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Climate Change:The Power of Taxes




2020 Fall

About This Class

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires long-term changes in behavior, and in a market economy, consumers, businesses and industry respond to prices. Increases in the cost of greenhouse gases can reduce emissions, and reductions in the price of green alternatives can increase their use. This seminar explores the ways in which tax systems and other market-based measures can send these negative and positive price signals in the United States and elsewhere.

Addressing issues of theory, policy, political economy, and law, the seminar will cover topics such as: the design features of carbon taxes; whether to use carbon taxes or a cap-and-trade approach to placing a price on greenhouse gas emissions; international experiences with carbon taxes and cap-and-trade programs; tax incentives for renewable energy, alternative fuel vehicles, energy conservation, and land conservation; the repeal of subsidies for fossil fuels; and how to finance adaptation. While focusing on climate change, the seminar will provide students with the framework for understanding how and when to use tax measures and market-based instruments to address other environmental problems. Prior knowledge of taxation is not necessary. 

Class Code



Environmental Law