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Carbon Taxes
Alex Steffen, 10 May 05

Bruce sends word that New Zealand just became the first country to impose a nation-wide carbon tax of NZ$11 per metric ton.

This is a big deal. Taxing the right things -- taxing waste instead of work -- is a key lever for producing big changes in our economy and society. The impact on the average Kiwi is expected to be slight (NZ$2.90 per week), and the carbon tax revenues will be balanced with other tax cuts, so that the net increase in tax burden will actually balance out to nothing. But the market signals will be clear: dump less carbon into the atmosphere and you'll save money on your tax bill.

Would such a tax work in the U.S.? Patrick Doherty thinks we'd need a different model. But such an approach might well work for state governments, according to the folks at Redefining Progress, who've put together a state carbon tax modeling program (for both PC and Apple) which lets the ecowonky among us experiment with just how much tax-shifting could accomplish in our home states.

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I am always sceptical when I read the words "the first country to !!!". Sweden and other Scandinavian countries have had nation-wide carbon tax since the 1990s. These taxes are pivotal in making their Biomass cogeneration systems economically possible. I know you want to catch people’s interest but if worldchanging starts sounding like a tabloid you will most definitely loose credibility.

Posted by: Mike on 11 May 05

Another good info source for people interested in carbon taxes is Northwest Environment Watch's book Tax Shift, written by Alan Durning and our friend Yoram Bauman.

Posted by: Jeremy Faludi on 11 May 05



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