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A Carbon Tax and Shift Can Grow Oregon Economy

A carbon tax and shift can grow Oregon economy."
Oregon Business. April 2013


Our lives are surrounded by regulations to influence behavior, from not smoking in public places to not polluting waterways and being civil in public. Usually, a violation of these regulations is associated with a fine or a tax to discourage greater use, as in the cigarette tax.

The fines and taxes serve two purposes: 1) to discourage an unwanted behavior and 2) to generate revenue that funds the operation of public services, such as police and fire departments.

In a very broad sense, our society fines and taxes undesirable behavior and uses the funds to promote behavior we do want, such as safety on our streets and fire prevention for our homes.

When it comes to climate change, we also have a number of regulations to stop or discourage behavior that may lead to global warming. Violations of these regulations have fines associated with them. However, unlike the cigarette tax, there is no price or cost placed on emitting carbon.  Furthermore, we are missing the second part of using the funds to promote behavior we do want.

A properly designed carbon tax can get us there.

Article by Dr. Thomas Potiowsky, Dr. Jenny Liu, and Jeff Renfro.

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