30 Mar 2016

Save the Earth humanity for $0.44/gallon? No thanks!

In a comment to yesterday's post on climate change's much worse, much sooner impacts, JP asked:
Has anyone computed what sort of per gallon carbon tax would be required to both reduce GHG discharges and to pay for mitigation and adaptation costs for some reasonable scenario?
Well, many people have, as it's easy, i.e.,
At US$50/ton CO2e, that would work out to about $0.44/gallon (EIA source). The tax* covers mitigation, but the revenue could be used for adaptation, lowering income taxes, etc.
Bottom Line: The "cost" of mitigating (reducing) our impacts from GHG emissions is small relative to the damages but politicians (helped by lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry) have presented it as a "kill your kids" intervention. So sad.

* I call it a Pigouvian fee because it corrects for a problem, rather than causing one (i.e., deadweight losses).