Institutional Scholarship

Cap and Trade or a Carbon Tax? How to Reduce CO2 Emissions

TriCollege Digital Repository

Title: Cap and Trade or a Carbon Tax? How to Reduce CO2 Emissions
Author: Klein, Matthew
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Political Science
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2009
Abstract: At this point, warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as evident from increases in average air and ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, and intense hurricane activity. Taking action now to prevent catastrophic climate change is both economically efficient and morally required. I propose the creation of a national cap and trade system to reduce our nation’s carbon dioxide emissions 80% by 2050, in line with scientists’ recommendations. I further propose to auction 100% of the emissions allowances, utilizing revenues in the form of tax reductions to limit the effect of electricity price increases on consumers, as well as in the form of investments in alternative energy research and infrastructure. The alternative proposal of a carbon tax is both simpler and easier to implement than cap and trade, but is ultimately inadequate because it fails to definitively prevent catastrophic climate change. In addition, a carbon tax would be harder to pass through Congress. Even cap and trade will be tough to pass without the use of the budget reconciliation process. China has shown that it is resistant to climate change mandates on national sovereignty grounds, but is willing to negotiate as long as the caps are not mandated. Ultimately, by limiting our emissions and developing our own alternative energy industry, we will develop new technologies that can be used in the developing world.
Subject: Global warming -- Economic aspects
Subject: Energy conservation -- Economic aspects -- United States
Subject: Energy policy -- United States
Subject: Fuel switching -- United States
Subject: Emissions trading -- Economic aspects -- United States
Terms of Use:
Permanent URL:

Files in this item

Files Description Size Format
2009KleinM.pdf Thesis 1.138Mb PDF
2009_Klein_Permission.pdf **Archive Staff Only** 70.09Kb PDF


Klein, Matthew. "Cap and Trade or a Carbon Tax? How to Reduce CO2 Emissions". 2009. Available electronically from

This item appears in the following Collection(s) Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as


Advanced Search


My Account