Listen Up: Carbon Tax

“Pigovian Tax.” If you know what this means, then you can skip this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World. For everyone else (including me until I looked up the word) a Pigovian tax is a tax levied on an undesirable market activity to offset the negative effects of said activity. The carbon tax is a Pigovian tax — hence the addition of this obscure word to our Renewable Energy World vocabulary.

Nobody likes to be taxed — especially the industries that are directly affected. However, sometimes vice taxes are a necessary evil in order to discourage bad behavior. In the case of taxing carbon usage, most economists have concluded this is the most effective way to reduce CO2 gas emissions. The European Union has implemented an effective carbon tax, and leads the world in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. But here in the United States, where the word “tax” can quite literally get you thrown into the Boston Harbor (with your chests of tea), we have been slower to adopt these changes.

But there continues to be momentum behind effective economic mechanisms to reduce CO2 emissions. To avoid the specter of increasing taxes, some states have implemented more business-friendly cap and trade programs. California’s cap and trade program, initiated in 2011, continues to reduce state’s emissions, while at the same time directing the resulting proceeds back to the state’s transportation, clean energy, energy efficiency, natural resources and recycling activities. Listen up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World as we talk about practical carbon tax options — in spite of the temporary political reluctance to do so in the U.S.

About the Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices.

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

This podcast was originally produced by Cinnamon Solar and was presented here with permission.

Lead image credit: Patrick Breitenbach | Flickr

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