Skip to main content

Top 5 "Green" Policy Myths Used to Fight Environmental Action

Myth #1: No Taste for A “Tax”
Many public policymakers assume – incorrectly – that a carbon “tax”
can’t be sold to legislators or to the public. Yet, a newly released
by Hart Research shows that it’s not only possible; it’s
popular. The poll found that voters overwhelmingly favor carbon tax
over cap and trade by a 2-to-1 margin. It also discovered that the
higher a voter ranks the environment, the less likely they are to
supportemissions trading as the best solution to greenhouse gases. In
fact, carbon tax outperformed cap and trade in every demographic that
was measured.

The fact of the matter is that most Americans recognize that any real
solution to climate change will substantially increase the cost of
energy. But the best solution will account for that, successfully
mitigating its impacts on economic recovery, employment and other Main
Street concerns.

Myth #2: Current Economy Hampers Environmental Aspirations
Not according to recent research. Polling shows that 74% of American
voters favor taking action to reduce carbon emissions and expand the
use of renewable energy. And that support isn’t limited to one party or
a single region; the majority of Republican’s, Democrats, Independents,
and people from all across the U.S. back “green” action.

This bi-partisan, nationwide support stands at odds with the current
political landscape for cap and trade. Fierce partisan maneuvering and
intense regional divides have essentially halted all progress on
Capitol Hill. Many pundits have even dubbed the current Senate bill a
“dead policy walking.” This disconnect demonstrates the need for new
policy solutions that bridge the gap between what American voters want
and what Congress is prepared to consider.

Myth #3: Only Hard “Caps” Ensure Emissions Cuts
While it’s true that hard “cap” systems are based on determining an
emissions level, rather than a price, they’re not the only policy
option that targets pre-determined reductions in emissions. A carbon
tax sets a predictable price on each unit of carbon emissions,
encouraging consumers and businesses alike to reduce their emissions to
avoid the additional fee. Thus, higher tax rates produce predictable
emissions reductions over time – or “soft” caps.

Additionally, hard caps do not guarantee that prescribed emissions
reductions will be reached. Such programs often include complicated
offset provisions that allow large emitters to continue emitting CO2,
if they pay to protect undeveloped land or maintain forests. There is
no assurance that such projects will reduce CO2 by the amount stated,
and other times they may only preserve land that would have remained
untouched without the offsets. As a result, actual emissions
reductions, if any, could be much lower than the cap states.

Myth #4: Carbon Fee Would Burden Consumers
A revenue-neutral carbon tax-shift that returns proceeds to consumers
through reductions in other taxes – such as those on wages or income
protects the average American from increased costs. Those that do the
most to reduce their personal carbon emissions will save the most under
this plan. The simplicity and fairness of such a proposal helps explain
why two out of every three Americans support this approach to climate

Myth #5: All Climate Policies Must Pick Winners and Losers
While there will be winning and losing technologies as the world’s
energy landscape evolves, Capitol Hill is not the best place for those
choices to be made. Good policy will create an economic environment in
which the most effective solutions thrive, thereby protecting our
planet’s environment.


Popular Video