Senators propose first US carbon tax

Feb 14, 2013
Senators Bernie Sanders and Al Franken attend the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball at NEWSEUM on January 20, 2013 in Washington, DC.

US senators proposed a tax on carbon emissions Thursday amid growing calls for action on climate change, but the bill is expected to face staunch opposition from many conservatives.

Two days after President Barack Obama urged Congress to tackle the emissions blamed for rising temperatures, two senators laid out a plan that would for the first time set a price on carbon throughout the United States.

The plan by staunch environmentalists Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders would charge $20 per ton of carbon from major polluters such as coal mines and oil refineries, rising 5.6 percent annually over 10 years.

"We are looking at the danger of a planetary crisis," said Sanders, an independent from Vermont who generally votes with Obama's Democratic Party.

"When scientists tell us that the temperature of this Earth may go up at least eight degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius) by the end of this century, that means cataclysmic changes to the planet. We have go to act," he told reporters.

In hopes of shielding consumers from higher costs, 60 percent of the generated revenue would be sent back in a monthly rebate to every US resident. Much of the rest would go to improve energy efficiency at homes and promote renewable energy such as wind and solar in a bid to create jobs.

The senators, citing the Congressional Budget Office, said that the carbon fee would generate $1.2 trillion over 10 years. They said that around $300 billion would be devoted to bringing down the ballooning US debt.

Senator David Vitter, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee that will take up the bill, attacked the proposal.

"It's not just energy prices that would skyrocket from a , the cost of nearly everything built in America would go up," he charged.

Democrats control the Senate but Republicans lead the House of Representatives, where many of the party's lawmakers contest the view of mainstream scientists that human activity is causing temperatures to rise.

A proposal to set up a "cap-and-trade" system—which would restrict emissions and provide a market incentive to businesses by allowing a trade in credits—died in the Senate in 2010.

Europe pioneered the cap-and-trade system but the idea of switching to a straightforward carbon tax has increasingly come into favor. Australia last year introduced a carbon tax of Aus$23 (US$23.8) per ton.

Explore further: CO2 emissions set to reach new 40 billion ton record high in 2014

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Shootist
3 / 5 (10) Feb 14, 2013
Bernie Sanders and Al Frankenberry


Let us now all tiptoe quietly through the tulips.

tastymorsel
3.3 / 5 (12) Feb 14, 2013
Let me guess. A phys.org article stating democrats good and noble while conservatives evil and planet destroying. I can't wait for the article about Al Gore's carbon footprint flying around the globe while living in a mansion or two or three. Or the one about Obama flying around the globe in Air Force One while his wife is on a separate plane because she wants to leave an hour earlier. Oh wait, it's OK because they are just doing the work of the Global Warming Gods. Nothing I hate more than Global Warming and religion. They've actually become the same thing. Don't worry what the "leaders" do, peasants. They've been touched. I come here for science not what the Dems are pushing this week. It's sad they know the science community will push whatever garbage they put out.
kochevnik
2.1 / 5 (7) Feb 14, 2013
David Rothschild has been pushing for a global carbon tax for years. The banksters have both parties in their pocket. Making this partisan actually empowers the banksters and proves your real agenda

Note they don't care about real issues, such as massive deforestation and desert expansion worldwide making much of the planet uninhabitable. But goyum fall for the simple party splits along the line of Caesar's "divide and conquer" and prove themselves unworthy of democracy. Russian people know this and it's why we prefer a leader that rises above partisanship
ValeriaT
2.7 / 5 (3) Feb 14, 2013
As usually nothing is completely black or white. The rational core of carbon tax is, the fossil fuels are getting depleted and we need to collect material resources for their replacement soon before the energetic crisis will overgrown into global political crisis. Because the free market economy cannot reflect the actual cost of fossil fuels until they will get completely depleted - the OPEC countries are lying about actual state of oil resources from good reasons. So we should collect the money for some backup plan and research of alternative sources.

But the business with carbon fees is simply a fringe idea - it just enables to increase the carbon quotes for western companies, while the India and other developing countries are building another carbon industry with using of these money for their private purposes. The carbon tax cannot be a subject of trade and it should go exclusively for research of effective fossil fuel replacements.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2013
The so-called renewable sources of energy aren't such an effective alternatives, because they just transfer the mining of oil to the mining of another raw sources, some of which are facing depletion way sooner (indium for solar plants, neodymium for magnets of electromobiles and wind plants). The so-called "biofuels" suffer with lack of nitrogen and sulfur cycle - without fertilizers they just contribute to the deforestation and depletion of soil resources way sooner than the fossil fuel reserves. So they shouldn't be a subject of subsidizes from carbon tax too. At the moment, when no carbon tax goes into cold fusion research, then it becomes just a parody of foresighted strategy.
dan42day
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 15, 2013
AL Franken always was, and still is a very funny man.
schwarz
3 / 5 (6) Feb 15, 2013
A reminder to all you right wing trolls: the carbon tax is a free market conservative policy idea that comes from the right wing Tory economist Charles Pigou, and discussed in depth in the National Review and American Spectator in the early 90's.

You're being derided not for being conservative, but for being antiscience, Lysenkoist, and afflicted with amnesia.
Modernmystic
3.5 / 5 (4) Feb 15, 2013
We could use some action on AGW.

Carbon taxes are not on that list....
CapitalismPrevails
2.7 / 5 (7) Feb 15, 2013
These douchebags are absolutely insane. How further detached could they possibly be from reality or how things work in the private sector? Great, another tax. As if the private sector hasn't been punished enough with additional taxes DURING THIS RECESSION. Lets see, #1. We have the inflation tax. #2. We have the UnAffordable Healthcare Act tax, #3. We have the payroll tax deduction which was eliminated last year. #4. We have taxes going up on those who make 400k and up(small business essentially). And now these no growth/flat earth neanderthals have the audacity to propose a carbon tax... Do these chimpanzees understand the more money you leach out of the economy, the less the economy is going to grow(AKA job and tax revenue growth). When the economy finally collapses because of their oppressive actions, i hope evolution takes good care of them. If their retarded ideas were and good, the private sector would have done them already.
CapitalismPrevails
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 15, 2013
Climate change is ware on terror for the left. Just need a good manufactured crisis to convince people to fork over their freedoms. Benjamin Franklin said if best,"those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one".
ayesdi_fdesay
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 15, 2013
Oh boy, it's both a tax AND it addresses climate change? ... This will certainly leave conservitards frothing at the mouth in rage.

... despite the fact that the US tax burden is laughable when compared to all other first world countries (please just spare us overused and misleading talking points about the US corporate tax rate and the like) and the overwhelming evidence for man-made climate change.

Ahh, why even bother? You're all going to return to your bubble of incestuous amplification anyway.
Egleton
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 16, 2013
The reason we don't believe Climate Change deniers is that they are all paid hacks.
http://www.guardi...-network

"Anonymous billionaires donated $120m to more than 100 anti-climate groups working to discredit climate change science "
Claudius
1 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2013
despite the fact that the US tax burden is laughable

Do other governments have the same tax structure? In the US, there are Federal taxes, State and local taxes (property, etc.) When added up, the burden is not so laughable. Taxes are now going up even more because of the "affordable" health law. The IRS says the cheapest mandatory health policy will be $20,000 a year. Now they want to increase taxes even more, while more and more Americans join the unemployed and homeless. Al Franken and his ilk are not working for the benefit of their constituents. (and I made the mistake of voting for him.)
Claudius
1 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2013


"Anonymous billionaires donated $120m to more than 100 anti-climate groups working to discredit climate change science "


Balance that with the amount of money politicians are giving out in grant money for scientists who do alarmist climate change research, and denying grants to scientist who don't.
freethinking
1 / 5 (6) Feb 16, 2013
Yea, lets tax carbon, so we can give massive tax breaks to Facebook.
Question arises, why does facebook get tax breaks, oh yea, they support Obama.