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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Carbon Taxes Take a Step Back. Maybe It Needs a New Name.

Author: Reilly Capps/Tuesday, July 16, 2013/Categories: Archive Pick of the Week

By Reilly Capps 

Australia is giving up on its plan to introduce a carbon tax, instead aiming at an emission trading scheme sort of like the cap and trade system that passed the U.S. House in 2009 but failed in the Senate. The reason? Politicians don't want to make energy more expensive, not when they're facing a tight election. 

Sea levels will rise far into the future, and yet Australians don't want to pay A$380 more a year in energy costs.

Meanwhile, here in America, dirty energy groups are pouring money into ad campaigns designed to halt any momentum a carbon tax might have. A carbon tax is labeled a "non-starter" in the U.S., and it probably is as long as the GOP controls the house.

There's some hope: Canada is moving slowly toward a kind of luxury tax on carbon emissions, in which carbon producers would be taxed on their pollution, above a certain amount. This, too, is an uphill battle, with the supporters falling all over themselves to not call the tax a tax. They're trying to get it called a "fee." 

Because even though nearly every serious person thinks a carbon tax is a great idea and maybe even a solution to a lot of our problems, you can't whisper the word tax anymore. You can't even say "revenue-neutral tax" or "tax swap." 

I'm wondering if there isn't a better name for this very important idea, a name that might give it a hope of coming into existence. 

Carbon Rebate? 

Global Warming Rebate? 

Climate Change in Your Pocket? 

Carbon Tax Cut? 

The Clean Planet Tax Cut? 


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