Studies in Policy Choices and Interactions
Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation series
Edited by Larry Kreiser, Mikael S. Andersen, Birgitte E. Olsen, Stefan Speck, Janet E. Milne and Hope Ashiabor
Chapter 8: Do you get what you pay for with United States climate change tax provisions?
Production tax credits for the development of non-fossil fuel sources of energy are pointless and lead to harm to the environment. Fossil fuel sources of energy are deemed to be inimical to the environment because they emit greenhouse gasses, such as, carbon dioxide (CO2), into the atmosphere resulting in global warming. Global warming is undesirable because it harms the environment. Ostensibly, non-fossil fuels such as, wind, biomass, and solar, are not harmful to the environment because they do not emit CO2 into the atmosphere. The cost of energy from non-fossil fuels is higher than from fossil fuels. The rationale for production tax credits is to provide economic support for alternatives to fossil fuel sources of energy until such time as when these alternatives become cost competitive with fossil fuels. The production tax credits for alternative sources of energy are pointless—like tilting at windmills. Taxpayers do not get what they pay for. The combined effect on greenhouse gas emissions of current United States (US) federal tax provisions is less than 1 percent of total US emissions. Furthermore, the Earth is cooling despite increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. One study shows that global warming is caused by chlorofluorocarbons, not by CO2. Another study shows that even if CO2 causes global warming, CO2 is not suppressed by renewable energy.
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