Taxing our way out of global warming

pete-stark.jpgRep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, today introduced a “Save Our Climate Act” that would impose a tax on carbon-based fossil fuels in order to slow climate change.

The bill calls for an initial tax of $10 per ton of carbon content to be assessed on coal, petroleum and natural gas when these fossil fuels are initially removed from the ground or imported into the United States. The tax will increase by $10 each year, freezing when a mandated report by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Energy determines that carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 80 percent from 1990 levels.

Said Stark, in a news release:

“The question is not if human activity is responsible for global climate change, but how the United States will respond. Predictable, transparent and universal, a carbon tax is a simple solution to a difficult problem. It would drastically reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by providing an economic disincentive for the use of carbon-based fossil fuels and an incentive for the development and use of cleaner alternative energies. The Save Our Climate Act would establish the United States as a global leader in environmental protection and encourage other nations — most of whom have already acknowledged the climate change threat — to take similar action to reduce emissions. I strongly encourage Congress to pass a carbon tax.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • JM in San Diego CA

    Rep Stark’s approach to the problem — taxation — doesn’t surprise me. However, the idea that the tax would increase each year until carbon dioxide levels decrease to 20% of what they were in 1990 is laughable. Anyone who thinks that’s achievable is seriously ignorant of basic science and mathematics. Imagine having to park four out of five trucks, four out of five cars and four out of five busses. Imagine shutting down four out of five fuel-burning power plants. Imagine us being taxed in perpetuity because his fantasy accomplishes little ot nothing.

    If Rep Stark wants to do some good, he needs to work to encourage the development of alternative energy sources, like nuclear, wind, tidal, geothermal. Beating us up over our existing energy infrastructure is stupid. Stupid is not a word I throw around lightly, but I am damn frustrated with pols who offer nothing useful, this Stark-tax being near the top of the list.