Handbook on Energy and Climate Change
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Handbook on Energy and Climate Change

Edited by Roger Fouquet

This timely Handbook reviews many key issues in the economics of energy and climate change, raising new questions and offering solutions that might help to minimize the threat of energy-induced climate change.
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Chapter 17: How high should climate change taxes be?

Chris Hope


The polluter pays principle tells us that whoever is responsible for producing pollution is also responsible for paying for the damage caused by the pollution (OECD, 1992). So anyone whose activities lead to the emission of a tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) should be taxed for the extra damage that is caused by the climate change due to that tonne of emissions. It can be difficult to determine what the relevant damage includes, particularly in the case of climate change. Some fraction of any greenhouse gas, in particular CO2, that is emitted today will remain in the atmosphere for many years, mixing thoroughly with all other emissions, and causing impacts across the globe (IPCC, 2007a).

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