Alaska needs tax on carbon

I strongly believe the state of Alaska needs to implement a tax on carbon.

In 2008, British Columbia implemented a C$10 per tonne of carbon dioxide tax, which increased to C$30 per tonne in 2012, where it is currently frozen. In that time, fossil fuel consumption has decreased by 18 percent, per-capita. The B.C. carbon tax is “revenue neutral,” meaning that as carbon is taxed, income and corporate taxes are reduced at an equivalent rate. Over $1 billion a year is currently being collected in B.C., which is being used to finance government services while reducing other tax burdens.

At the core of this tax is a simple idea: tax what society does not like or finds harmful (to the commons) while encouraging other aspects society finds beneficial, e.g. income, sales and, in our case, the Permanent Fund Dividend.

There is no debate that Alaska is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Something needs to be done to drastically mitigate climate-altering behavior. In this instance, Alaska has a rare opportunity to address our looming fiscal crisis while simultaneously … you know … saving the planet.

I encourage Alaska lawmakers to research British Columbia’s carbon tax and find a way to implement one here.

Bjørn Olson