Texas’s cold wave is foreshadowing what reality could look like in the near future. With some scientists predicting that global warming will introduce a new ice age and others predicting cities in coastal states like California becoming Atlantis, one outcome is clear: global warming threatens our existence.
Speakers from the United Nations have projected that climate change will be irreversible within the next eleven years prompting countries like France, Canada, and Japan to implement new policies to combat global warming: France has drafted legislation to solve its water pollution, Canada has created numerous funds to support new innovations in clean energy industries, and Japan has invested in offshore wind energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. Surprisingly, the United States does not join the list of countries that are fighting climate change and has made insignificant progress in combating climate change. However, within the last decade, a controversial solution for climate change, carbon taxing, has been championed by both United States senators and their constituents. Because of the potential dangers of climate change, Congress should immediately pass legislation that establishes a carbon tax in order to effectively combat global warming.
Carbon taxing is the process of setting a price on the amount of carbon emitted. The more carbon is emitted, the more profit is taxed. For example, Finland requires about seventy-three dollars per ton of carbon and Denmark requires around twenty-seven dollars per ton of carbon. Today, carbon taxing would be the most effective way to combat climate change while benefiting the people the most.
Opponents of the carbon tax argue that the implementation of a carbon tax would be extremely regressive, thus disproportionately harming the lower class. Because carbon taxing raises the price of everyday items like gas, the lower class would have to pay a larger percentage of their capital. However, not only have most implementations of carbon taxing around the world directly given back capital to the lower class in the form of cash, a carbon tax creates more job opportunities for the lower class. Projections from the Scientific American explain that a carbon tax would increase American jobs by around 1.4 million jobs every year additionally fixing the regressiveness of a carbon tax.
Other opponents argue that a carbon tax would hurt the American economy by hurting American businesses by either forcing the companies to raise prices or fire employees or by going out of business. Inevitably, certain companies will go out of business; however, that cost will be offset by the innovation and growth in the clean energy industry. The Scientific American explains jobs will simply be reallocated rather than lost and in turn, help create more innovations in the clear energy industry. Furthermore, the effect of the carbon tax in Canada and Finland serve as evidence that proves that job loss would not be frequent and that jobs would simply be reallocated. A constant demand for energy will always exist. If less energy is produced by using fossil fuels, which are contributors to carbon emissions, more energy will be produced by renewable energy companies. This naturally occurred in both Canada and Finland. From the increase in revenue, the U.S. government can use the funds from the carbon taxes to further support cleaner energy companies.
America does not have much time left to combat climate change as supported by Sophomore Derek Harrison who says, “I think long term effects outweigh immediate ones if they are proven to be beneficial in the end.”
In the short term, job losses may be more frequent; however, in the long term, a carbon tax can pave the way for a new industry and combat climate change.
Some opponents also argue that even if the carbon tax was implemented, carbon emissions would not be lowered. In some occurrences, countries have outsourced their carbon emissions. In other words, companies from countries with a carbon tax used factories in other countries without a carbon tax to maintain equal profitability. However, America’s not taking action on climate change will result in higher levels of emission than if the tax was not implemented and companies were not deincentivized to emit carbon.
Furthermore, America’s implementing a carbon tax would be extremely influential and possibly encourage other countries to implement their own carbon taxes.
Sophomore Aaron Amborse says, “America is known to be very influential as it is a major superpower and dominates in certain industries. It is very likely that if America adopts a carbon tax, other countries will follow and have a major impact on fighting climate change.”
Although a carbon tax does have its setbacks, it is currently the most effective way to deal with global warming. Humanity only has a decade before climate change becomes irreversible; therefore, carbon taxing must be implemented as quickly as possible.
A part of Loyola’s sophomore theology curriculum is learning about the ten Catholic social justice themes, one of which being a steward of the environment. Each Loyola student is taught that we are morally obligated to protect the environment.
Thomas Cendejas explains, “Scripture, church teachings since Vatican Two, and Pope Francis all agree that human beings are not meant to dominate or exploit creation. We are meant to be caretakers of it. We have become too distant with creation but are called to have a personal relationship with creation.”
As of now, supporting a carbon tax is the most effective way to be a steward of the environment. Global warming was first noticed to be a threat to the existence of humanity in the 1980s. However, even after over four decades, the United States has made no major impact on climate change. It is imperative that a carbon tax is supported because of the potential economic benefits and the reduction of carbon emissions.