While a carbon tax has attracted little attention in the U.S. media before the primary debate last week, WRI research shows it's a policy that can reduce emissions in cost-effective, pro-growth and equitable ways. In fact, some 40 countries and more than 20 cities, states and regions have or are planning on putting carbon prices in place.
Hard economic times have prompted West Virginia to look toward a future that depends less on coal and more on renewable energy, a higher-technology job market and even a price on climate-warming carbon dioxide.
While coal miners have been the backbone of West Virginia's economy for decades, the industry is declining. New WRI research shows that a carbon price could provide billions of dollars a year for coal communities in West Virginia and other states, while also curbing air pollution and climate change.
New WRI research finds that a U.S. carbon price would go beyond computer model predictions and encourage emissions reductions by changing the behavior of producers, consumers and investors throughout the economy.
Like anything that goes mainstream, a backlash to carbon pricing was inevitable. But the arguments for carbon pricing are so compelling that critics have been forced to invent their own arguments to criticize.
Thirty-nine countries now have carbon-pricing policies on the books, while hundreds of businesses have voiced support. Pricing carbon, which was just a theoretical concept a few years ago, has blossomed into real climate action.