Climate Change: The Power of Taxes
About This Class
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires long-term changes in behavior, and in a capitalist society, industry, businesses, and consumers respond to prices. Increase in the cost of greenhouse gases can reduce emissions, and reductions in the price of alternatives to fossil fuels can increase their use. This seminar explores the ways in which tax systems can send these negative and positive price signals in the United States and elsewhere. Addressing issues of theory, policy, politics, and law, the seminar will cover topics such as the federal tax incentives for renewable energy, alternative fuel vehicles, and energy conservation, the debate over whether to use carbon taxes or a cap-and-trade approach in the United States, US and European experiences with energy taxes, the role of tax incentives for land conservation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the repeal of tax subsidies for fossil fuels. While focusing on climate change, the seminar will provide students with the framework for understanding how and when to use tax measures to address other environmental problems as well.Method of evaluation: Final paper and class participation. AWR: Yes. Perspectives requirement.