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Posted Sun Sep 13 2009: from New Scientist:
Better world: Tax carbon and give the money to the people
A universal carbon tax could be far simpler. NASA climatologist James Hansen is a vocal proponent, favouring a variant in which fossil fuels are taxed at source or at a country's port of entry. The most polluting fuels in terms of carbon emissions, such as coal or tar-sand-derived oil, could be taxed more heavily than others. Consumers would not pay the tax directly, but its effect would permeate through to everything from the price of gas to the price of food: the more carbon-intensive goods or services are, the more heavily they will be hit. That doesn't mean that consumers need be out of pocket. As Hansen envisages the scheme, the proceeds of the tax should not be kept by the government, but instead distributed equally among all citizens in the form of payments into their bank accounts. Those who make greener choices -- flying less, insulating their home, running a more energy-efficient car -- will make a net profit from the tax.... "A carbon tax is honest. It takes one page rather than 1400," [Hansen] says. "That doesn't go down too well in Washington."
[Read more stories about: smart policy, low-energy future, carbon neutral]

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