A study by U.S. Treasury that aims to take an inventory of U.S. tax code and how it impacts the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions will be out soon. Even though the study will be out after the elections, it will have environmental activists and the government deal with facts about how taxes are affecting the environment. It could lead to the levying of carbon taxes.
The $1.5 million study is being carried out by the National Academy of Science (NAS) and has economists and experts in climate change as members. But some environmental experts and politicos are calling it “a waste of money”, claiming that it is just an exercise to weave carbon taxes into tax reform. According to them, such taxes are not only ineffective, but they also hurt economic growth. The sensitiveness of the current economic condition of the country does not want taxes that will prove to be regressive.
The study will focus on what levels of greenhouse gas are produced under the current system. That will include deductions, allowances, home mortgage deduction and investment tax credit. Tax provisions that affect urban development, agriculture, forestry etc. will also be taken into account.
The NAS study will not suggest tax code changes or recommend new taxes; it will examine the basic building blocks of the tax system in respect to how they affect the environment. Whether the results of the study will be used to make changes in the tax code remains to be seen.