in carbon dioxide emissions, saving of costs and use of alternative safe fuels. Given the debt crisis in the United States, the funds form big emitters of carbon will considerably alleviate the financial burden as well as go into other avenues of the government. Reduction in carbon pollution is moreover beneficial to our health, our statuses and our environment.
The first phase of Koto protocol has only seen binding agreements but has significantly failed to slow carbon emissions. Under this policy, developing countries, other than the US, had committed to reduce carbon emissions. Whereas more success than failures in carbon reduction has been realized, emissions from courtiers such as china and emerging coutries have significantly increased.
The strategy of buying time through techno-fix assumes either that we will be able to create a systematic change at some unspecified time or that climate change among other symptomatic crises will not be amenable to such fixes. Having this in mind it is important to recognize that the policies begin from every individual and how we choose to alleviate climate change.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. Sources of Greenhouse Gases Emissions, 2017, https://www.epa.gov
- Hellsmark, Hans, and Patrik Söderholm. “Innovation policies for advanced biorefinery development: key considerations and lessons from Sweden.” Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, vol 11, no. 1, 2017, pp. 28-40.