Tax Examples: Carbon-Specific Taxes Generally

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A carbon tax is a charge paid on the carbon content of fuels. In economic theory, the tax internalizes the negative social and environmental effect carbon emissions have. Optimal tax design would cause prices to equal the marginal social cost of carbon emissions. Calculating the precise negative impact of carbon emissions is an imperfect science, however, and value estimates vary widely. An IPCC surveyed a selection of calculations that ranged from $3 to $97 per metric ton of CO2and had a mean value of $12 per metric ton of CO2. A number of countries, mainly European nations, have imposed energy taxes or carbon-content based energy taxes. Distributional impacts are a key issue in carbon taxation, with the use of collected revenue affecting the progressive or regressive nature of the tax.