“Putting a price on carbon pollution is by far the most powerful and efficient way to reduce emissions”

Jim Yong Kim, World Bank President

Recent Carbon Tax Developments

Over the past few years, conservatives as well as liberals have put forth a wide range of carbon tax proposals.  A range of advocacy and research organizations
have crafted economic analyses and critiques of how a carbon tax would impact the economy, businesses and consumers.  Many analyses offer a highly positive assessment of the benefit of a carbon tax in stimulating new investments in clean energy and reducing carbon pollution.  Some, however, paint a cautionary picture of how a carbon tax might impact low-income communities.

In 2009, at the grassroots level and ever since, Citizens' Climate Lobby began advocating for for a Carbon Fee and Dividend, a carbon tax that proposes a $15/ton price on all GHGs, annual increases of $10/ton, the return of all revenues to households, and a carbon fee border adjustment. 


In 2017, eleven major companies, including GM, Exxon, P&G, PepsiCo, and Unilever, publicly endorsed a similar plan from the Climate
Leadership Council
.  Called Carbon Dividends, the plan calls for an initial $40/ton price on just CO2 emissions and a roughly 2% over inflation annual increase. Like the CCL plan, this plan returns all revenue to households and includes a border adjustment.   Additionally, the plan calls for regulatory rollback and limited tort liability.  

In Congress, on July 23rd, Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) introduced the Market Choice Act, which calls for a $24 per ton tax on CO2. Citing the moral responsibility to not "saddle young people with environmental debt," Curbelo’s bill calls for eliminating the gasoline tax and using 70% of the revenues generated to upgrade America’s highway infrastructure, support low income communities and clean energy R&D. The bill would impose a 12-year moratorium on EPA’s Clean Air Act provided that Paris agreed to emission targets are met. Another key piece of carbon tax legislation has been proposed by Senators Whitehouse and Schatz. Their American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act calls for a $49 per ton fee, increasing annually with revenues used for corporate tax rate reduction, tax credits to workers and recipients of federal assistance, and state block grants.  


Membership in the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus continues to grow and now includes 90 House members. Eight state legislatures considered bills in 2017-2018, and Washington state voters will weigh in on a ballot initiative in November.  The Massachusetts legislature is moving forward with a carbon pricing bill.  Internationally, several dozen countries currently price carbon; while, further, several hundred companies around the world, including major oil and technology firms, now take a carbon price into account in their long-term business planning and investment decisions.

The following list of resources, follows the order of the Forum’s five panels.  We have added a final section on equity.

What is a Carbon Tax and How Would it Work?

Business Climate Leaders – Carbon Pricing Principles 
WRI 2018 - Achieving U.S. Emissions Targets with a Carbon Tax    
WR2015 - Putting A Price on Carbon: A Handbook for U.S. Policymakers
11 Essential Questions for Designing a Policy to Price Carbon 

The Business Case for a Carbon Tax

Conservative Case for Pricing Carbon – Niskanen Center 
American Sustainable Business Council:  The Business Case for Carbon Pricing 
Business Climate Leaders – Retail Trade Sector 
Citizens' Climate Lobby - Carbon Fee and Dividend's Economic Impact (REMI Report) 
United Nations Carbon Pricing Leadership

National Political Landscape

Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax and the Missing Partisan Divide
Is There Hope for Carbon Pricing Legislation in the U.S.?   
Climate Leadership Council – Republicans Take the Lead
Public Support for a  Carbon Tax Grows 
UC Berkley Law: Beyond the Beltway: A Report on State Energy and Climate Policies  
World Bank: Carbon Pricing Dashboard    
Can We Price Carbon?  (book)            
The rich can survive on a polluted planet, the poor cannot — a carbon tax is the great equalizer

State Carbon Policies

Massachusetts Carbon Pricing 
Carbon Tax Efforts – Carbon Tax Center 
Washington State – I 1631 on the Ballot in November

Mobilizing in Support of a Carbon Tax

The Urgent Need for Corporate Advocacy 
Iowan Secret for Business Climate Advocacy 
Citizens Climate Lobby 
A Climate Solution Where All Sides Win – Ted Halstead
Students for Carbon Dividends


WRI 2016 - Putting a Price on Carbon: Ensuring Equity 
Make Polluters Pay – Green For All 
Climate Justice Alliance