Saturday, April 25, 2015

Yale to Impose Carbon Tax on Itself, Led by the Man Who Helped Invent It

Yale University economist William Nordhaus. (Photo Credit: Yale University) Click to Enlarge.
Yale University will become one of the first colleges or universities to put an internal price on their carbon emissions, school officials said Monday.

After forming a university committee -- chaired by William Nordhaus, the Yale economist who has studied the confluence of economics and climate change since the 1970s -- Yale President Peter Salovey and Provost Benjamin Polak announced that the fee is slated to begin in the new academic year as a three-year pilot program, after which the carbon charge would fully kick in.

"The task force has provided a blueprint for a novel university-wide carbon charge program," Salovey and Polak said in a joint statement.

"Its goal is to incentivize Yale to further reduce its carbon footprint in a way that is not administratively or economically burdensome," they said.  "We believe that this proposal can serve as a model for other institutions."

In a call from New Haven, Nordhaus -- whose brother, Robert, drafted Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the provision upon which the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan hinges -- said this carbon tax proposal is the first such program he knows of and the most comprehensive in coverage.
Sovereign governments and regions, such as Australia and British Columbia, have used carbon taxes -- superior economic mechanisms to cap-and-trade systems, according to Nordhaus, who has called emissions-trading markets "second-best" to carbon taxes in part because they are complicated to implement.

The crux of a carbon tax, which economists across the political spectrum largely endorse in one form or another, is its use as a financial lever to shift social behavior.

Read more at Yale to Impose Carbon Tax on Itself, Led by the Man Who Helped Invent It

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