Should the US Implement a Carbon Tax?


As wildfires burn, glaciers melt, and extreme weather becomes more frequent, Americans have grown increasingly concerned over climate change. While it still remains a controversial issue in the US, most scientists agree that humans are to blame. They argue that the bulk of climate change is caused by ever-increasing greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, that have been released into the atmosphere by human activities such as manufacturing and transportation.

One step the US government could take in the fight against climate change is to establish a carbon tax. A carbon tax would put a price on carbon emissions, forcing American businesses and consumers to pay a fee based on their annual carbon emissions.

Discussion Questions

1. The “PRO” side has a premise about Americans receiving dividends from a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Should Americans who face more severe consequences of climate change (ie. those who live near rising oceans, or near wildfire-prone areas) be given more in carbon dividends?

2. Should developed countries like the US subsidize the clean energy costs of developing countries that are less inclined to create a carbon tax?

3. The “CON” side worries about the increased price of consumer goods and energy. Would you be willing to pay more for your everyday needs due to a carbon tax? (For example, gasoline, or energy in your home)

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