Although the future extent and effects of global climate change remain uncertain, the expected damages are not zero, and risks of serious environmental and macroeconomic consequences rise with increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Despite the uncertainties, reducing emissions now makes sense, and a carbon tax is the simplest, most effective, and least costly way to do this. At the same time, a carbon tax would provide substantial new revenues which may be badly needed, given historically high debt-to-GDP levels, pressures on social security and medical budgets, and calls to reform taxes on personal and corporate income.
Implementing a US Carbon Tax is about the practicalities of introducing a carbon tax, set against the broader fiscal context. It consists of thirteen chapters, written by leading experts, covering the full range of issues policymakers would need to understand, such as the revenue potential of a carbon tax, how the tax can be administered, the advantages of carbon taxes over other mitigation instruments and the environmental and macroeconomic impacts of the tax. A carbon tax can work in the United States. Implementing a US Carbon Tax shows how, by laying out sound design principles, opportunities for broader policy reforms, and feasible solutions to specific implementation challenges.
1. Carbon Taxes as Part of the Fiscal Solution
2. Choosing among Mitigation Instruments: How Strong is the Case for a US Carbon Tax?
3. Administration of a US Carbon Tax
4. Carbon Taxes to Achieve Emissions Targets - Insights from EMF 24
5. Macroeconomic Effects of Carbon Taxes
6. The Distributional Burden of a Carbon Tax: Evidence and Implications for Policy
7. Offsetting a Carbon Tax's Burden on Low-Income Households
8. Carbon Taxes and Corporate Tax Reform
9. Carbon Taxes and Energy Intensive Trade Exposed Industries: Impacts and Options
10. The Role of Energy Technology Policy Alongside Carbon Pricing
11. Mixing It Up: Power Sector Energy and Regional and Regulatory Climate Policies in the Presence of a Carbon Tax
12. Implications of Carbon Taxes for Transportation Policies
13. Comparing Countries' Climate Mitigation Efforts in a Post-Kyoto World
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Ian Parry is Principal Environmental Fiscal Policy Expert in the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF.
Adele Morris is a fellow and policy director for Climate and Energy Economics at the Brookings Institution.
Roberton C. Williams III is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Maryland, Senior Fellow and Director of Academic Programs at Resources for the Future, and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.