Tag: carbon

New Studies Find Few Costs, Many Benefits to Carbon Tax

By Max Bibeau | United States

In the aftermath of an outpouring of scientific research in recent years warning against the negative environmental impacts of carbon dioxide on the environment, legislators and institutions alike have proposed countless ways to reduce emissions. While many exist, one is a clear frontrunner for many: the carbon tax.

The idea is simple – tax the emissions of carbon at a set rate per ton. Theoretically, this monetary incentive should cause companies and individuals to avoid causing high levels of emissions. They could either streamline and modernize factories or by driving more fuel-efficient cars. However, many criticize the economic impacts of such a plan. The libertarian Cato Institute, for example, believes it would discourage economic growth.

The Carbon Tax Studies

In July of this year, a series of new studies came out that should suppress such concerns. The studies make up the Carbon Tax Research Initiative, which began in early 2018. The initiative is spearheaded by four different, independent think tanks (The Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, The Rhodium Group, The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, and The Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University). All of these groups are nationally renowned for their nonpartisan research and analysis.

The studies, made public on July 17th, came to similar conclusions – a carbon tax would have negligible negative economic costs, yet a plethora of positive environmental and economic benefits.

The studies analyzed three levels of taxation in order to analyze all possible policy options. The studies all simulated a low level of $14/ton, a medium level of $50/ton, and a high level of $73/ton.

Increased Revenue

The first area to examine is government revenue that the tax itself will generate. On the low level of taxation ($14/ton), government revenue was not outstanding, but was far from meager, raising an estimated $650 – $750 billion over a 10 year period. The high level of taxation ($73/ton), however, could raise enough revenue to completely change the US budget, raising between $1.5 – $3 trillion over a 10 year period. This government revenue could be critical to solving the ever-growing budget problem in the United States, providing a new and reliable stream of revenue when the state most desperately needs it.

Lowered Carbon Emission

When it comes to reducing emissions, the carbon tax also performed extremely well, lowering them across the charts. The low level of taxation reduced emissions by around 27% by 2030, coming close to, but not quite reaching the goals set by the Paris Climate Accord (28% reduction in emissions). The medium level surprisingly performed the best of all three levels, decreasing emissions by up to 46% by 2030, reaching and surpassing the Paris Accord’s goal. The high level of taxation reached a plateau in the late 2020s, reducing emissions by a still impressive 41%.

Economic Impact

As for economic criticisms, the series of studies found that most, if not all claims about a hurting economy would not occur. Almost all emissions reduction (over 80%) would take place in the power sector of the economy. The tax would have an extremely minimal impact on gas prices, increasing the price of gas by around 1¢ /gallon, per dollar added to the tax. This impact would be only temporary, however, and would actually serve as a beneficial incentive to push individuals towards electric cars.

The only market severely affected is the coal market, which would fall between 28% and 84%, depending on the rate of taxation. However, this makes sense, as there are many alternatives to coal that are already in use today. The tax would simply expedite their use. Other industries, such as oil and natural gas, would not see much of a dip at all, especially as petroleum will likely still be the primary fuel for transportation in 2030.

In stark contrast to the claims of an economic downturn, some of the studies even found potential economic benefit from the carbon tax. In the early years of the tax, GDP growth would likely stagger. However, later on, GDP is expected to increase up to 0.5% as the new revenue from the carbon tax is able to lower other taxes, such as the corporate income tax, and reduce the national deficit.

A Beneficial Policy in Nearly Every Way

While definitive research surrounding the impacts of a carbon tax on the United States were previously in short supply, the information that the groups provide paints a clear picture of the US under the policy. Government revenue could see a critical new source, bringing in up to $3 trillion in only 10 years under the tax. Also, depending on the rate of taxation, emissions could be reduced by up to 46%, far surpassing the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. Finally, the economic impacts of the carbon tax could be, contrary to popular belief, extremely beneficial, raising the GDP of the US in the long run.

Read the full studies here:

General Page

The Rhodium Group

The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

The Baker Institute for Public Policy

The Center on Global Energy Policy

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IBM And Stellar Join Forces To Save The Planet With The Blockchain

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

Blockchain technology is being widely adopted across the world, allowing for new and innovative solutions to real-world problems to come to fruition. One of these new real-world problems blockchain will be solving is climate change.

On Tuesday, Viridium Labs Ltd announced that they would be working with IBM to build a carbon credit system on Stellar’s blockchain.

Carbon credits are used to mitigate the damages caused by corporations by restricting the amount of pollutants they can put into the atmosphere. As greenhouse gas emissions rise and polar ice caps continue to shrink, it is critical that the global community find a solution.

Past solutions have been costly, centralized, and laden with bureaucracy. Veridium is attempting to solve this holdback.

Carbon credits represent the right to emit one tonne of greenhouse gasses, yet the complexity of some credits made their value impossible to determine. In turn, they became untradeable on the open market.

Viridium will be fixing this issue by using Stellar-based IBM blockchain technology. They will establish the value of credits, according to a press release. The Stellar blockchain will be used as the ledger were the credits are accounted, and IBM will be responsible for facilitating the trading.

Veridium Co-Founder and CEO Todd Lemons, this has been one of the primary issues with the carbon credit system. Fixing this will allow the world to move forward with fighting climate change.

For years, we’ve been trying to mitigate environmental impacts at every point in the value chain, however previous solutions still presented significant complexities and costs. Our work with IBM is the first step in dramatically simplifying the accounting and offsetting processes, and therefore ultimately helping reduce costs.

Our digital environmental assets are designed to help companies and institutional investors purchase and use carbon credits to mitigate their environmental impacts today, and even hedge their potential carbon liabilities risks in the future.

Organizations that utilize this accreditation system will be purchasing Triple Gold REDD+ credits. These are created by an organization known as InfiniteEARTH and work within the system set forth by the Paris Climate Agreement. Because many countries have joined to the Agreement, Veridium’s system will not have to start from square one for application of the accreditation method.


Climate Change and the Plight of Modern Science

By Cobin Szymanski | USA

“We pronounce, judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo… have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office of heresy.”

The words echo around the courtyard; a cheer jolts through the crowd. “We condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during our will and pleasure.” The Inquisition, a time of profound suffering for the world’s scientists, a time in which beliefs and evidence were vehemently opposed and detested by the common population. It was a time in which science suffered profoundly and when the world’s leaders of unconventional sagacity were persecuted by the church. They were times not unlike the present when science, once again is being conspicuously opposed and questioned.

The way we view the world was forever changed during the age of enlightenment when the world’s most prominent thinkers invented a process that questions everything yet yearns for the truth. This process is called science and is the first tool that we possess that can create objective knowledge. This paved the way for a future of trailblazers and visionaries that would make astounding discoveries that challenge the way we think. This all is the result of the objectivity of science, which is what makes it so valuable. When a hypothesis is formulated and claimed to be true it is subjected to unbiased and rigorous examination in which the very core of the idea is shaken to the ground. This is the product of a philosophical process called deductive reasoning; if a claim cannot be proven a fallacy then it must be true. This is why science is innately objective and so immensely valuable to the curious humans that we are.

However, in 1760 the world began to change; we humans found a much more enigmatic yet easier way of doing work. This was the dawn of the Industrial Revolution when humans transitioned to a fossil fuel-centered energy scene.

This time became synonymous with the ephemeral and materialistic living that we now adhere to. In this time period, we began to emit an astounding amount of CO2, what we now call a greenhouse gas; this began the era of a polluted environment. These circumstances lead to climate change, which is caused when there is a plethora of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. This subsequently leads to heat being trapped in the Troposphere, this is called the Greenhouse effect. The Greenhouse effect is exemplified by earth’s evil twin, Venus.

The greenhouse effect is capable of wreaking havoc on an environment and likely will do such a thing if we do not cease inundating the earth’s atmosphere with carbon dioxide. The greenhouse effect is the result of the bonds that Carbon makes with Oxygen which allows for heat to be trapped in its molecules. This small-scale natural phenomenon has profound impacts for the earth’s future and ours as well. While we continue to pollute the earth’s atmosphere with carbon dioxide, the earth is getting warmer and will only continue to do so. The only way to stop our planet from becoming another casualty of the greenhouse effect is to cease to emit hydrofluorocarbons and other greenhouse gasses. Only then will our earth begin to slow its gradual process of heating and lapse into its former pristine state.

The objectivity of science is unassailable and has been used for millennia. Thus, it is directly pertinent to climate change. In fact, 97% of climate scientist agree that humans are the main factor of climate change and have been for hundreds of years. We produce greenhouse gasses that subsequently heats the earth as a product of the greenhouse effect. We have studied tree rings and ice sheets and launched satellites to study it, climate change is the most studied fact of our time. It has also withstood the onslaught of scientific research and unbiased peer review. The process of climate change is real and it is substantiated by the facts and studies of the scientific process.

It is real.

The NOAA has undertaken an immense amount of studies and research trips to validate the climate change claim. Here are their findings, 2016 was the warmest year in recorded history and each year prior has broken the record as well. The planet’s average temperature has increased by two degrees Fahrenheit since the eighteenth century and is continuing to rise. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are retreating and their extent has decreased by about 276 cubic miles in four years. The ocean is becoming acidic due to the inundation of carbon dioxide into our seas and coral bleaching events are ever more prevalent. The sea level has risen eight inches in the last century and the rate has doubled in the last forty years. Many cities are sinking and the coastal areas around the world are in a precarious and volatile predicament.

It is happening.

However, despite what many say, this is not an event that will occur in the distant future; it is happening now. We have had four major hurricanes make landfall in a span of six weeks, a record amount of hurricanes in one season and this is partially due to climate change. Droughts in Africa and in Europe are becoming ever more frequent and costing lives. There are more than 200 deaths attributed to climate change every year, it is happening now. We are causing it, every year we chop down an immense swath of rainforest that contributes 17% of our carbon output. As a result, species are going extinct and humans could be the culprit of the largest mass extinction to affect this planet. The environment and biosphere are suffering and we are losing touch with the wilderness that we originate from.

There are solutions.

In reality, there is only one way to halt the progress of the greenhouse effect, we need to stop emitting greenhouse gasses. It may seem quite simplistic however in our modern geopolitical landscape a simple task like this can be quite arduous to solve. We have created the Paris Climate Accord and numerous others in hopes of reaching our simple goal of inhibiting the progress of the greenhouse effect. In order for us to accomplish such an arduous task, the entire global political landscape will need to work coherently towards our common goal. We can do this in many ways but we need to transition away from fossil fuels and invest in renewable resources. However, we first need to recognize the implications of such a global catastrophe; the world will not look the same if we do not act now. As Leonardo DiCaprio wrote,”You can make history or be vilified by it.”

The great minds of our century have been industriously working to solve the largest issue of our time and numerous solutions have been suggested. In the U.N, a carbon tax has been proposed in which large entities and nations would be charged for producing more carbon than the acceptable threshold permits. There have also been numerous agreements signed by compliant countries around the world to hold each other accountable for the carbon that they produce. We can invest in renewable energy, an investment that would create more jobs than fossil fuel could ever manage to create. There are viable solutions; all that is required of us is to act.

In spite of the overwhelming scientific consensus and plethora of feasible solutions available to us, we continue to deny climate change. This marks an epoch in which science is once again being questioned and vilified. The large oil companies that have vested interest in the assurance of continued oil production continue to spread misinformation. They have gone so far as to as to create websites and hire scientists to doubt supported facts and the scientific consensus. This is a time when it is imperative that we continue to question all and to support the credible. The implications of a climate disaster are vast and it is essential that we continue to reduce carbon emissions to save the biosphere that we hold dear.

The long-held principles of a scientific world are being questioned and will shake our modern society to its core. The great minds of our time are imploring us to continue to innovate within our progressive society. For, science have gotten us to where we are and will deliver us to where we are heading. The battle for science has commenced and if we wish to continue to progress we need to win the war.

                                                              Works Cited

“1.The World Is Getting Warmer.” Climate Change, www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/climate-change/.

“2016 State of the Climate: Highlights.” State of the Climate: Highlights Homepage | NOAA Climate.gov, www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/state-climate-highlights/2016.

“Climate Change Evidence: How Do We Know?” NASA, NASA, Oct. 2017, climate.nasa.gov/evidence/.

“Effects of Climate Change.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/threats/effects-of-climate-change.

“Galileo Is Convicted of Heresy.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/galileo-is-convicted-of-heresy.

“Global Climate Change.” NASA, NASA, Feb. 2014, climate.nasa.gov/.

Nuccitelli, Dana. “The Mail’s Censure Shows Which Media Outlets Are Biased on Climate Change | Dana Nuccitelli.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 2017, www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/sep/25/the-mails-censure-shows-which-media-outlets-are-biased-on-climate-change.

Nuccitelli, Dana. “These Are the Best Arguments from the 3% of Climate Scientist ‘Skeptics.’ Really. | Dana Nuccitelli.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 2016, www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/jul/25/these-are-the-best-arguments-from-the-3-of-climate-scientist-skeptics-really.

Otto, Shawn Lawrence. The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It’s Dangerous, and What We Can Do about It. Milkweed Editions, 2016.

Poushter, Jacob, and Dorothy Manevich. “Globally, People Point to ISIS and Climate Change as Leading Security Threats.” Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, Jan. 2017, www.pewglobal.org/2017/08/01/globally-people-point-to-isis-and-climate-change-as-leading-security-threats/.

Times, The New York. “Where in the World Is Climate Change Denial Most Prevalent?” The New York Times, The New York Times, Dec. 2015, www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/climate/2015-paris-climate-talks/where-in-the-world-is-climate-denial-most-prevalent.