States should think about implementing a carbon tax

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Art by Helena Sirken ('15)/ Eastside Art Director

Jenna Myers, Eastside Opinions Editor

A carbon tax is a tax on fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide such as coal and petroleum. Most factories run on these fossil fuels because they are a cheaper alternative; however, they are extremely unhealthy for the environment. These fossil fuels release the most greenhouse gases and are one of the contributing factors for climate change. The United States should take action and make a federal carbon tax to require every factory in the U.S. to pay more for harming the environment.

There are some downsides to this type of tax, which is why this tax should not be global. If there was a global carbon tax, developing countries would have a difficult time paying for the fuels and it would take a long time to switch to expensive alternatives. Countries such as China and Russia are also resisting carbon taxation because by running on fossil fuels, citizens will keep their jobs. If environmentally friendly energy producers were used, many people around the world would lose their jobs since the generators would be expensive and the factories would not have enough money to pay their workers.

Environmental studies teacher, Mr. Jason DeFuria, agrees with the idea of adding a carbon tax. However, he thinks that there is no way for the United States to add a carbon tax.

Although most countries have repealed the idea of a carbon tax, American states such as New York and Oregon have welcomed the idea and implemented the carbon taxes. If a tax was implemented on all fossil fuels, like the taxes enacted in these states, some factories would not want to pay the tax and would switch over to greener alternatives that do not produce greenhouse gases, such as solar panels or wind turbines.

Since some factories are not as well off as others, the tax should depend on how wealthy the factory is. The tax will not change often, so factories will usually know what percentage the tax is on the fossil fuels.

An option to make a smaller change in the environment could be to make it mandatory that every new factory has to run on green alternatives. Although few amounts of jobs will be created, these newer factories will be helping the environment.

Even though a carbon tax will not save the environment and make all greenhouse gases disappear, it will make people aware that fossil fuels are harming the environment and that there should be alternatives used in future factories that could run on efficient energy sources.