Pundits have argued over whether a carbon tax would create or kill jobs ever since the U.S. Green Party first floated the Green New Deal, a plan to build a sustainable, environmentally clean economy. In the past three years a number of U.S. legislators—and Democratic presidential candidates—have released carbon-tax plans or bills, with widely varying estimates about impacts on jobs. Marilyn A. Brown and Majid Ahmadi of the Georgia Institute of Technology put the Green New Deal’s details into the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s National Energy Modeling System to assess what would happen. They evaluated a $25 and $60 tax on each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted by the U.S. energy system. Both scenarios would cut emissions greatly, largely by pushing up the price of fossil fuels, thereby encouraging industries and consumers to use cleaner energy sources and improve energy efficiency. Perhaps unexpectedly, the $25 tax would create more jobs than the $60 tax would.
This article was originally published with the title "Carbon Taxes Boost Jobs" in Scientific American 322, 3, 84 (March 2020)