The Center on Global Energy Policy provides independent and data-driven research on carbon taxes to policymakers, business leaders, students and journalists. 

REPORTS

 

Interactions between a Federal Carbon Tax and Other Climate Policies (March 2019)

While a federal carbon tax would be a significant step toward slashing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, policymakers should also examine whether other new policies are needed alongside a carbon tax and whether existing policies should be changed or eliminated. To provide policymakers with information to help make these decisions, this paper proposes a framework that policymakers can use to assess the compatibility between a federal carbon tax and other policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Using this framework, the paper categorizes existing and potential polices on a spectrum from "complementary" or "redundant to a federal carbon tax. 

This interactive tool describes the main findings from the paper on the compatibility of a federal carbon tax with other policies.

The Energy, Economic and Environmental Impacts of a Federal US Carbon Tax (July 2018)

This short, accessible report summarizes the results of the following three studies that analyze a common set of carbon tax policies: 1) Energy and Environmental Implications of a Carbon Tax in the United States, 2) Distributional Implications of a Carbon Tax, and 3) The Effects of Carbon Tax Policies on the US Economy and the Welfare of Households. This summary report also provides guidance for interpreting the studies’ findings in light of model limitations, similar studies, and other relevant factors.

Energy and Environmental Implications of a Carbon Tax in the United States (July 2018)

This project, conducted in collaboration with the Rhodium Group,  provides insights into the likely effects of carbon taxes on energy producers, consumers, and markets, as well as on U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases. The original analysis conducted by the Rhodium Group using the RHG-NEMS model examines various carbon tax scenarios. The findings shed light on the impacts of different carbon prices on emissions outcomes and the achievability of the U.S. commitments to the Paris Agreement, as well as impacts to fossil fuel and renewable energy production.

Distributional Implications of a Carbon Tax (July 2018)

This project, in collaboration with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, analyzes the impacts of various potential carbon taxes on U.S. households of different income levels. The results come from a state-of-the-art microsimulation model, using the results from the Rhodium Group’s energy sector modeling as inputs. The findings will help policymakers understand how the economic outcomes of carbon tax policies differ across households.

The Effects of Carbon Tax Policies on the US Economy and the Welfare of Households (July 2018)

This project, in collaboration with The Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, examines how various potential carbon taxes affect macroeconomic outcomes (GDP, investment, labor supply, etc.) as well as impacts across households of varying income levels. The results come from a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model designed to analyze both short-run and long-run macroeconomic outcomes, as well as intergenerational and intragenerational distributional effects, and  uses the results from the Rhodium Group’s energy sector modeling as inputs.

Emissions, Energy, and Economic Implications of the Curbelo Carbon Tax Proposal (July 2018)

Along with scholars from the Rhodium Group and Rice University, CGEP research scholar Noah Kaufman analyzes carbon tax legislation proposed by Congressman Carlos Curbelo, the first federal carbon pricing proposal from a congressional Republican in nearly a decade. The analysis includes projected effects of the legislation on: greenhouse gas emissions; the production and prices in key energy markets; national macroeconomic outcomes, and; the welfare of low-income families.  

Carbon Tax Design Options (January 2018)

What is the value of a carbon tax, and what are the different design options policymakers should consider? This first project in the series, in collaboration with the Rhodium Group, addresses issues including: the level of the tax rates, where a tax could be applied, how broad it could be, revenue use alternatives, and how to address concerns of international competitiveness and emissions leakage.

Risks to Coal Communities  

Climate policies will reduce demand for coal, exacerbating the pressure the coal industry already faces from decades of mechanization in the coal industry, low-cost natural gas as a competitor to coal, and generally weak domestic electricity demand growth. This project will examine the risks of future climate policies to coal communities and steps these communities should be taking to disclose and prepare for these consequences. 

Commentaries

A COMPARISON OF THE BIPARTISAN ENERGY INNOVATION AND CARBON DIVIDEND ACT WITH OTHER CARBON TAX PROPOSALS

This commentary describes the first bipartisan carbon pricing proposal in Congress in nearly a decade in comparison to other carbon tax proposals released in 2018 (1) by Congressional Democrats led by Senator Whitehouse; (2) by Congressional Republicans led by Congressman Curbelo; and (3) by the Climate Leadership Council authored by James Baker and George Shultz.

Alternatives to the Social Cost of Carbon in Taxes and Subsidies

This commentary evaluates five approaches for setting CO2 prices based on the benefits and costs of reducing CO2 emissions and compares them across various desired attributes.

The Use of Current Social Cost of Carbon Estimates in Taxes and Subsidies

Noah Kaufman examines the history and application of the social cost of carbon (SC-CO2) in the United States, focusing on the use of the SC-CO2 to set carbon tax and clean energy subsidy rates.

Can China’s CO2 Trading System Avoid the Pitfalls of Other Emissions Trading Schemes?

Noah Kaufman and Jonathan Elkind explore whether China’s national CO2 emissions trading system (ETS) is likely to drive significant emissions reductions. 

Putting a price on vehicle emissions is better policy than it seems

Noah Kaufman describes why the effects of a carbon tax on vehicle emissions may be more substantial than conventional wisdom suggests. Kaufman acknowledges that a carbon price by itself may not rapidly decarbonize the transportation sector, but he argues that it is an important component of a cost-effective strategy for addressing vehicle emissions. 

A Carbon Tax Under Real-World Constraints

CGEP Scholar Dr. Noah Kaufman examines four concerns that carbon tax supporters have raised with the design of Initiative 1631 in Washington state. For each, he highlights the consensus of economists on how a carbon tax should be designed (in theory) and compares those recommendations to the details of Initiative 1631.

Op-Eds

Oil industry and climate activists agree on one solution: carbon tax

Noah Kaufman | The Hill | July 24, 2018

When it comes to action on climate change, few groups have less in common than the oil industry and climate activists. Writing in The Hill, CGEP Scholar Noah Kaufman argues that both groups, however, may find something to like in the same kind of climate policy: a carbon tax