Create a Carbon Tax in New Jersey

Create a Carbon Tax in New Jersey

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Tyler C. And Chase V. SLP Project started this petition to Governor Phil Murphy and

The year is 2100. The average temperature has risen ten degrees Fahrenheit.  Temperatures are continuing to rise. There have been drastic changes in precipitation patterns, more droughts and heat waves, stronger and more intense hurricanes, and the sea level has risen by four feet. The Arctic is completely void of ice and has been for almost fifty years. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, and ecosystems have been heavily damaged. Tree diseases have caused many different species of trees to go extinct, creating a domino effect in the ecosystem. Sea level rise has crumbled the national economy, and there is decreased water availability. Erosion has and is slowly crumbling coastal areas (NASA). This may sound like the plot to a dystopian novel, but it may be the reality for the future generations of the Earth if the governments of the world do not take a stand now to the greenhouse gas emissions being released into the Earth’s atmosphere. There are options to help diminish the detrimental effects of climate change. A carbon tax plan in New Jersey could be a leading step in reducing emissions in the United States.

Climate change is an imperative detriment to mankind. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, “Climate change refers to a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning fossil fuels, which add heat-trapping gasses to Earth’s atmosphere. These phenomena include the increased temperature trends described by global warming, but also encompass changes such as sea level rise; ice mass loss in Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic and mountain glaciers worldwide; shifts in flower/plant blooming; and extreme weather events.” (NASA). Climate change is such a vital issue because the effects that scientists are predicting will change the way the humans, ecosystems, and the way Earth’s Environment behaves. Climate change will have troubling effects, “Loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.” (NASA). These effects are dangerous because they will cause widespread water stress, and infrastructure damage, economic downturn, agricultural harm, and ecosystem damage. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Human health is vulnerable to climate change. The changing environment is expected to cause more heat stress, an increase in waterborne diseases, poor air quality, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents. Extreme weather events can compound many of these health threats.” (NOAA).  Human health will be threatened by climate change as a whole. The problem is that climate change is mostly our own fault. Climate change can be credited to something called the greenhouse effect. In the greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases such as water vapor, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane will be trapped inside our atmosphere. When light from the sun's rays reach Earth, some passes down to the surface and then is radiated upward. The vast majority of this infrared heat is absorbed by greenhouse gases and radiated back towards Earth. The Greenhouse effect as a whole is not bad, in fact, it allows the Earth to stay warm enough to support life. But if you have too many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, then the Earth will become too warm, which will cause a variety of effects. The problem is that humans are the primary emitter of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  According to NASA, “In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countries all over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there’s a more than 95 percent probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet. The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years. The panel also concluded there’s a better than 95 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth’s temperatures over the past 50 years.” (NASA). This illustrates how much of climate change is human-caused. To stop climate change, however, Earth must limit the number of greenhouse gases that it emits.

Currently, in New Jersey, the Department of Environmental Protection has the typical NOx Cap and Trade program in place, with the Acid Rain SO2 program also in place. These two programs are good, however, they don’t do enough to stop carbon emissions in New Jersey. According to the Energy Information Administration, New Jersey emits the 16th most carbon dioxide out of the 50 states (EIA). This is too high for New Jersey. But how would New Jersey cut down its carbon emissions? With a carbon tax. A carbon tax is a fee imposed on the burning of carbon-based fuels.  For our service learning project, we made the framework of a Carbon Tax that could be put into place in New Jersey. This Carbon tax was based on the current Canadian Carbon tax system. In our plan, the Carbon Tax will cost $20 per tonne of CO2e. The cost will increase by $5 per year until the cost reaches $50 in 2025, where it then increases at a rate of 2% until the year 2030. The greenhouse gasses defined that count is the list of greenhouse gasses defined by the United Nations Framework of Climate Change as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride. We also instituted a buyback system where people are compensated for the increase in gas prices that would result from putting a carbon tax into play. An adult citizen of New Jersey in the 1-25 percentiles of wealth will receive $500 in tax credit each year as compensation for prices increases. This compensation will increase by 1% each year, whereas adult citizen of New Jersey in the 26-50 percentiles of wealth will receive $600 in tax credit as compensation for price increases in products. This compensation will increase by 1% each year. Additionally, an adult citizen of New Jersey in the 51-100 percentiles of wealth will receive $700 in tax credit as compensation for price increases in products. This compensation will increase by 1% each year. Also, families compensation is calculated by the percentiles of the parents/guardians, with an additional $400 in tax credit per child in the household. This additional $400 in tax credit increases by 1% each year. We also set out the framework of regulated facilities. Facilities that must pay the carbon tax are facilities that report annual emissions of 40 kilotons of CO2e or more, however, there are some facilities that are exempt from paying the carbon tax. Facilities that are exempt from paying this carbon tax are hospitals, primary schools, secondary schools, universities, landfills, water treatment facilities, natural gas distribution pipelines, and other government buildings necessary for the wellbeing of the community. Facilities that are interested in paying carbon taxes that emit less than 40-kilo tons of CO2e or more can also apply through the NJDEP. Dairy and meat farms are also required to pay this carbon tax. Currently, we have met with the mayor of New Rochelle, Noam Bramson, and the Deputy District Director of New Jersey’s fifth congressional district to discuss the framework of our carbon tax, and the possibility of instituting the Carbon Tax in New Jersey. In the future, we look forward to possibly meeting a representative from Governor Phil Murphy’s team, and visiting our local State Legislature representative. These actions help spread awareness about the positive effects of a carbon tax, and how they could reduce our carbon footprint.

One downside of a carbon tax is that a carbon tax would hurt the economy. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, “This tax would deal a blow to employment in New Jersey, with a loss of worker income equivalent to 34,00 to 38,000 jobs in 2013 and 41,000 to 55,000 by 2023.” (NAM). Although this is true, the economic impacts that climate change will bring are much worse.  According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, there will be mass damage to property and infrastructure, lost productivity, mass migration and security threats, and many other problems. The problems that we would face now due to a carbon tax will seem fine compared to the problems down the road with climate change. Another person who would be against a carbon tax might say that a cap and trade system is a better alternative. A cap and trade system is a system in which the users and producers of coal, oil, and natural gas buy, sell, and trade their allowance to emit a given amount of carbon dioxide (IER). However, a cap and trade system is not as effective as a Carbon Tax system and would be worse for the world because they are not as effective. According to the Institute for Energy Research, “Cap and trade schemes for carbon dioxide have not worked to reduce emissions. Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) began in 2005. The first phase, from 2005 to 2007, did not reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, overall emissions increased 1.9 percent over that period.” (IER). Cap and Trade systems are less effective in reducing emissions than a Carbon Tax would be.

Climate change is a real issue, and we need real solutions to solve this issue. A Carbon Tax would reduce emissions, and take a step in the right direction to defeat Climate change. If New Jersey was to institute a Carbon Tax, then other states would likely follow. A carbon tax would reduce emissions, and is better than a Cap and Trade system. Only America can decide it’s own future, and we should not throw the future generations of Earth under the bus. We must take a stand against climate change.

Works Cited

Global Warming Effects on the Economy, www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-effects/economy.html

“Cap and Trade Primer: Eight Reasons Why Cap and Trade Harms the Economy and Reduces Jobs.” IER, 10 Aug. 2018, www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/regulation/cap-and-trade-primer-eight-reasons-why-cap-and-trade-harms-the-economy-and-reduces-jobs/

“The Causes of Climate Change.” NASA, NASA, 1 May 2019, climate.nasa.gov/causes/.

Climate Change Canada. “Carbon Pricing: Regulatory Framework for the Output-Based Pricing System.” Canada.ca, 31 Jan. 2018, www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/weather/climatechange/climate-action/pricing-carbon-pollution/output-based-pricing-system.html

Climate Change Canada. “Carbon Pricing: Regulatory Framework for the Output-Based Pricing System.” Canada.ca, 31 Jan. 2018, www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/weather/climatechange/climate-action/pricing-carbon-pollution/output-based-pricing-system.html

“Climate Change Impacts.” Climate Change Impacts | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/climate-education-resources/climate-change-impacts

“The Effects of Climate Change.” NASA, NASA, 23 Apr. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/effects/.

“Home.” Carbon Tax Center, www.carbontax.org/whats-a-carbon-tax/

“U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis.” State-Level Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2005-2016, www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/state/analysis/

“What's in a Name? Weather, Global Warming and Climate Change.” NASA, NASA, 8 Apr. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/resources/global-warming/.

“The Page You Requested Is Not Available.” NAM, www.nam.org/Issues/Tax-and-Budget/Carbon-Tax/

 

Below is a possible framework we created for a carbon tax that could be put into place in New Jersey.

Carbon Tax and Compensation:


The Carbon Tax will cost $20 per tonne of CO2e. This cost will increase by $5 per year until the cost reaches $50 in 2025, where it then increases at a rate of 2% until the year 2030.
The greenhouse gasses defined that count is the list of greenhouse gasses defined by the United Nations Framework of Climate Change as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride.
An adult citizen of New Jersey in the 1-25 percentiles of wealth will receive $500 in tax credit each year as compensation for prices increases. This compensation will increase by 1% each year.
An adult citizen of New Jersey in the 26-50 percentiles of wealth will receive $600 in tax credit as compensation for price increases in products. This compensation will increase by 1% each year.
An adult citizen of New Jersey in the 51-100 percentiles of wealth will receive $700 in tax credit as compensation for price increases in products. This compensation will increase by 1% each year.
A families compensation is calculated by the percentiles of the parents/guardians, with an additional $400 in tax credit per child in the household. This additional $400 of tax credit increases by 1% each year.

Regulated Facilities:


Facilities that must pay the carbon tax are facilities that report annual emissions of 40 kilotons of CO2e or more.
Facilities that are exempt from paying this carbon tax are hospitals, primary schools, secondary schools, universities, landfills, water treatment facilities, natural gas distribution pipelines, and other government buildings necessary for the wellbeing of the community.
Facilities that are interested in paying carbon taxes that emit less than 40-kilo tons of CO2e or more can apply through the NJDEP.
Dairy and meat farms are required to pay this carbon tax.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!