‘Taxes’. It’s a word that tends to strike fear and hatred in many peoples hearts and minds, instilling thoughts of slashed income earnings, costly purchases and the downfall of many a society. When we see it plastered over the news headlines and atop papers, we instantly think that once again, our governments are stepping up their efforts to screw us over financially by taking our rightfully earned money and wasting it away on projet that us as the taxpayers never see the light of.
Tax however is something us in the developed economic world have to deal with, it’s a power we cannot afford to ignore (excuse the pun). Without income tax and VAT, our nations would be without the cash to make our lives as good as they are, and they are good, even if economic downturn and suffering seem so rife at the moment. It’s never so much the idea of the tax itself that angers us, but the level we have to deal with, and its no surprise that us Westerner experience some of the highest in the world. Then again, we also experience the best living standards globally, so it can’t be all that bad can it?
This is why it’s high time the developed world took a long hard look in the mirror (and wallet) and began seriously considering what has become known as the ‘carbon tax’. The concept has been around for decades, and has only grown in potential since its inception. Unfortunately, it has yet to latch firmly onto daily life, always sitting in the background as a mere point for consideration than an actual solution. This stance is well overdue in its updating, and now more than ever, the carbon tax could be the answer to so many of our problems.
In effect, a carbon tax places a price, usually called the ‘social cost of carbon’, on a single ton of CO2, taking into account estimated disadvantages to health, population, the economy and the environment, with a round figure calculated at the end. Once this value has been obtained, the government will then charge any polluter, small or large, for each ton of carbon emitted into the atmosphere, an element we know all too well as a highly damaging pollutant.
This encourages polluters to do many wonderful things, ranging from innovating greener technology, to reducing dirty practices, switching fuel and ultimately curbing climate change. At the same time, a massive stream of revenue is provided to the government which can be directly reinvested back into renewables and cleaner industries. I’ll get to the side-benefits later, but for now, that’s enough to know that carbon taxing has the potential to actually make a solid difference, both to the planet and our wallets.