Tax to Pay Externalities by Zero Externalities
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As you admit, "mitigation costs would be much harder to assess." Much. That kind of calculation would add complexity when the political imperative is to reduce complexity. Also, I thought the proposal was a solid description of the need for a clear calculation of marginal harm from the next ton of CO2, but then you added this: "To be fair, we should find ways to tax those who have benefited from past pollution." Pricing legacy costs would undercut the economic efficiency argument that I thought you were making.
The idea of a carbon tax that rises over time until emissions are reduced to an acceptable level is commonplace. The author simply posits that such a tax should be enacted. Providing carbon tax revenues to the generators "to pay the cost of reducing and eventually eliminating the carbon emissions" is one possible approach.
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