Carbon Fee, Not Carbon Tax


There has been much talk about imposing a "carbon tax" on carbon emissions by human activity. This article proposes that the "tax" terminology be dropped as incorrect and misleading terminology. The correct terminology is the word "fee". Citizens much more willingly pay fees than they pay taxes.

When solid materials are dumped in a landfill, a "tax" is not charged for that, a fee is charged. When solid material are dumped alongside a road and the person is prosecuted for doing that, a fine is charged.

When liquid sewage is sent through pipes to a sewage-treatment plant, a "tax" is not charged for that, a fee is charged. If liquid sewage or liquids other than water are dumped in a stream and the person is prosecuted for doing that, a fine should be charged.

When a gas, other than oxygen or nitrogen, is spewed into the atmosphere, a fee should be charged for that, not a "tax". If such a gas is spewed into the atmosphere without paying the fee and the person is prosecuted for doing that, a fine should be charged.

Global warming is a major problem confronting humans now. It is largely caused by humans spewing carbon into the atmosphere, mostly carbon dioxide. Here are some web pages concerning charging a fee for spewing carbon into the atmosphere:

How Much Carbon Fee?
"In terms of greenhouse gases, diesel emits more carbon dioxide when combusted (21.6 lb. CO2 per gallon) than gasoline (19.7 lb. CO2 per gallon) on a strictly per-gallon basis."

21.4% of CO2 is carbon [12/(12+2*16)] : 4.22 lb C in a gallon of gasoline: 4.63 lb C in a gallon of diesel.

Carbon fee amount: $25 per ton of C: $0.0125/lb; $50 per ton of C: $0.025/lb.

Carbon fees for gasoline & diesel burning:
"If U.S. legislators set a price of $35 per metric ton on carbon dioxide emissions the nation could achieve short-term reductions in emission levels of up to 10% according to a new study published in Environmental Science & Technology by Carnegie Mellon University researchers. These emissions cuts would take place without any additional clean technology capitol investments, researchers found. By simulating the impact of the carbon fee applied to power plants in three U.S. regions, they determined the $35 price mark trigger a reduction in consumer electricity use and change the order in which grid operators dispatched generating capacity to favor plants with lower emissions levels. The study, titled "Short Run Effects of a Price on Carbon Dioxide Emissions from U.S. Electric Generators," also found that emissions would be cut the most in regions, like the Northeast and Midwest, where there are fewer alternative and less-carbon-intensive fuel sources (such as natural gas). Our findings indicate that significant reductions in CO2 can and would be observed in the near-term, even before more efficient power generation technologies are deployed on a wide scale," said Jay Apt, associate research professor at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon and co-author of the study."

Roper Global-Heating Web Pages

L. David Roper,