US economists led by former US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen are uniting in record numbers to back the idea of a carbon tax as the most effective and immediate way of tackling climate change.
At a time when Democrats including New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are pushing a sweeping “Green New Deal” programme to reduce greenhouse emissions, climate change is shaping up to be a major 2020 election issue. The US is the world’s second-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, behind China.
But Ms Yellen told the Financial Times the Green New Deal was costly, whereas the carbon tax, which would plough proceeds back to the public in dividend payments, would be the “most efficient way” to reduce emissions.
“Global climate change is a very serious problem and it calls for immediate national action,” she said. “If you were to start around $40 a ton and then raise this over time, by more than the rate of inflation, this would be a very effective way of reducing carbon emissions and would more than meet the Paris commitment.”
The carbon tax proposal, organised by the Climate Leadership Council, is a bipartisan effort that has united senior economists from both parties, and now garnered 3,300 signatures from professional economists and academics across the US. [Continue reading…]