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IMF’s Carbon Tax Shenanigans: Part II

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#mlewis">Marlo Lewis</a> -- April 10, 2013

The major premise of the International Monetary Fund’s carbon tax proposal is the concept of social cost. According to the IMF, fossil-fuel consumers do not pay for all the harm they do to public health and the environment. Hence, the IMF reasons, fossil energy is under-priced, society consumes too much of it, and corrective (“Pigouvian”) taxes are needed to achieve “efficient” energy markets.

The IMF acknowledges that social cost of carbon (SCC) “estimates in the literature have varied considerably, ranging from $12 per ton (Nordhaus, 2011) to $85 per ton (Stern, 2006).” The IMF’s “estimates assume damages from global warming of $25 per ton of CO2 emissions, following the United States Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Carbon (2010), an extensive and widely reviewed study.”

Actually, the Interagency Working Group recommends that agencies use four SCC estimates to calculate the per-ton benefits of CO2 reductions: $5, $21, $35, and $65.