Global warming and the carbon tax solution

a simple tax solution

Governments tax things that they want to have less of. So, if we can calculate the cost of the damages from a ton of emissions of carbon dioxide, or the “social cost of carbon” then we can pass along that cost as a tax. This is the central thesis put out by Yale economist William Nordhaus, who won a Nobel Prize for his work.

Nordhaus measured the dollar value of the total damages from emitting one ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and estimated it to be roughly $40 per ton. Using that number can help to reverse the current market situation in which the producers of greenhouse gases are making money while society pays the cost.

Faced with a tax, Nordhaus suggests that profit-oriented companies will put money into developing technology that will better care for the environment (and cost less for them). These taxes are currently being used in countries like Australia, China and Canada.

one reason carbon is so bad

The earth is heated by the energy from the sun, and cools down by releasing radiation back into space.
Incoming and outgoing energy have to be in balance if the temperature of the earth is to remain constant.

Since the Industrial Revolution, the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas have increased the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Along with other gases like methane and nitrous oxide, CO2 acts like a blanket, absorbing infrared radiation and preventing it from leaving the atmosphere. The net effect causes the earth to heat.

CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas.

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