The economists' guide to arguing about the carbon tax

Among economists, it's an essential and effective tool in the fight against global warming. But for many, a carbon tax seems like the very definition of a tax grab. This week on the 180, we clear the fog to help you understand what we're really arguing about when we argue about carbon tax.
An Edmonton rally against Alberta's carbon tax, in December, 2016. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

Alberta just wrapped up its first week with a carbon tax.

And according to the current federal government, by 2018 all provinces must have in place a floor-price on carbon, be it a tax or cap-and-trade system.

So, whether you've got a new carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme, or will get one in the near future, chances are you've got opinions on the matter. The 180 reached out to multiple economists for their advice on the best way to argue about the merits of carbon pricing.

In this audio essay featuring Nic Rivers from the University of Ottawa, and Jennifer Winter of the University of Calgary, we'll hear some pet peeves about how online conversations about carbon taxes usually go...

The first thing you want to figure out when talking about carbon taxes is whether we should do anything about climate change. - Nic Rivers, University of Ottawa

And we'll hear how to separate arguments about whether a carbon tax is good or bad for the economy, from whether the carbon tax actually works.

The carbon tax is costly for the economy, and that is its purpose.- Jennifer Winter, University of Calgary

Listen to the audio for an exciting journey into the economics, ethics, and values of arguing about carbon taxes!


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