The World's First Carbon Tariff. Sort of.
The first carbon tax to reduce the greenhouse gases from imports comes not between two nations, but between two states. Minnesota has passed a measure to stop carbon at its border with North Dakota. To encourage the switch to clean renewable energy Minnesota plans to add a carbon fee of between $4 and $34 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions to the cost of coal-fired electricity, to begin in 2012, to discourage the use of coal power; the greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions.Scientific American and a few other blogs are calling this a "carbon tariff." I'm not sure it's that exactly (as a restriction on interstate commerce, a tariff would pose some legal problems). As far as I can tell, this is just a new tax on any coal power that's sold in Minnesota-most of which just happens to be produced in North Dakota. A carbon tax like this is good because it puts a price on pollution and rewards Minnesota's efforts to produce cleaner energy.The two most authoritative articles I can find on this (here and here) also say that the tax is "planned" and is going to face some legal challenges from the North Dakota coal industry. So it's not a done deal yet. But it'd be nice. And maybe it would get North Dakota to start making energy from all that great wind they have instead.
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