Campus carbon tax

Arthur Yip
December 9, 2014

Disclaimer: not my idea.
See Severin Borenstein's (and Frank Wolak's) proposal:

My additional 2 cents:
- there will be a lot of principal-agent issues to deal with, but this would be the perfect opportunity to cut through the excuses and figure out how individuals, communities, organizations, and businesses can actually reduce their CO2.
- most of the revenues will probably have to be redistributed broadly, but some of the revenues should definitely fund energy and climate research / scholarships / fellowships.
- I want to see the upstream CO2 of beef at the cafeteria taxed and see vegetarian options become relatively economical :)

Also, in the comments section of Borenstein's blog:

Ken Gillingham says:
December 8, 2014 at 9:25 am
Yes – it looks like Yale is actually going to do it. Nordhaus is chairing the committee and there was a workshop held on it last week (Frank was there). My understanding is that Yale is ahead of Harvard and MIT in these discussions. It is indeed very complicated!

Hope MIT moves quickly enough to lead!



Arthur Yip on December 9, 2014

just realized that I did come up with a simpler version of this idea a little while ago

Jonathan McIndoe Hunt on March 16, 2015

The purpose of a carbon tax (or any price on carbon) is to show the full cost (or at least closer to full) of fossil fuels so that consumers can make better choices (more informed). Since most of the campus's carbon footprint is from building and the residents (aka DLCs) have little to no choice in their locations or maintenance, they will have very little if any ability to impact the consumption of the energy. I would much rather see MIT support a state wide or national carbon tax than implement its own.

Eric Anton Verploegen on April 5, 2015

Very interesting opportunity for MIT to take the lead in a important area

William H Green on April 8, 2015

Let's think bigger than our campus. There is a serious proposal now in Massachusetts legislature to impose a statewide carbon tax. British Columbia also introduced a carbon tax. For more information come to the panel discussion Monday April 13: